About a month ago, my 81 year old mother had a surgery she hoped would take care of all the problems resulting from radiation treatment in 1975. Some friends took her to the new doctor whom she had pinned her hopes on and scheduled the radical solution before my brother and I could click out heels and turn around. Because she is normally sloooow, I felt she must be very certain about this, and in truth she never wavered.

I gladly spent the days in the hospital with her–she sprang back wonderfully from the anesthesia–and brought her to my home to convalesce. Thus has proceeded–minus man-eating plants–the Little House of Horrors. Did I mention the surgery is a colostomy? I can’t think of a better demonstration of the perfect way God designed the human body, than that particular alteration. The equipment alone is like that scene in Apollo 13 when they dump the parts on the table and order the team to find a way for them to fit together and do something they weren’t intended to do. Then there’s my poor mother’s scoliosis, protruding rib cage on–yes THAT side–and the fact she now weighs eighty pounds, skin and bones. Thank the Lord, he blessed me with an unflappable spirit and a stomach of steel. I have deep compassion to handle the–um–equipment failures. But there’s no way, she’s doing this herself, nope, none, nuh-uh. Not ever.

Over the last few days, I think she’s realized she can’t go back to her house and yesterday we redecorated her room. (During the fire, I’d packed up the handmade things collected at folk art festivals and shops.) She exclaimed over each one and delighted in the process, never saying “I have to get home”. One thing especially touched her, something my daughter bought me years ago. I pulled it out and told her to read this every day. The calligraphy says: A rose of lasting beauty is my mother’s love to me. I cherish our time together and your sweet company. 


My dears, I don’t know how much time I’ll have with her, but I can assure you, in spite of every pending disaster, every smell, every inconvenience, I will cherish these moments and her sweet company.tea with Nana



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4 Responses to

  1. Yes, Kristen, cherish the time, every moment, every word. As for the doctor who talked her into this, it sounds as if he/she needs to lose a license. I’ve seen too many surgeons too eager to cut, and it infuriates me! Just love your mother and look for moments to enjoy. They will be most precious to you for the rest of your life.


  2. You’re right, Hannah, but in the doctor’s defense, her pain was extreme and she told him she couldn’t go on like that. As complicated as this is because of her anomalies, at least the pain is better. I’ll deal with any amount of mess to relieve her of that. At least we all have a sense of humor!


  3. Maureen Lang says:

    Thanks, Kristen, for reminding me that even the far-less-than-delightful tasks we do for a loved one is worth it!


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