When I drove to my hometown in January, I had no idea of what lay ahead. What I thought would be a day trip, a weekend at most, would evolve into something completely different.
My mother and I spoke of the azaleas blooming all over. Lavender and hot pink azaleas were ablaze in her yard. Spring often comes early to Tallahassee, even still, January was way too soon.
Our “trials” would teach me perseverance. My faith was indeed tested. I was blessed with prayers and understanding from family and friends in my “hometown” as well as “back home” outside of Atlanta.
Mommy’s initial surgery went well. Then, doctors would find the need to do another. She was out of one hospital and into another to transition to rehab.
Or, so we thought.
We talked and laughed. We caught up with each other, watched television all while she would prod me, “Don’t you need to go home?”
I assured her there was no place I would rather be. I was blessed to be at her side, listening to doctors, giving my advice and whatever I could do for the woman who hadn’t been hospitalized since giving birth to me!
I would eventually put up her Christmas tree as it began to look oddly strange on Groundhog Day. I tidied up. I purchased a microwave for the kitchen that had gone forty-five years without one.
Mommy was a good patient, exceeding expectations and many prayers were answered. She pushed through surgeries, pain and discomfort. Only a few times did she ever complain, and prodded by docs to do even that.
Six weeks to the day of that emergency appendectomy I kissed her and said, “You’re going to be just fine.”
Those were the last words I would say to her before they put her under. I didn’t think too much of it. Just another hurdle to overcome like so many before.
I would later cry among those pink azaleas, uncontrollably and not sure why. Mommy’s condition hadn’t changed, but maybe God was changing me. After everything she had gone through, it was the first time I really contemplated that she might not return home.
Family and friends prayed for healing.
I often wonder now what she prayed.
Each week spent in the hospital meant the road to recovery became longer and longer. Mommy told me she did not want to suffer any lengthy illness. Or become a burden. She knew all too well what it entailed to be a caregiver. She had done it herself for years.
But, the woman who loved me faithfully and selflessly could never become a burden to me. Couldn’t she see how much I loved her?
Or maybe, just maybe, Mommy loved me more.
In the end, I was correct when I told her “she would be just fine.”
Those pink azaleas gave way to white.
“Home” isn’t the same anymore.
The yellow house on the corner is just another house without her in it. When I think of home, my mind now looks toward a place of peace and joy unlike any other. One without pain. No doctors. No tears.
See you when I get home…
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NKJV