My mother isn’t speaking to my father. She hasn’t spoken to him in five years, and for that, my father is truly grateful.
I was crying the last time she did speak to him. I saw the exchange though I could not hear the words. His whisperings, her whisperings.
The two of them silhouetted against the window light at the end of the long hall. My father leaning over my mother’s gurney, pressed forehead to forehead. The word “Surgery” on the doors behind them forming a caption for the picture they made. Hands clasped together as if believing they held each other’s hearts. As longingly as the first time they had reached for each other, as desperately as two lovers being forced apart.
Being forced to part on this day of life and death.
They had made the decision together, to do or die . . . to do and die. These two who had lived for and in each other’s dreams these past forty years.
My mother with a disease that was cutting the blood flow to her brain. It was deteriorating her life and it would take it in three years. Her life could be prolonged if the surgery was done now. Twelve brave hearts had gone before her but only three of them had walked away.
I watched their process of decision making, both prayerful in the face of death. My mother wanting to live, wanting to try. The churning and turning until there was peace.
How brave we knew she was; we three sisters gathered around her hospital bed feeling time pushing us toward her fate the next day. We were quick to smile, slow to leave, hoping our “Good nights” were not our good-byes. Our father was left to keep his prayerful, loving vigil. It was painful to leave him that night, too painful to think of him alone. But he reminded us that he would not be alone, at least for this night, he had his Love.
And morning came. We gathered and prayed. We kissed our mother, hugged our father and then followed her gurney until we were told that only one of us could go any farther.
My father continued to walk alongside her as he always had. Two people who had stood together against all odds. My mother orphaned at a young age and moved from place to place. My father the youngest of nine in a family hurting with poverty.
They who had found their home in each other.
We children were loved in their home. Given by these two what they had not been given in their own childhoods: safety, nurturing, moral guidance.
We knew that we were created from their love but that their love was an entity separate from us, a circle complete within itself.
I see the kiss, the parting. My mother wheeled through the door, alone. My father, his back to me, placing his hand on that door, praying love and strength and hope to the woman on the other side.
He turned and walked slowly toward me. The sunrise lit his face and I glimpsed the depth of this man’s love.
This love of great self-sacrificing. A love so great that he was willing to bear the pain of being the one to walk alone.
And though surrounded by our love, my father walked alone for the two weeks we waited out her coma, the months of doubt and rehabilitation.
In the end, my mother had lost her speech but she had won her fight to live.
She has not spoken to my father for five years, and for that, he is truly grateful.
Here I am in a longest possible time that I haven`t spoken to my mom, after hearing God`s story for me. I realized that sometimes these silences we experience from the ones we love might be a great blessing . Something I am beginning to be truly grateful. Because it is in this times that I realize we both could rebuild ourselves. Be able to listen more, to what our God is teaching us. I know a day will come that we won`t be able to stop ourselves talking about the silliest things, laugh at our past and share stories of how we overcame all of them, maybe not all the time that we are together..but knowing that God was always there with us through it all. I dream of the day that my mom will be brushing my hair, helping me fix my wedding veil in a room and shares all her wisdom before my own wedding. I know all of these will happen. God will make that happen. But for now I thank God for the assurance, that this silence would be enough for the both of us.This time of my life I could say is the best time, to love enough.
(Reprinted by permission of Cynthia M. Hamond (c) 1999 from Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Heather McNamara. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.)