As a mother, I know that my children sometimes learn from what I say but most of the time from what I do. They will learn how to handle situations by how they have seen me handle them. And as the years go by, I have realized that I am actually still learning from my own mother. I believe the learning truly never ends.
I watched my mom walk into the nursing home that day without hesitation. She had been there several times before to visit our dear friend, Shirley. I traveled with her on Sunday because I knew it would probably be my last chance to say hello.
And also goodbye.
Shirley had suffered a stroke, so she could not really speak. She could open her eyes slowly and could make sounds that were sometimes understandable if we knew how to listen. My mom sat beside her in a blue rocker and pulled it up close to the bed. She reached over and held Shirley's hand, and I watched as Shirley squeezed it gently.
"Hi, Shirley. It's Susan. I have Christina with me today! She wanted to say hello."
In a way I can only describe as what a deaf person sounds like when trying to speak - but actually much worse - Shirley slowly muttered, "Hi, Christina." That moment was very special to me. I believe she was heavily medicated, as a hospice patient often is, so she did not stay awake for much of our visit. I truly didn't mind. I just wanted to sit beside her. I know she knew we were both there.
And I watched my mom do all of this with ease. It was not uncomfortable for her. She kept holding her hand. She brought her iPhone which had a few songs that Shirley liked, so my mom would play them for her. "I think you will like this one, Shirley. It's a newer one by Michael W. Smith." She kept it on repeat. It was beautiful. I remember thinking it sounded like going to heaven.
Shirley went to be with Jesus on Tuesday.
I pray that I can be just like my mom when I need to be. I find those kinds of visits to be difficult, but once I was there, I was so glad I was right beside her. I didn't have to say anything. I just needed to be there.
Mom - you are always so good at just being there. You are a blessing to me and so many. Thank you for being you.