“…People are rivers, always ready to move from one state of being into another. It is not fair, to treat people as if they are finished beings. Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming.”― Kathleen Winter, Annabel
I've wondered how I would end 2014 with my word, become? I've searched for an answer of what I've become over the course of the last year.
But maybe it doesn't just boil down to one word.
It wasn't until I saw this grainy, out-of-focus pic I took of my mom, that part of what I've both become, and un-become, is more clear to me.
I feel as though I've traveled light years over the past few weeks.
Last Tuesday night, I had just finished meeting with our Stage IV group, Fourward, and was ready to head home, exhausted from a full day of appointments.
When I realized I had missed 5 calls, I knew something was up.
After a good check up the day before, my mom was suddenly feeling very sick.
Rick went and picked her up, while I waited near the ER.
We got her quickly registered, but then as we rounded the corner to the waiting room, the scene stopped me short.
Hardly an empty chair to be found. Everywhere we looked were people, covered with masks. Lots of people held emesis bags, some were bundled in blankets. Everywhere we looked, were so many sick people, and it was still late afternoon.
I found an empty space and rolled my mom in next to me on the aisle.
People coughed, babies cried, and people looked miserable.
But the line was long. We were in for a long night.
My stomach growled, hungry for dinner. My back ached trying to find comfort in the stiff chair. I finally leaned my head forward and rested it in my lap.
It was then that my mother offered her opinion of my hair.
"When I see your hair in this light, boy it sure looks in rough shape." The ends are split. And that color? Did you do that color? Looks streaky. What is going on with your hair?"
I'm rubbing my eyes with fatigue, as a million smart replies flash through my head.
Really? Why can't this ever be easy? I feel like I am 14 again.
But I am not, 14.
And throughout the course of the night, as she relies on me to navigate through all parts of the ER experience, I slowly begin to realize, I've become more than her daughter.
I am her caretaker. Her medical interpreter. Her soft place to fall, when she hands me her pants and whispers "could you please take these home and wash them? I didn't quite make it to the restroom."
I can't be angry. I can't hold onto the past of who she was. Who I was.
I've had to become, as I've watched her un-become… and yet.
Throughout the course of her 9 day hospital stay- I've watched her go through procedure after procedure. I've seen her pale, gaunt and weak, fighting just to keep food down. Yet her humor remains intact, as well as her compassion for others. Her spirit is strong, despite the guarded words of her doctor yesterday. Day after day, as we celebrate Christmas round her bed, her spirit is undaunted. As she is told day after day, she can't leave, she remains unphased, steady, in her demeanor.
In spite of everything, she is becoming once again. Grace filled. Brave. With a side of sass and humor. My mom. Always my mom.
As I step into 2015, I am only left to ponder, how many more times we'll become, and un-become, as we move forward into the future of all our tomorrows.
Happy New Year!
My new word… revealed soon.