Six years ago, I almost lost my mother.
That morning, my 63-year-old mother fell from our back porch, breaking her forehead on the gravel and cement below. I woke up to her screams of pain, a sound I had never heard come out of her mouth. I instantly got up and ran. My father was a few steps in front of me running too. What we saw was too much for us to bear. My mother was covered in blood, and I instinctively ran to the phone. My mother taught me that when I was a little girl. When something is wrong, call an ambulance. Get help.
I don’t remember the phone call. I don’t remember the instructions they told me to tell my father. I don’t remember. I only remember hearing my father’s sobs as he held her and begged God to help him. I only remember crying and screaming louder than I ever have before… Screaming specifically for my mother. It was the first time I hollered her name and received no reply. That morning, I nearly lost my mother.
I had a panic attack while at the hospital that day. They put me on a gurney right outside the room my mother was in. I knew my mother was a room away. I was screaming for her again. I couldn’t stop screaming and crying. I wanted my mother to be okay. I knew that was the only way I would be okay.
A few hours later, they told us she’d live. They also told us she’d have a scar from her forehead diagonally to her nose. She’d forever experience issues from this incident. But I was told she would live. That was enough for me.
My mother had me when she was 42, well beyond the acceptable age at the time to have children. It does not escape my notice that I was a “surprise”, but I never felt unloved or less valued. My brother was nine, and my sister was seven. I became the baby of the family. I was not an easy child to deal with, either. I was difficult, argumentative, and stubborn. Somehow, she didn’t kill me and I am now an adult telling this story.
She is, beyond her imperfections, a great mother. Her name is Isotta, named after Isolde from Tristan and Isolde. My mother adopted her mother’s love of books. I, in turn, have adopted hers. My mother loves to read. She loves stories. I do too. Beyond that, she has strengths I can only admire. I have never known a woman so sacrificial. She would die for me, my siblings, and my father. She gave up dreams and aspirations in exchange for a family, something that I don’t think I’d do, but can admire in her and other women.
She spent money and time on us and barely any on herself. My mother never missed a birthday or holiday. My mother has never forgotten them, either. My mother helped us with homework, assignments, readings, and relationships. She is wise. She is whimsical. She has a kind and warm heart. My mother is the rock that holds everything down and keeps us grounded. I could write about her for hours and never do her any justice. She transcends words. I am limited in my vocabulary when it comes to my mother.
Every mother’s day since the incident, I think of how close I came to not having a mother anymore. I think of the fact that one day, she will die. As morbid as that sounds, I take it as an opportunity to appreciate her while she is alive. Time is a limited resource for all of us. Time does not stop for any of us.
Six years ago, I almost lost my mother. Soon, it will be mother’s day. I bought her something small. She appreciates meaningful gifts over extravagant ones. I’m a lot like my mother in that sense. Tomorrow is another day with her. That is enough for me.