Thursday, November 28, 2013


Mom, Jana, Liz and Brad

There are such mixed feelings this Thanksgiving holiday. Our family is so lucky to have our mom return to us. She was so near death. I actually left the hospital late one afternoon, and sobbed through my walk to the parking lot, thinking that it was the last time that I would ever see her. After the work of many fine people at El Camino Hospital, and at her rehabilitation center, she went from being bedridden, to being wheelchair bound, to now moving about with a walker. Watching this progression has been nothing short of miraculous. It is through grace, and through her own iron will.

The greatest gift, has been the opportunity to see the deep love that my parents have for each other. It was sometimes hard to see that growing up in our home. My dad chose a work path that lead him to be away from home much of the time. He was always traveling to Europe and Asia for his company. My mom seemed extremely unhappy to be a single parent, raising four children. During my mom's illness, watching my parents treat each other tenderly was unusual and touching.

All of this wonder is contrasted with the death of William's mom. William was a student in my class last year. Like my mom, his mother suffered from leukemia for a couple of years. William would come in and eat lunch on Fridays, with my sister and I, in the hope of finding some answers about leukemia. He even invited his mother and little sister to join us for lunch one Friday, when she was home from the hospital. I watched as he daily composed heartfelt binder paper letters to God. He started wearing a rosary necklace. He stopped playing at recess, and became an extremely sober person. When his notebook piled up with letters to God, I went out and bought him a special box in which to store them. The letters were so heartfelt, so sacred.

With his mother's death, must come the death of his faith. How could his earnest prayers not work? At the start of this school year, he showed me a photo of his mom in her hospital bed. She looked so frail and weak. I know that look, it was the look that my mom shared back in October. A person sitting in the palm of God's hand. Could William possibly see it, too?

Now that she's gone, he doesn't want to talk about it. I will bide my time, because I know that one day, he will open up. It may take a while, but I know that we'll eventually talk.

I am grateful for my mom's life. And, I am grateful for a job where I can possibly be an instrument to make someone's burden a bit easier.

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