December 10, 2009

One Month

How long is a month? How much can change in a month? Everything.

One month ago today my mom was in ICU. As my son took the trash out ahead of me that morning I looked at him and thought to myself that it was very important that I live each day as if it were our last together.

My mom’s cancer taught me that. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2008 I remember sitting on the floor of the hotel where I was chairing a conference and crying. My mom had always been a rock. She had been the glue that held the family together. Many of the family traditions were carried on because of her.

I did everything I could during the twenty-two months that followed to give back to my mom. I spent more time at her house than mine. We talked on the phone a lot before her cancer, but it seemed that the conversations had different meaning. We spent time as if it might not come again. I did things with her that we talked about doing “one day”. We drove to places she used to live. We visited the cemetery where her parents are buried. We took more pictures during those times.

I took time away from a job I once thought was my life. I went on several mini-vacations with her. We visited her house at the coast and the healing church in South Texas she always wanted to go to. My sister and I knew that spending time with her was more important than ever.

The last time I saw her, my son, my sister and I went with her to the oncologist. He told her about the radiation treatments she would begin the next week. The doctor told her she was doing very well for someone with her “condition”. It seemed to be the theme of anyone who knew something about lung cancer….she was doing great.

I left on Friday and hugged her. I would be back in one week. I called her Saturday to check in. On Sunday she had a car accident while driving to church. She was put on a care flight to the hospital. By the time I made it to see her on Tuesday she had a breathing tube in. I never got to hear her voice again.

Sixteen days after going into the hospital she died. That was one month ago today. While, I miss her more than I have ever missed someone, I know we had no unfinished business. There is no question that she knew I loved her and that I knew she loved me. There were no unspoken words. There were no deeds left undone.

That helps me. It does not make it all go away. The pain is not less but it is a comfort. I don’t doubt God when I am sad. I believe she would never want to come back here.

There may or may not be many more years for me on this earth. But I am committed to living as if it could be the last day. I am dedicated to sharing my feelings and thoughts as they come. And I pray that I will not detour long from that promise.

One day at a time. One honest moment at a time, with no regrets.

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