Day Sixty-Four – The Wisdom of Time


I am awake, I am alive, and this morning I cannot help but think of healing and the perspective of time.

Dreams of my Mom last night have her walking close with me this morning. Truth be told, her passing introduced 18 months of grieving hell into my world, largely due to what I had said the last time we spoke.

You see, my Mom didn’t survive heart surgery. Working in southern Ontario at the time (and having earned a holiday day or two or ten) allowed me the luxury of visiting with her prior (and I thought, post) surgery. It had been two years since I moved away so we enjoyed the days, spent chatting, playing cards and just getting caught up.

I was there the morning of her surgery. I remember it vividly. It was still so dark, seemingly everywhere, including in her room. As the nurse announced it was time, Mom admitted she was scared and without a second thought I uttered the words that would haunt me for the next year and a half …

“Don’t worry Mom, you will be fine.”

She wasn’t. Those words proved to be the last I uttered to her that she was able to respond to. She fought hard for three long days until finally a callous doctor announced “We have to accept we are going to lose this one”.

I held her hand. I kissed her cheek. The machines were shut off. She was gone and my torture began for you see, in my mind I had just lied to the woman I valued more than anything.

“How can I be proud of who I am when I lied to my own Mother when she needed me most?!”

That was the question I tormented myself with. That was the question I danced with every day, every night, every second of every hour. For eighteen months, I abused myself for being such a horrid daughter, for not living up to what she had so wanted me to become.

Honestly, I am not sure how long the torture would have lasted, if it wasn’t for the caring words of a man I had just met. He had lost his Mother around the same time. They had also been close. We had many discussions on the topic and when I broke down for the hundredth time, he finally demanded to know what I was so upset about. When I told him he was stunned. And then he uttered the words that freed me …

“What were you going to say to her in her moment of fear – ‘Honestly Mom, I don’t think you are going to make it but I am here anyways.'”

My objection to his ludicrous suggestion was instantaneous, almost as instantaneous as the end of my self-torture, for now I could finally see that I had not lied to her. I had comforted her in her moment of fear, and that is something a good daughter would do. That is something I did and with that realization I returned to the land of the living.

And nowadays, thanks to the magic of time and wisdom, I know my words weren’t even a lie for she IS fine, safe and sound in the arms of my father as they dance the days away for all eternity.

Today my friend, choose carefully the words you speak. Speak them with love, for you never know how long you will have to walk with them. Whenever possible, leave the listener with the best of you, just in case that is the last gift you bestow.