My mom has always been a very self-sufficient, independent woman. Truly, her spirit was the reason I went to college. I was the first generation in my family to attend and graduate from a university. No one encouraged me to go on after high school. It was 1960 and I was a girl from the blue collar working class. My future according to societal norms and my dad was to develop good clerical skills, marry and raise children. But, my mom, a very smart lady, had tasted the life of financial independence and knew there were larger opportunities and would nudge me every so often to check them out. I guess it didn't take more than a little nudge, especially since I was at St. Agnes Academic High School for girls and was with all these brilliant young women who were planning their futures and their first step was college.
My mom, Margaret (never Maggie, Peg or Peggy) moved to North Carolina when she was 75. She made the move with little help from the family and started to create a new life almost immediately. She volunteered at The Food Bank, took a part-time clerical position with a non-profit, became an officer in the Cary Senior Association and became a Raleigh Ambassador, touring the city and assisting at dozens of special events, including the Special Olympics. She was one of the first people to join the Cary Senior Center and instrumental in bringing line dancing to the facility. (She always loved to dance.)
She went from living in a condo, to a senior apartment complex and then to an independent senior complex with some services. Then at 89 1/2 her body seemed to start to shut down. We did everything in our power, everything, to make her comfortable, to make sure she maintained her dignity.
The calls for help came more and more frequently and they were filled with more and more panic. My heart ached. Part of me wished she would be spared the dying process and just go to sleep and not wake up. We've had several friends and relatives who died in their sleep. Ann Landers once said her life goal was "to die healthy." I want that too. I want that for my mom, for all of us but, that's not the usual, is it? When we took mom to the cardiologist to make sure her heart was ok, he said "I only hope I have a heart like hers at age 89." So, I wasn't holding much hope for her for a quick, easy death.
The decision I was faced with after the last panic filled phone call was, “How can mom be best cared for and who can help me decide this?" Certainly, I was so emotionally involved I wasn't very clear-sighted. I called both her doctors, compassionate, kind women and they did what good doctors do best, they listened and guided me. Then, I called my family. But, I must say I had been calling my Lord, the Blessed Mother, all our Angels and Guides for many years and especially for these last few weeks, asking for them to pave the way, to smooth the path and to light the dark road of my mother's care. And, on that day of the most recent panic phone call all the forces of nature and God came together. For any of you that have dealt with this kind of situation, you will recognize the hand of God.
Within the next six hours mom was living in an assisted living facility. Her new apartment was completely decorated and fully operational, even cable TV. My husband had immediately come home from work. By the time we arrived at mom's home, my daughter had spoken with the administrators of her facility and had secured mom a place in the assisted living facility. Her doctors came within the hour and signed all the forms. My son brought in lunch and my daughter-in-law took mom to another room in the building and shared lunch with her and kept her entertained while we dismantled her apartment and moved everything to her new space. My brother who lives in another state "just happened" to have a meeting close by and was already on his way towards us when I called him. His wife and daughter were also on their way.
When my daughter-in-law wheeled mom into her new home, the look on her face said it all, even mom's drapes were installed. She said "This is amazing!" It was amazing. It was a miracle! And, I fully realize I can only see the tip of the miracle. All the forces that had come to support us may never be revealed. My prayers, the prayers of our family and friends had all been answered.
What if I lived my whole life believing God, the Universe, had only miracles in store for me? Think of the power I could rely on. Think of the calm that would permeate my mind, body and spirit. Think of the joy that would fill my heart! To truly believe that God wants only my best and it's up to me to be completely open and trusting in order to receive the blessings. Yes, my job is to stay fully connected to God, to allow Her to do the work She wants to do. For me, that means praying incessantly; a deep breath, sighing the name of Jesus and opening my heart to the miracles of life.