A Mother's Words

It's hard to put words to our experience. Words that come to mind are:


Then there are the words and phrases of others. Words of medical professionals, friends, family, and strangers.

"You're enabling him."

"Don't make his illness about you."

"You're reading too much."

"Your kids want attention."

"Mold is everywhere."

"Are you sure?"

"Why don't you...?"

Or this recent email:

When I heard your troubles about the mold and leaving your house and all of that, I thought to myself, "What a bunch of high-maintenance hypochondriacs."

As I reflect on these words and so many others, I think of my own insensitive comments over the years and relate to Pip's gracious response to Miss Havisham's plea for forgiveness in the book Great Expectations.

O Miss Havisham... There have been sore mistakes... and I want forgiveness and direction far too much to be bitter with you.

I also think of my mom. I think about our phone conversations as I was driving to and from doctor appointments... as I was waiting for surgeries to end... as we were fleeing our home... as we were searching desperately for a safe place to live.

The only words I can remember are these:

"You're doing great."

"You couldn't be doing any better."

"I admire you."

"I'm proud of you."

My mother died suddenly two years ago. I talked with her for the last time on Mother's Day, 2009.

I miss her voice. And oh, how I miss her words.

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