Call Your Mom

Today at work we were having a pretty ok day in the war room. There are always issues when you’re working with new code, but so far we hadn’t encountered anything that we didn’t know how to handle. No “show stoppers” we say.

And then my coworker got The Call. The Call was from back home in Minnesota, and it was her mom’s doctor. Said doctor was calling to tell my friend and coworker that she suggests they move her mom into hospice care.

My friend Lisa has been looking after her mom for a few years now. Even though she’s in a memory care unit down the road, Lisa goes there every morning to unclog her moms toilet, because she has a bad habit of putting half a roll of toilet paper down it during the night. (Now THAT is love, I’d tell her, and her husband goes to do it when she has to travel) She gives her mom all her showers and she takes her to the chapel on Sundays. She makes sure her mom has all the things she needs, and delivers them with a personal touch that she might not otherwise get from the staff.

The Call was a show stopper. I mean, no one wants to have to think about losing a parent, or to be faced with having to fly home all emergency like in order to have this very difficult conversation with her mom because, you see, her mom still knows what’s going on, for the most part. Lisa’s going to have to tell her that her lungs are filling up with fluid, and that although there are some treatments they can do to help remove some of the fluid, it’s cause, COPD, cannot be stopped.

I didn’t know the right words to say to my friend. I offered to go out to dinner with her, which is way out there for me because as my coworkers have come to lovingly say about me when anyone suggests dinner, “She hates people.” I told her what a good job she’s done with her mom and I told her about all the benefits my grandma was able to enjoy (enjoy being a slight exaggeration) once she went to hospice.

I just know she’s in her hotel room right now packing to leave in the morning and sobbing her eyes out. What are the right words to say to someone who’s going to lose their beloved mom?

To watch her makes me think, of course, of losing my own mom and how it must leave a gigantic hole in your life. Even though I’m 45, mom still called me on my birthday and along with birthday wishes told me how proud she is of me, how happy she is that I’m happy. It’s hard for me to think about a birthday where mom won’t call me.

I hugged Lisa a lot of times. I also am not a hugger outside my immediate family circle but it seemed like since she was so far away from her family, she needed someone to fill in in the hug department. Little consolation I am sure, but it was all I had to offer besides my time.

As Steve Jobs said , “Its what’s supposed to happen. Out with the old, in with the new.”

He also said to live each day as though it might be your last, but he should have said to live each day like it might be everyone you love’s last day, too.

So if you still can, and you haven’t, CALL YOUR MOM.


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