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When Mommy Stopped Driving

When Mommy Stopped Driving

When the doctor delivered the news, we were abashed and afraid. How much time did we have?


When the doctor delivered the news, we were abashed and afraid. How much time did we have?

When she started to walk haltingly, we were abashed and afraid. She'd never moved around slowly like that before in her life!

When the lab test came back, we were so relieved. It looked like she was going to make it! When she got some of her energy back, we were so happy!

When she started to sit down a lot, we were abashed and afraid.

When she stopped reading everything except the morning paper, we were abashed and afraid. She had always been such a big reader. When she stopped driving, we were abashed and afraid. She had always driven everywhere!

Now she sat in the passenger's seat.

When she stopped reading the morning paper and we'd read to her, we longed to see her with The New York Times, in hand.

It took her forever just to make herself breakfast.

When she started lying down right after breakfast, we got worried. We wished she would spend her mornings sitting up.

When she'd drop off to sleep while being read to, we wished she'd listen all the way through.

When she could no longer stand there to make breakfast, we were abashed and afraid. She was the one who always fed everybody! She had always made herself breakfast! We couldn't believe what was happening. We made her breakfast.

When she could only eat half, we longed to see her finishing everything on her plate, the way her father had taught her; all her life she'd obeyed him.

We longed to see her in the passenger's seat.

When she didn't have the energy to listen, we looked back wistfully at the way we used to read to her, and wished we had read to her more. We could have read her various things. Why hadn't we taken her places? Maybe she would have enjoyed the museum.

We longed to see her in her chair.

When she couldn't get out of bed, we thought: Just yesterday she got out of bed! It seemed so long ago. She'd walk across the living room to the kitchen.

When she couldn't feed herself anymore, we fed her, shyly.

When she could only finish about a third, we yearned for the time when she'd eat half.

When we realized she couldn't swallow, we thought to ourselves: Just yesterday she was able to eat.

When she stopped speaking, we looked back on our little conversations as if they were diamonds.

We sit and watch. She doesn't seem to be seeing us.

But she is breathing!

We rejoice. She is breathing!

November 24, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 13

(13) Laya, February 28, 2006 12:00 AM

I wish you comfort

In every breath you take, I wish you the enduring comfort of your mother's love. The same love you shine into this world, a reflection of the eternal love of the Holy One.

(12) Stephanie Brent, February 28, 2006 12:00 AM

So True!

It is not easy to watch your parent age. With many of the diseases of aging, it is like watching someone dying a little every day. You mourn each change and you do long today for the change you mourned the day before.

Worse, I get jealous of other people who visit the nursing home whose parents are in better condition than my mother -- but some of those stronger parents have died already and my mother is still breathing so I win.

(11) andrea simantov, February 28, 2006 12:00 AM

gratitude unmasked . . . .

sarah hits the nail on the emotional head! we spend so much of our lives trying to hold on to that which is precious and, in the interim, miss many golden moments. deep breaths coupled with endless gratitude for the moments we're alive should be the recipe for maximizing our relationships and getting the most out of the time God has granted us. oh, thank you so much, sarah.

(10) Joseph, February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Thank you

Thank you for this touching article; it really made me think. My grandfather is sick right now, which of course is sad; but even more, this article made me think of what will happen when my parents are old one day. Both are in (fairly) good health now; it's hard to imagine when they'll be like the woman (Ms. Shapiro's mother?) in this article. But yes, of course I agree that we must be thankful for the miracle of life at all points. God bless!

(9) Robert Shurtleff, December 7, 2001 12:00 AM

The epitome of short and to the point!

Talk about making another grown man cry. You have packed a WHOLE LOT of life very succinctly! I do not look forward to those days, which are coming very quickly.

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