May 12, 2012 5:47:22 PM
It is true that life is measured not by the breaths we take but the moments that take our breath away. I have so very much to measure this Mother's Day.
Early last summer my mama was diagnosed with a rare leukemia and stamped with an expiration date of three to six months at best. Life as I knew it was forever changed as my world shifted into a surreal odyssey marked by feelings of denial, depression, sadness and anger.
I remember sitting near a fourth floor window of the hospital, turning away from my frail mama to hide tears while staring out at all the umbrellas on the sidewalks below. Where were they all going? Would we ever rejoin them?
The days to follow would prove the hardest days of my life. We met with oncologists and nurses, shifting from one exam room to another, my mama poked and prodded with needles until she was black and blue.
Looking back on it, what then seemed an eternity plays back in my mind as if someone pressed fast forward, visiting hours filled with prayers, get well cards and stuffed animals. I sat quietly by her side painting her fingernails a different color each day because it made her smile.
I secretly wondered if she would be around for Christmas. When the fa-la-la came and went, I silently hoped she would make it to January for her 73rd birthday. Much to my surprise and delight, she blew out all her candles, proving she could defy the statistics and eat her cake too. We felt right at home in the waiting rooms of the cancer clinics, making new friends along the way.
Valentine's Day came and Mama ate more chocolates than ever before and took her morphine like a lady. I held on to the numbers and percentages of survival rates given us by the medical staff, but kept praying for a miracle as Mama kept getting stronger and stronger through spring.
We had midnight talks about death, heaven, and how she wanted me to treasure her china when she was gone. She had two scary episodes when she had to have two pints of blood over two days in April, but all she wanted to do after was buy a pair of cowboy boots and get her nails painted bright pink. I began to question who needed the vitamins because this 150-pound firecracker was wearing me out ... in a good way.
Easter came and went. Mama has been getting her nails done like clockwork every two weeks, and when people tell me about statistics, I tell them about miracles.
It's Mother's Day, and my mama just got a spray tan, several pairs of summer sandals, and I'm the luckiest son in the world. I stopped counting the moments of each day and living in constant fear. Oh, she's still very sick, and I'm still worried -- but this past year has been filled with moments that have taken my breath away.
Mama rides shotgun in my vintage Mercedes all over town because we both know we can have heaven on earth, right now. She lets the windows down, and we stop at the salon to touch up her wig now and then. For that, and for much, I am thankful, and my heart goes out this day to those sons and daughters, husbands and brothers, fathers, friends, mothers, wives, sisters, and, well, everyone, who has lost the one they hold just as dear as my mama is to me.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson. Contact him at email@example.com.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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