Friday December 20, 2013
This fall, my mom asked me to accompany her on a bus tour to Yunnan China, a place she’d wanted to visit for years.
Though a bus tour in China did not interest me, supporting her dream was a higher purpose.
So I put my work studies on hiatus to go as Mom’s sherpa and chaperone.
Alas, the tour turned out to be a sales gimmick. After only one day of sightseeing, they dragged us to sales presentations ranging from spirulina, silk duvets, miracle underwear to high-end teas and jade jewellery. The days were long with so many hours sitting on a bus or in a sales room.
Mom was having a great time connecting with the other tourists and I got to witness her social side – including a sense of humor that flowed easily in her own language and culture.
It’s good to see our parents in multiple dimensions – to know them as full human beings. When you understand your parents better, epiphanies abound.
I also heard stories of her past struggles which revealed a specific family wound that I’d inherited.
This ghost had shown up in my life a few times but I didn’t know where it’d come from. Now I see that it had haunted my mom too – even though she never spoke about it while I was growing up.
Some epigenetic studies are showing that traumas, fears and behaviours can be passed onto future generations through DNA.
While contemplating the complexities of her hopes and fears, I felt ever more accepting of her exigencies and ways.
Even though I’ve been my mom’s confidante for many years now, every new understanding awakens more patience and peace.
So despite the tour being a bust, the inner trip offered many precious insights.
Mom and I in Yunnan, China
And then, it all turned out to be priceless training for the shock that came next…
Shortly after our return from China, my phone rang and the call display showed Mom’s cell phone number.
Caller: This is BC Ambulance Service… Is this Little Woo?
me: (gulp) Yes! What’s happened??
Caller: Your mom was hit by a car while walking across the street.
me: (oh god!) What???
This is the moment when your heart drops into your stomach. Time stops and shock prepares to hold you in its embrace depending on the news you’ll hear next.
Caller: But we think she’ll be alright… We’re taking her directly to Vancouver General Hospital.
I immediately jumped into a cab and so began the next phase of our Mother-Daughter time…
Mom ended up at the hospital for 5 weeks with fractures on her pelvis, lower vertebrae and ankle.
The accident scene
She and another elder pedestrian were crossing the street on a walk light but the driver didn’t see them in his haste (The other woman sustained some injuries too) In this image of the accident scene on Clark Drive and East 3rd – the car outline shows where the car struck them on the crosswalk and the X’s mark where Mom and the other woman landed.
With both of our normal lives on hiatus – a marathon of healing and caregiving ensued.
Mom faced the challenges of hospitalization, extreme pain, loss of independence and feelings of helplessness.
I experienced the exertion of full-time caregiving, the roller coaster of her suffering and some distressing family dynamics.
But the cosmic workshop I’d received while traveling with Mom had been perfect preparation…
Those epiphanies paved the way for me to serve more devotedly as a caregiver.
What a rite of passage it is to switch roles and become caregivers for our parents – they who carried us into this world!
It’s humbling to recognize the labour of love that is motherhood.
And it’s also humbling to honor that bond as a daughter.
Moms are forever.
Even though they will not live forever, they will forever be Mom.
What about you?
How have you bonded with your Mom over the years? What has helped your relationship strengthen?
Please post in the comments area below if you have stories or thoughts to share!!
Waves of Love,
xox little woo
Update: Mom is recovering at home now. Her fractures have healed but surrounding tissues need more time to recover. Her doctor estimates it will take 6 months to regain her basic mobility and a year to know the full prognosis.