This week I traveled to a small town outside Chicago to help my mother with her move from an assisted living facility to Alabama so she can live with my sister. I suspect many people, thanks to current economic times, have realized that the savings that were supposed to be there are not and change must happen. Such is the case with my mother.
It’s sure to be an emotional time, one which both of us had hoped to avoid. For her, she will be moving from the region of her childhood, her college, her marriage, her first home, her dream home, her caldron of first-grade student graduates and her dearest friends. For me, I will miss our spontaneous visits, morning coffee conversations, trips to the local restaurant in the town of my childhood, her gentle smile, and her helpful advice.
But this is not what I’ll miss the most. For me, I’ll miss the single greatest gift she could ever give a son: her kindness.
Mothers have a way of doing that to sons. While fathers are busy hardening us to be strong, stalwart, disciplined, and driven, mothers do quite the opposite. For this son, she showed me quite a different side: the strength of flowers, the miraculous coordination of millipede’s legs, the gentle pattern of a monarch’s wings, the geometric and gustatory splendor of artichokes, and the importance of a tender word, a held door, a pleasant smile, and a tender touch. “The gift of giving is with the giver,” she would say. “Big things come in little packages.”
I would like to think it was my father who gave me the drive to become a doctor. And in some way, it probably was — we do things to please our parents, after all. But just to achieve the title of doctor is not enduring. My mother is the reason I stayed one.
“Treat every patient as though they were your mother.” Exactly.
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.
- Sara Teasdale
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*