It’s been a few weeks since my sister passed. I receive phone calls daily from those loved ones wanting to be reassured that I’m OK. Some days I pour out my angst, rage, sadness, and tears. Other condolence calls are not as verbose. I’m quiet in my grief without the energy to share. Nevertheless, these concerned loved ones fill my mind with stories, memories, and reflections of their own.
One particular story was shared with me by my niece about her mom’s last breaths as she, her youngest brother, and her father sat at my sister’s bedside easing her transition from this life.
Because of cancer and blood clots exploding like fireworks in her lungs, my sister Christine struggled with each breath, even on maximum oxygen. She insisted on sitting up on the edge of the bed to ease the suffocating pressure. Her husband sat at the foot of the bed. Her son supported her as she lay her head on his shoulder taking the fullness of her weight on himself lest she fall.
Her daughter, a doctor herself, was frantically demanding of the nurses some relief for her mom. She alternated between running out to the hallway pleading for pain relief and back into the room holding her mother’s face, kissing her cheeks, and focusing on Christine’s whispered attempts at communicating. Her plaintive soft words, “I can’t do this,” did her daughter in.
After yet another mad dash into the hallway and returning with the nurse, she found that her mom had thrown herself with her last bit of strength completely onto her son. They were as one, mother holding son, son holding mother. As my niece eased her brother’s burden and lay her back, she noted that Christine had already left her body. Only a few intermittent breaths puffed out for the last time. She was gone.
On hearing these details the phrase, “the weight of a mother’s love,” haunted me then, and for days after.
Do our children realize that our whole motherly weight of love envelopes them each moment of every day?
Is our heavy love a burden or comfort like those new “weighted blankets” I see on infomercials?
I end this story the only way I know how.
“I love you, my boys.”
Do you feel the weight of your mother’s love?
Indeed I am composed and quiet, like a young child carried by its mother.