As some of you know, my mom fell a few weeks ago and broke her leg. At 81, it has been a difficult healing. She remains in a skilled nursing facility while they try to help her rehab her leg and hopefully walk again. She hasn’t been alone, my father has been by her side pretty much all of every day. He arrives as early as 7 am, and stays until after dinner. He takes a very short break for lunch, or grocery shopping, or doing the most basic of things. And then, he is there again in the chair by her bed.
Watching all this play out has reminded me of some basic truths in life, at least in my life. The first is that I love my mom and she is one of my best friends. I miss talking to her on the phone while I am driving around. I get in my car to head to work and her number is the first one on the list in my car’s address book. I want to dial “mother”, but she isn’t there right now. The second truth is that true love really means “in sickness and in health”. For years my mom took care of my dad by doing all the cooking, the cleaning, and ironing his shirts for work. They were a couple with traditional role models, and it worked for them. Today, my father does all of those things, and he never complains. There is never a cross word spoken, no attitude of “why do I have to do everything?” He loves her in word and in deed. And the final truth, one I have known personally before, is don’t waste a minute of your life contending with those you love. Don’t hesitate to say “thank you” or “I love you”, or to just be there and be present. Not every moment we spend together is momentous, but it matters. Don’t ever take it for granted.