Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Mother's Visits

I saw the photos of Gabrielle Giffords the other day. The camera focuses on Giffords' beautiful smile. Her mother is the background, maybe a little care-worn, but smiling.

I don't know if we have many photos of my mother and me together from those six weeks when I was at the hospital and in Spaulding. But my mother was there, every day. If we had a photo, probably you would see my mother smiling proudly, maybe after she had pointed out my latest accomplishment.

For me, a lot of those days blur together: the parade of visitors, the endless procedures, the night awakenings. I do remember that after other people had left, often my mother would stay. As I drifted into and out of consciousness, she sat in a chair by the foot of my bed, quietly reading magazines.

Every so often I would open my eyes, on the cusp of sleep, wondering if she had left.

She was always still there, quietly sitting.


  1. What a lovely memory, Grace. One evening, my first (and only) one at MGH, I woke up and started calling for my husband, son and daughter. I knew they would have not left me without saying good-bye and I just could not remember them saying good-bye. A nurse finally came in and after telling me they must have already left, I convinced her that they must be somewhere nearby and she went searching, coming back to tell me all the places they were NOT. I finally accepted that they had left without saying good-bye, even though the thought was not something that could be true. Now, 18 months later, my husband still regrets leaving me without saying good-bye. My 5 weeks in Spaulding, he was there every day, and never left without a good-bye again.

  2. I spent a lot of quality time with my mom because of the stroke. We gabbed away on drives to and from medical appointments, and often had lunch together afterward. When I got my license back we both missed each other a lot. In fact, last week I spent the night at her house just to get that closeness again.

  3. Every time I read this post it brings tears to my eyes. I mention your amazing mother in an upcoming post on my blog.

  4. Thanks, Rebecca. My whole family has been amazing. Some of the other patients on the ward were really envious.

  5. For me it was very lonely in some ways. No family except my wife and kids. They were so precious when I arrived at home. Such a blessing!

  6. Hi Grace,

    The image of your mom just there again and again is such a evocative image of faithful love. I'm glad to know of this blog.


  7. When I first read this entry, I was on the first long trip I'd taken since your stroke, because I felt confident that your dad and I could both be across the Atlantic for two weeks, knowing you wouldn't be needing us. When, far away from you, I read this entry, I remembered how lovely it had felt to sit next to your bed, knowing you were all right, that you were just resting. And that you would wake up after a while, and kiss me good-bye, and I could go home and sleep, knowing you were all right. Now it's my chief blessing that I can go to sleep every night, knowing you're all right. Love again from your happy mom.