I planned another photo that I commonly look at “The Vulture and the Girl” that often reminds me of life’s eternal struggle and the vultures waiting to pounce in our weakest moments. They are most close when we are almost arrived at our destination, our salvation. There is quite the story behind the photo but I digress.
When I logged on I saw pictures of family, personal pictures, and decided I would post one of my own. It is a simple selfie of me and my mother but one that means a lot to me. I pull it up sometimes to remind myself of what a phenomenal year this has been. This picture was taken one month post op after my second trip to Cuba, when my mother had a double bypass.
If you don’t know, you should know that I am a nurse and regularly work 40-60 hour weeks to afford my trips to Cuba and my student loans as well as to pay my regular bills. I am thirty four and since nursing school (seven years ago) I have become my mother’s sole caregiver and support system. When she was told she would have to have open heart surgery everyone expected me to cancel my trip on which we were going to get married. I was chastised for being so very irresponsible and due to wagging tongues I became the talk of my mother’s dialysis clinic with rumors I was trying to get rid of my mother so I could bring my Cuban lover over here. I did not defend myself. I pretended to be oblivious and kept focused instead on the tasks ahead of me. I tried to enjoy my trip though we encountered stumbling block after stumbling block and did not get married after all. I came home then with a clear head and heart and focused on my mother and all the people in her life that love her but only handle this woman at a distance. No one knows my mother better than me. Our bond transcends that of mother and daughter. I am oft times her best friend and her life partner. I am the sole member of her support system. We spent the week before discussing every post humus wish and desire in the event her cardiovascular surgeon was correct and she did not pull through the surgery. We also spent it in deep prayer with a brave face to the world that she would definitely pull through. In the fight of her life, true to her nature, my mother didn’t want to upset anyone.
We did not accept less and though it was hard I worked my 40 hours, managed my mother’s care, her initial discharge, and immediate readmission to a cardiac rehab program. I did not advertise these events, I did not have time. I focused on my mother and her improved health against the odds. My mother overcame some astronomical obstacles, beginning with the unlikely chance she would come off the operating table. That she would make it off the ventilator after surgery, not once but twice. That she coded without a pulse for however many seconds due to inexperienced nursing care and had no permanent neurological damage. Or when the hospital sent my mother home in 40+ pounds of fluid overload with only an oxygen tank for me to work with. I simply refused to let her leave me at that point. She had already overcame the hard parts. No way she was going to die at home while I was at work from a fall off of my couch! Her recovery truly is a testimony of her strength and the love between us. We said we were in it to win it and that was the only possible outcome.
This picture was our first outing and when I see it I look at it with pride and love and many thanks to the Creator for the strength to overcome. I know I am a strong woman. I have no other choice but to be when I was raised by this powerhouse!