by Lisa Sledge
I’m going to do a bit of soul bearing.
I love my mother-in-law. My children call her “Hara”. She is the kindest, most selfless person I know.
Once I was sick. It was so bad I needed someone else to lift my legs into my bed because I had no strength. She took the midnight train to sit with me, clean my home, comfort my two-year-old, empty my catheter, and scrub vomit out of the carpet. She saved my life and gave me courage.
And when I let her down, she forgave me.
Ten days ago, I called her on the phone.
“I’ve been having a little trouble,” she said. “I keep forgetting things. I couldn’t remember my phone number the other day. And last night I was reading and then forgot how. The letters stopped making sense.”
“Maybe it’s stress,” I said.
Last Friday, she had a problem at work. She couldn’t remember where she was. Or what she was supposed to be doing.
There is a tumor the size of a golf ball entwined deep in the tissues of her brain. She has months remaining. Soon she won’t be able to speak. Then she’ll lose the ability to move.
I’ve only known her six years, but somehow, I can’t imagine my world without her.
I don’t want her to go.
I’ve never met most of the people who read this blog. Someday I hope to know more of you.
But as you see my words on your screen, you might think of someone you love. You might remember what it was to watch them fade. In our shared sorrow, we will connect. The world will become smaller. We will find strength together.
It’s amazing, the power that can be found in typing a few words onto a page. Somehow, in spite of differences and distances between us, we understand each other. And we find friends and comfort among strangers.