I had a conversation with someone about building resilience in mentees a while ago, and he talked about counselling them to have back up plans and to recognize that this is all you can do. Go back to sleep at 3 am when you worry. That’s why you have a back up plan.
He’s both wise and right. He’s also utterly wrong. The things that define us, alter us, change us – they happen randomly. There are no back up plans for them.
It started as all of these things in my life do – I was doing something else.
I didn’t even get the phone call. My phone was on mute. I grabbed my phone to make an appointment, I think, with my psychologist.
Instead there was a voicemail from a social worker at the hospital.
I remember with clarity. All of it. I can replay all of it in my mind – walking to the minion to tell him that my mother was dying and I had to go. Driving to the hospital. Opening the sliding door to her room and trying to assess how sick she was. The very kind resident.
My simple question – “will she ever go home and live on her own again?”
Calling people. Telling them to come now. The nurse that kindly pulled the tubes. The drugs we gave her to keep her calm. My godmother arriving. The priest saying prayers. Mr. Spit bringing me casual clothes and an elastic for my hair.
Holding her hand.
Watching the monitor.
For not quite 24 hours.
There is no plan B for this.
There is only you.
I have come to be thankful for many things my mother gave me.
That I was tough enough to spend that last day with her – with no plan B and no fall protection?
It’s the sort of thing that I look back at and I marvel. I had no idea I was that strong. It’s ok. I think my mum knew it all along.