In the morning I will setting out for quite the adventure … a trip to the hospital for my own experience with the robot surgeon who will replace my aging knee apparatus with titanium, guaranteed to last long past my own lifespan.
In thinking about lifespan, I reminisce about my own long and joyful life. My earliest memory is from four years of age when my brother was born. We lived in Miami at the time, in a small concrete house located behind Hialeah Race-Track. I had a parakeet as a pet and watched Kaptain Kangaroo and Romper Room on our tiny black and white television in the living room.
My brother was born with severe disabilities which the doctors attributed to the assumption that my pregnant mom had somehow come into contact with someone who had German Measles. (Thank goodness that this insidious disease has just about been eradicated due to the dispensation of vaccines, with only about 1,000 cases a year.) My tiny baby brother had a misshapen head, a serious heart condition, and a gaping hole where his mouth should have been. (He was also blind and deaf, although that would not be determined until he was older.) My mom had to feed him drop by drop from an eyedropper, spilling most of it down the side of his mouth. He cried most of the time and could not seem to settle down to go to sleep. When he was a few months old and my mother was exhausted and in despair, the doctor had “the” discussion with her. He suggested my brother be placed in an institution where he could be cared for properly. She could have other children to replace him. Horrified, she stormed out of his office and brought my brother home.
She continued to care for him tearfully but lovingly. I yearned to have my sweet, happy mother back again!
One particular morning started, again, with the little kitten like mewing that was my brother crying. I was busy watching Mr. Greenjeans on Kaptain Kangaroo and did not pay too much attention to the silence that subsequently occurred. I turned around briefly and noticed a brightness coming from the doorway of their bedroom. It seemed odd to me at the time because it was so cloudy out, but my attention turned back to Mr. Greenjeans. I was, after all, only four years old.
In a short amount of time, my mother came out of the bedroom carrying my brother, and she sat on the couch next to me. She was smiling! She bent over and hugged me tight and gave me a wet kiss on the top of my head. She was different than she had been. I was excited that my happy, loving mom seemed to be her old self again.
I went on to live a lovely, joyful childhood. My mom had the most beautiful insides and was pleasant and encouraging to everyone. She never had a bad word to say about anyone and could always find a silver lining instead of complaining.
It was not until I was a teenager having some angst over the existence of God that my mom took me aside for the talk that would change my life. She recounted that time when she was rocking my crying brother in her bedroom. Hugging him tight, she convinced herself that she would never put him in an institution, and she would do whatever needed to be done to raise him at home. It was at that exact time that she was enveloped by a bright light, a light one would think would be too bright to see with human eyes. She felt that she was being hugged by pure LOVE. Nothing was said, and no sentiments were expressed, but she knew that it was God. She knew He/She was telling her that everything would be alright and that she was not alone. From that moment on, she never cried again. She found joy in everything, even my brother’s upbringing. She passed this joy onto me. Even though I was not in that room when she was visited by the bright, white light, my own life has been changed by the knowledge that such an overwhelming love DOES exist. Who wouldn’t be joyful with that knowledge?
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