I look back on my childhood and recall a time when what was for dinner and how late I could play outside were my biggest concerns. I was the youngest of my siblings. I was a momma’s girl who believed my mother to be superwoman. She was invincible. As far as I knew, she jumped over towering buildings and could see through walls. Then, when I was about 13 she got sick.
My mom taught me never to take anything for granted. She said one day we may not have anything so to cherish what we have while it’s ours. I was too young to completely understand this at the time, but I kept it in my head nevertheless. Sometimes I don’t understand what she tells me but I can always tell when it’s something important.
It was about a month prior to Christmas, and it was getting colder and colder. My mom never did well with winter weather, and this particular year she caught a bad cold. At first it just seemed like a cold, but the longer she had it the worse her symptoms became. One day when she had been in bed for hours I went to check on her. She was coughing a lot and said she couldn’t breathe. “Call the ambulance,” she strained to say.
I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want her to be that sick, but I ran to the phone and dialed 911 anyway. This felt really strange to me because I was always told not to dial those numbers unless I wanted to get in big trouble. I cried when the ambulance got there, and as I rode behind it in the car with my grandma, she tried to calm me down. “It’s ok,” she told me. “She’ll be fine. It’s just a bad cold.”
But, it turned out to be more than a bad cold—double pneumonia they said. I couldn’t comprehend what that meant, and my grandma tried to explain my mom had an infection in both her lungs that made it hard for air to get into them. I didn’t like the way that sounded. We went to see her in the hospital as much as we could. I hated seeing her so sick.
Her condition became unstable. She was life flighted to another hospital where she was hooked up to machines to keep her alive. The doctors told us she would be asleep until she got better and they didn’t know how long that would be. I was so scared for her, and I didn’t want her to miss Christmas. I wished she had never become sick, and every night i prayed for her to get better.
My mom was asleep for 15 days, and then a miracle happened. She began getting better. When she woke up, she had to stay in the hospital for what seemed like forever. She didn’t have enough strength to leave, and she had to learn to walk again since she’d been in bed so long. My family counted the days until she could come home.
It took my mom almost a year to recover. None of my family has ever forgotten that experience, and I will never take anything for granted again, especially the time I spend with the people I love.
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