My mother had been sick for a number of years with the chronic and debilitating disease of Parkinson’s. In the advanced stages she seemed to be deteriorating more quickly with the loss of weight, increased pain and moments of dementia.
One morning I called my parents home, only to find my father distressed. He had just contacted an ambulance to take Mom to the hospital. It was clear he thought this was it- she was going to die. I too believed this the last contact. My father was resistant to my speaking to her-she was too confused, in too much pain to speak to anyone. I asked him to put her up to the phone anyway.
Mom and I spoke briefly. What she said to me was-“good-bye lieve schut” (which means in my mother’s native tongue-good-bye my darling sweetheart.)
Now these weren’t unfamiliar words offered to me by my mother, but the timing of them overwhelmed me. How strong is the love of a mother that in the time of pain, confusion and impending death, the desire is to yet one more time gift her middle-aged daughter with love.
I too as a mother have experienced this energy in the loving of my children. As I send them out to life I intensely desire that they have the power of love to sustain them in anything they face. I speak quietly to them,and frequently, without reserve-“good-bye my darling sweetheart, good-bye my lieve schut.”
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