cancer, family, health, society

I Hugged A Random Stranger

I just stayed in the hospital for two days and nights with my Mama Patty.

I sat at her bedside, while she was told that she would never go to work again, that she wouldn't drive again, and that she may not regain her mobility again.

As I melted in her arms, sobbing uncontrollably, she silently cried alongside me, stroking my hair, and rubbing my back. She was consoling me. My heart was breaking in a million pieces……

I couldn't imagine what she must be feeling. Scared…Angry…Disbelief?? I was certain, that whatever feelings I imagined she felt, were way deeper and to an extent much bigger than I could ever imagine. And truthfully, I couldn't even get myself wrapped around it. I tried to read her eyes anyway, though there were no words I could find to comfort her. Just hugs and tears of love and understanding.

Her autonomy was taken so quickly from her. She would have to rely on us, and I know she isn't ready. Who would be?

She remains positive, knowing for certain that the doctors are wrong. She's certain she will watch all of her grand kids graduate from high school. I smile, and say I can't wait to hear her say “I told you so”, to those day stealing monsters!! πŸ™‚ We decided we weren't going to talk about time anymore…We will take everyday we are given, and be happy with it. We agree that God is the only one who knows her plan, and I admit…I like her new rule!

For several days, we cried, laughed, and enjoyed each others company. We had sleepless nights due to constant interruptions from hospital employees, pain, and STEROIDS! There were long days of visitors, testing, and radiation. There were arrangements to be made for home…New medications, and new services.

Physical therapy, palliative care, wheelchairs, walkers, ramps….all words we've heard before, but yet a new reality to each of our lives.

At times it was difficult to worry about my own feelings, because I was so consumed with worry about hers…and my dads.

At periods through the day, I would find myself staring off. I was feeling tired, sad, and numb.

On one occasion, I found myself in an elevator with a stranger…an elderly man. He was shaking terribly.

He asked me what I thought of the care at this hospital, and I told him I wasn't overly impressed. That was his opening to vent his frustrations. He told me that his wife was just diagnosed with a large mass at the base of the brain. They didn't think it was a tumor, but rather a blood clot that could be life threatening, if not reduced soon. She needed an MRI. The only problem was that his wife was extremely claustrophobic. He asked 4 different doctors to PLEASE give her heavy sedation, but no one would listen to him. She was terrified, and he was helpless.

I told him he should demand it, but he felt he had tried hard already. He became very emotional and angry telling me that “They should listen to us, when we tell them things!! We know them better! We are their family”.

I could relate.

I took a minute to tell him of my mama P's diagnosis. I told him that she has always been extremely claustrophobic too, and it took ALOT of talking to get the sedation she needed to get through her MRI. I told him again to be persistent. I wished him luck, and hoped all was well with his wife. It was my valiant attempt to make him feel better.

He started to walk away with a short nod in my direction, but turned back to me for some reason.

He said to me, still shaking….”I'm sorry about your mom”, and he hugged me so tight.

I cried like I hadn't cried before, and I didn't let go of him. I needed that man in that instant, and he needed me.

I'm a very big hugger to people I know and love, but I am not a big hugger of strangers. In almost every case, this situation would have been uncomfortable for me…..but not in this one.

I will never see that man again, but he is someone I will never forget. I don't know his name, and don't recall his face, but for reasons I will never understand, our paths were meant to cross. I thank God for that.

Miracles happen all the time all over the world, and I hope more than anything, that one will happen for my beautiful mama, who I love so much…..

…..But in addition to these big miracles….the ones we can see right before our eyes…the ones that we pray god will grant us…..there are also small ones that we sometimes miss….. like the stranger.

I feel grateful to have had my eyes open, and that I could take notice of this small miracle, in the moment I needed it most.


15 thoughts on “I Hugged A Random Stranger

  1. When feelings of sadness, and devastation hit us, words never suffice. I am glad you two strangers found each other. I am sure it gave you some relief and strength in that moment.
    I remember when my Dad was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, I went through all you are now feeling. However the time we had left did not feel as if it was slipping away at a ridiculous speed, because we lived every moment. You have no idea your mamas future, it could be better than you think. The only way through is to live today. We can get through most days. It is tomorrow and the future that is upsetting. Your mama is here. She is with you today. I would love my Dad to still be here, even if it were just for one more day. Tears must be shed as you cannot keep them in, but life is still there to be lived in whatever way possible.
    Your mama sounds like a very strong lady. I wish her well. I wish you the best too. I am so very sad for you, and guess what, a stranger over here will light another candle for you today.(I am out a fortune on these candles!). Hugs coming your way. Try to stay strong and enjoy your mama. She has enough misery in her life! X

    • I am DEFINATELY staying positive. I know she can live another 20 years if is meant to be. I’m not giving up on her at all! My heart just breaks for what she may be feeling/experiencing. She’s been through so much already! I absolutely believe in all the things you are saying. I intend to embrace every second, day, year, and decade! Thanks again for your kind words, hugs, and dangerous candle lighting,:)

  2. This is beautiful – so glad you are able to notice these small miracles and be grateful. It makes all the rest of it much easier… I’m sorry you and your family are going through such a hard time, I’ll keep you in my heart.

    • Thank you so much. Its been a few months since her passing, but the emotions are still going up and down. I continue to accept hugs, and appreciate the gesture. πŸ™‚

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