Reflective Statement

Describe an event that has made an impact on you.  Why was it important?

It was late on a warm Sunday night, in May of 2011.  The following weekend was Memorial Day weekend, and I had a camping trip planned with my family.  I was dozing off on the couch in front of the television, as usual, and the phone rang.  The caller I.D. was that of my mother and stepfather.  It was a strange time of night for them to call, so my heart began to race.  My grandfather had not been well, so my thoughts immediately wandered there.  It was my stepfather on the other end of the line.  I was expecting to hear my mother’s voice.  He was upset and rambling.  My head was pounding.  He told me that my mother was in the hospital, in the Intensive Care Unit.  I went numb.  He continued to ramble.  She went into the hospital a few days before that for a blood clot in her leg that was operated on, but she was not getting better.  Why did he wait so long to call me?  I could have been there sooner!  By the time I got to the hospital the next morning she was intubated.  She was alert, and aware that I was there, but she would never come off the respirator.  We cried when our eyes met.  She was swollen and hooked up to so many different things.  Her hands were tied down.  She was already receiving dialysis for renal failure. This Monday in history was the fifth day into the beginning of her quick decline.  She soon became unresponsive.  This was unexpected and my life would never be the same again.

I was my mother’s health care proxy and I had to make a lot of very difficult decisions.  In a last-ditch effort to try to save her life, the doctor told me that her left lower leg needed to be amputated.  She was going into septic shock, and although the clot had been removed, he felt that she had an infection that was causing her body to fail her.  I knew that my mother would never want to live without her leg.  She had too many other problems and this was a battle she would never want to take on.  After discussing it all with my family, we were not ready to let her go, and we selfishly made the decision together, to go ahead with the amputation.  She died within twenty-four hours after that, on May 26.  It was a Thursday.  She had no more fight left in her.  I was relieved that her beautiful soul was set free, and that she would never have to suffer through the recovery of an amputation, but there is not a day that goes by that I do not miss her.

It was not until almost three and a half years after she passed away, that I started seriously thinking about going back to college to purse my dream of an education in the Visual Arts.  Those first few years of life without my mother here on earth, felt like a month at most.  My grief, still so very raw.  It frightens me to think about how close I came to letting the artist in me die.  She had been hushed for twenty-seven years!  It frightens me…I almost gave up on myself!  There is nothing more clarifying about the decisions you make in life, than thinking about death.