I could tell by the tone in my mother’s voice that something was wrong. My heart pounded out of my chest as I waited to hear what was wrong. I thought she was going to tell me she’d heard from the oncologist and her cancer is worse than previously thought. I also considered she might say that my dad was back in the hospital. Instead she stunned me by saying that Chuck, the husband of one of dearest friends Gloria, had died suddenly in his sleep.
My mother had talked to him just a day earlier and they made plans to try to meet up next month when Gloria and Chuck were due in New Jersey for a cruise. I’d assured my mom that I’d take her to see them in Virginia in April if that plan fell through. Now the reunion they’d hoped for would not happen in the way they’d never anticipated.
My mother and I talked for nearly an hour. Then, I say down and tried to absorb the devastating news she shared. The sadness weighed on me as I went through the day.
Hours later, I checked my email and saw another message from my mom. In it, she told me that she learned another old friend had died. And, she said that my aunt, her last living sister, had fallen and broken her femur.
At 88 years old this could turn out badly, I thought. Grandma Nettie was fine on her own too until she fell. She never recovered.
I wanted to scream or cry or something. Instead, I dropped to my knees and said, “Lord have mercy. See me through all of this: Cancer, death, injuries, chronic illness and pain. Lord have mercy.” When I rose the heaviness in my heart was lighter even though the sorrow remained.
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