Last Chance Generosity

I remember very clearly the last time I saw my mom when I knew that would indeed be the LAST TIME I SAW HER. 

We were all in the living room waiting for the ambulance to take her to the rehabilitation facility after her most recent fall and I asked if she would like to sing a few hymns while waiting. Turns out the wait would be almost 60 minutes, enough time for us to nearly finish the hymnal I grew up singing from every Sunday.  We sang ALL of the old gospel, come to the altar, revival and spirit stirring favorites. 

If she sang soprano I filled in the alto and when she did alto I took the soprano. 

After we could hear the ambulance pulling up I closed the book and thanked her for giving me that time to sing with her.

She responded about it being so nice to ‘meet me’ and asked my name…It cut me to the quick that she did not know who I was. I knew she was in that state of minimal awareness of her surroundings but I thought surely she would remember me after singing those old hymns together. 

I felt myself stirring into that old pattern of rage and hurt. Here I was trying to bring some sense of peace and love back into our troubled relationship and she wouldn’t remember me for it. 

And then I stopped myself. This was not about me and my hurt. 

This was the one thing we could do together without any malice or indignation. This was not the time for transacting.. counting brownie points, this was the time for transforming our relationship into something filled with open hearts, healing, and closure.

This was our unbroken connection, this was a generous gift we gave each other without thought, or any intentions for give and take. I was, after they took, grateful to be there for that last chance generosity encounter with my mother.

~Lydia Patrick

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2 Responses to Last Chance Generosity

  1. CC Carver says:

    Thank you for this reflection, it brings so many bittersweet memories of my time with my mother when she was sick. I’m truly grateful to have those memories.

  2. katrina P yurko says:

    I love this reflection on transformation. Sometimes, It is the last turn we take to balance the uneven terrain beneath our feet. It is the chance to connect past to your future, even if your companion no longer knows who or why. The moment forward is not necessarily resolving issues but performing an act of love and nobility that lead to a life unincumbered by regret, malice, or indignation. You did well, Lydia, to face the whole of what that moment brought you, to frame it as a core life experience and then to share with us!

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