Today is Mother’s Day and I have to tell you, I wasn’t sure I was going to be celebrating this one.   About two weeks ago my mom got sick.  Really sick.  We had no idea how sick she was, she got sicker by the day.

I have never been so scared in my life.

I will spare you the details, other than to tell you she went in for a urinary tract infection, caused by kidney stones.  This caused her heart to be working at 20% of its efficiency when she checked into the emergency department.  That night, or more accurately, early that morning, my 82 year old mother had a heart attack.

It was a scary as hell next two weeks, where on an almost hourly basis her condition went up and down.  Thanks to some amazing caregivers at St Joseph’s Hospital here in Syracuse, she survived and was on the road back home in 10 days.  10 days.  There were times I wasn’t sure she was going to make it out of there at all.

When I got her to the 2 floor complex where the apartment she calls home is, I asked her if she wanted to take the elevator.  She shot me a look.

“No.  We are taking the stairs.”

10 days after a heart attack, she insisted on taking the stairs.  She wanted to see if she could do it.   10 days.

My mom is an amazing woman but she will tell you she’s nothing special.  I hate to disagree with my mom, but about that, she is wrong.

She is fiercely independent and in the face of all of life’s adversity she never got down, never let us get down.  She provided for my brothers and I magnificently.

When I was five my dad died, leaving my mom to raise three boys, one of which was born severely mentally retarded.  She did in on a nurses salary and when she figured that wasn’t going to cut it, she enrolled in the state’s first Nurse Clinical program and became a Nurse Practitioner.

Her hard work put her in a position to give up actual nursing and become a manager of chemical dependency program locally.  Along the way she was the last administrator of the long gone St Mary’s hospital here in Syracuse.  She was the one who shut off the lights for the last time.  In every turn in her professional career she rose to the top with hard work, uncommon intellect and diligence.

And with all that professional responsibility she was ALWAYS there for us boys growing up.   She did it without a hint of bother.  She never seemed to lose her good Irish sense of humor through it all.   That same humor that carried her through a frightening ordeal over 10 days in the hospital.

I say this without a word of exaggeration; I don’t recall my mother being sick a day in her life.  Not one.  Until that day .

Taking her home from the hospital I remember being relieved that at least for this day, at least this time I still have the gift of her advice, her humor and her common sense when so often I lack all of that.  Especially the common sense part.

On this mother’s day I know we are all going to celebrate our moms, the ones still with us and the ones who have left us.  We will celebrate all the mother’s in our lives but for me, having lived through the idea that this mother’s day was well on it’s way to not being the same, this one will be a little more significant.

What kind of a person  charges up a flight of stairs just 10 days after having a heart attack and a bunch of other really terrible things that blew up in her 82 year old body like an atom bomb?

A badass ,that’s what kind of a person.  A badass.

Even in her worst days, she never stopped being my role model.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, especially to my mom.



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