When John and I meet new people, we are often asked “How did you find each other?” My short answer used to be “through a mutual friend”. Now that we have been together for nearly 2 years, I realize there were many events that led to our meeting.
In 2010, I realized my relationship with my ex was not healthy. I believed, however, that a “strong” woman would endure a toxic, unfulfilling relationship so her children would have the benefit of a two parent home. By the end of April 2011, I had decided that I would just accept my fate, for my children’s sake, and remain in the relationship.
That is when I got the phone call that would change my life. My step father called to tell me that my mother had been found in bed unresponsive. She had been rushed to the hospital. After 45 minutes, her vital signs stabilized somewhat and she was admitted to the ICU. My step father asked me to come, but felt my mother might not be alive when I arrived. I packed a bag, booked a flight from Alaska to Texas, and began to prepare myself for the difficult road ahead of me.
When I arrived in Texas, my mother was in grave condition. I spent every day at her bedside, and most nights as well. Each day brought more devastating news; sepsis, possible stroke, blood clots, failing organs, etc. At one point I called our family and suggested they come say their goodbyes.
One day, she showed some improvement. The next day, there was a little more. One day at a time, my mother was healing.
During the long days of her very slow recovery, my mother and I shared many hours just talking to each other. I finally told her about my failed relationship. She listened, she didn’t judge, she offered insight, but didn’t try to influence my decision. Never once did she tell me that a “strong” woman would stay in a hurtful, toxic relationship “for the kids”. She helped me realize that LEAVING an unhealthy relationship takes strength; strength I didn’t know I had. For weeks she fought for her life, which gave me the courage to fight for mine.
I was able to stay with her throughout her crisis because of the generosity and support of my family and friends. My father tells me that because of my daily presence at her side, my mother was able to pull through and go on to live another wonderful year. I see things a little differently….
Somehow, I knew my place in the world for that moment in time was in Texas, so my precious children could be with extended family and feel the love and support and generosity that I had felt all my life. After four long weeks in ICU, my mother was able to be moved to a rehabilitation facility. After getting her settled in and on her way to a full recovery, I was able to return to Alaska. I now had the strength and courage to end the harmful relationship. I was looking forward to my new life and the adventures I was about to begin. As my mother began learning to walk and regain her independence, so did I.
In December 2011, I flew back to my hometown of Corpus Christi, Tx and began to settle in. I will always be so truly thankful for that move, because it allowed my children and I to enjoy eight additional precious months with my mother before her death.
I was focused so hard on this new path in my life. Every day was a new challenge as I tried to gain insight about myself, and started to heal old wounds. That was when I ran head-on, full-speed into my destiny. John and I met on Facebook, and from the moment we began a conversation, we did not go more than a few hours without talking to each other. He showed me a life I never thought possible. Through his kindness, patience, and understanding I learned that not only do I WANT to live every possible moment feeling this blissful, this loved, and completely fulfilled; but I DESERVE it. Because of John, I was able to hold my head up and see this beautiful world. I felt like I was finally, truly able to live a happy life. When I saw myself through John’s eyes, I saw more than just a woman, more than just a mother, more than just a nurse. I saw a compassionate soul…a soul with value and worth.
It was a blessing that my mother was able to meet John. She witnessed as the tiny ember inside of me grew into a bright flame full of life as John and I fell more deeply in love each day. She said it was something she had never seen in me before, and she was so glad I had found him. My mother had brought me into the world, and now…42 years later, she watched as my life began.
If my mother had not gotten so acutely ill, I wouldn’t have had the chance to spend time with her…. If I hadn’t had the chance to spend time with her, I wouldn’t have found the courage to end my relationship and move back to Texas…. If I hadn’t moved back to Texas, I never would have met my Sweet John.
I now realize that during that time of crisis, that time I was supposed to be “saving” my mother, she was saving me.