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Carolyn M. Soto Jackson and Carolyn Marie Photography

Houston, TX

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Be Present

January 18, 2019

It has been about two months since my last post. Shortly after Thanksgiving, an unexpected emergency occurred and my husband, sister, dad and myself have been alongside my mom in the hospital. After 51 grueling days, three separate surgeries, and a tremendous amount of prayer, I'm blessed to announce mom is back home, finally getting the rest she needs. 

 

During those fifty one days, emotions ran high within the family but everyone came out a bit more humble in the end but we'll get to that a little later. Celebrating Christmas and New Years in the hospital was not on my "Top Five" but after pacing up and down the halls with other families crying and discussing funeral plans in hallways, I became eternally grateful rather quickly.

 

 

 

Let me take a moment to ensure you my peaceful and patient heart lasted about three days as the news started pouring in from the doctors. As more news flowed from their mouths, the less amount of humility and grace seeped from my heart. The more I tried to keep it together, the more mom required medication, procedures and new IV catheters. 

For the sake of another long, drawn out post, let me give you a brief back story. Four years ago, almost to the date of this particular hospital stay, my mom suffered a massive stroke. Literally, we're talking it could have been the same week this time four years ago. Since then, what was once the most hard working, highly intelligent and most talented woman (who single-handedly baked over a thousand brownies over the course of fours years for every high school band event I had), became dependent overnight. The strongest female figure in my life, could no longer walk, speak or swallow without help. 

 

As selfish as it sounded, I was crushed. My superhero fell completely dependent on my dad and sister. After mounds of medications and months of rehab, eventually she was taken back home to start a new chapter of her life. I don't know exactly when or where during 2014, but something in my heart broke.  My brain could not fathom the idea of the once hot-headed, confident, and fierce woman I knew as my mother, was now wheel chair bound and almost non-verbal. 

 

Subconsciously, my visitations became few and far between. Whether it was the hour and a half drive from Houston to Wharton or portrait sessions or any number of other excuses, I usually only found myself at my parents house on holidays and birthdays. Which is completely unheard of coming from a Latino family. 

On my way from the hospital a few weeks ago, I received a phone call which instantly erupted into an extremely heated discussion. While the individual was spitting out words of anxiety, frustration and exhaustion, God told me, "Enjoy this trip, you won't always have to make this drive.

 

My foot hugged my brakes as tears streamed down my face. I realized the person was still piercing me with their words but sadly, behind their emotions and angst, some of their words rang true. 

 

I had let my time with my beautiful mother dwindle because of my fear, worry and sorrow. Instead of enjoying every moment with my mom, I had timidly tucked myself away for the last four years so I did not have to see her in this condition.

 

Ridiculous but true.

 

I shifted gears from drive to park when the words, "Be Present" flashed before my eyes. Not because of what was said over the current conversation but because of the magnitude of God's Words, "... you won't always have to make this drive." 

 

Reality set in. There are only two things for me in Wharton. My mom and my dad. That's it, and the truth is once things change, I will not have any reason to drive from Houston to Wharton. 

 

Chalk it up to a severe mixture of stress and weariness, the conversation fizzled shortly thereafter but I was shocked to realize it had been about twenty years since our last argument. Even though it was only one-sided and more of a cry out for help, I could not help but do a serious heart check. 

 

It was time to BE PRESENT.

 

Be present in everything I do and walk through life with intention. 

 

I drove everyday, except for four days within those 51 days to giggle, dance, sing, lay in the hospital bed, comb her hair, brush her teeth, clean her face, change her clothes, and for the first time in a very long time, I was being the daughter my mother raised me to be.

 

Mom has been in Wharton since Monday evening. She is set up with all her new trinkets, learning alongside dad and Laura. I'm sure, driving them bonkers and it makes me laugh because I know those are the precious moments we won't have forever. 

 

It's time to be present and be intentional.

 

What better time to let go of fear, and start living now?

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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