I recently spent a very long afternoon at the Emergency department with my son. In the hallway beside us was an elderly man who had experienced a mild heart attack. His family was there with him, taking shifts with him in the crowded area. As we were waiting, a Doctor came along to speak with the family. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop or listen in, but in the very open atmosphere of a hospital hallway, it's hard not to hear everything. It's ever harder to hear things that you know are so private and personal to complete strangers.
This man was suffering from cancer, and his heart attack was another occurrence in a long line of health difficulties. I sat there tending to my own son, while overhearing the Doctor tell this family that there was nothing else to be done. I was so overwhelmed that such devastating news would be delivered so loudly in an overcrowded hallway. It felt so insensitive and cold. But the family showed much grace in a hard situation. They had come to this conclusion as well and did not want to put him through any more tests or procedures. I sat there thinking of how difficult and final this moment must be for them and the long road they had likely taken before they had reached this point in time.
Later, the nurse came and brought some food. One of the sons, who was a grown man himself - took a shift feeding his father the pureed dinner. I was facing in the opposite direction, trying to create some privacy for them, but as he was feeding his dad and talking gently to him, I could hear him start crying. My heart broke, as I silently prayed for him. I wondered what he was thinking in those moments. I don't know if he had a great childhood, or a difficult one. But the tenderness in which he spoke to his father was so touching. I knew he loved his father very much. I knew this was really hard for him. I imagined that he was likely thinking of moments they had had shared together over their lifetime.
I sat there and looked at my own son. I couldn't help but wonder what my children will remember most about me. What will their thoughts be?
I hope they remember…
Mom loved Jesus with all her heart and she was obedient to him
Mom loved Dad very much
Mom loved us SO much. There wasn't anything she wouldn't do for us
Mom was tough sometimes, but it was because she wanted the best for us
Mom taught us how to treat others with love and respect
Mom made mistakes. But she always said she was sorry
Mom was fun and made us all laugh
Mom was kind and cared for other people
There are many other things I could list, but the main thing I want to accomplish in my life is to make deposits into my children's lives that will influence them on their own journey. I'll make tons of mistakes and I won't always get it right, but I have to try. I want my story to be part of their story. But I also want my story to impact their story, to be part of who they become.
I need God for that. I need his wisdom and strength and continual guidance as a parent. Read Psalm 78. It's a beautiful picture from David about legacy and the importance of imparting truth into our children. Living a life of intentionality that will be passed on. That focus is expressed and valued in scripture many times.
I've been praying for that family since our afternoon in the hospital, that they would experience God's peace. And I have been living out my "mom life" with much more awareness and intention.
Touched by the tears shed by a son for his dad.
Reminded of the influence of my life as a mom.