Today I made my mom angry and I am proud of it.
My mom lives in a small town in Germany. She lives with my sister, Ulrike, and my sister’s boyfriend, Dietmar, in the house her grandparents built in the late 18 hundreds. It’s a great big house with a large garden. My mom is a landscape architect in her profession and she and my dad transformed the garden to a living piece of art. The art is dynamic and changes as the year progresses from spring to autumn. My mom just had her 85th birthday and she still keeps up the garden art. I love when I get to visit in summer because the lush garden is like a huge colorful canvas and I can sit right in the middle of it and get to enjoy it.
And here is how I made my mom angry and why I am proud of it.
I spoke to my mom on the phone and she mentioned that her knee is getting worse and worse and she might not be able to work in her garden any longer. She had had knee surgery several years ago and where most people do much better after the surgery she actually did worse. She saw many doctors after her surgery and all of them told her that her knee looked good and they couldn’t find anything wrong. Yet she felt tremendous pain and it was hard for her to walk more than 15 minutes.
Now she told me that soon she might not be able to walk at all. I felt for her and mentioned, there must be something that can be done. This is when the conversation got tricky. My mom mentioned that she had seen once again another specialist who actually found what was wrong and how it could be done better now. But he wouldn’t give any guarantees. I was excited about it and told my mom that doing anything possible was better than not being able to walk any longer. My mom responded that now being in her late 80’s she felt she only had a little longer to live and that it wasn’t worth it. This got me to respond without thinking in a really intense manner that left my mom quiet and she ended our conversation pretty much right after. My mom and I love to talk and I knew that I had upset her.
This is what I told my mom: “Every single minute of your life is precious and worth it to improve. Even if – what I don’t hope – you would only have 1 more year to live, it would be worth it to do anything that makes that year the best year you can have. A year with working in your garden; a year with doing trips to see different places; a year where you can continue to drive your car; a year where you can continue to go to concerts and see art exhibitions. A year where you can walk and do all the things you love.”
The truth is that I feel the sooner my mom can no longer do the little walking she can do now, the less time she will have to live and I simply don’t like.
I am proud I feel so intensely about my mom’s life. My life with her is getting better all the time. Where I barely had any communication with my mom when growing up, we now enjoy each other in so many different ways.
After speaking so intensely to my mom, I could feel her uncomfortable with my loud and definite talk. In the past I would have felt guilty for speaking so loud and definite, now I feel proud for who I am and for how precious I find my mom. I feel that everyone deserves to feel well no matter how many years on this planet. For me my mom is not ‘old’, for me she is as precious as a child and her life is as valuable.
I don’t feel deterioration is acceptable and we can do a lot for not having to experience it. The truth is, the body is amazing and responds to all the actions we take to build ourselves and wanting to live amazingly. Just eating better and doing exercise usually does wonders really quickly. We can’t take ourselves for granted. Above all, the feeling that we are worth it to live without an end is the best we can do for ourselves. It builds our immune system, our bones, it helps keep up our muscle tone and the elasticity in our skin. Feeling no end for our bodies makes us digest the food we eat better and makes us transform really phenomenally when we do exercises. It helps our organs to be more efficient and it simply feels great.
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