LET ME BE WISE – A GIFT FOR MY MOTHER
I picked up another book from the Dollar Store which proved to be a treasure: Mitch Albom’s “For One More Day.” Albom is a decorated sports columnist and the author of two better known works, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and “Tuesday’s with Morrie.” This third novel is the story of a man who fails at his attempted suicide but is granted 24 hours with his deceased mother, time which allows him to reconcile his past regrets.
Albom’s brisk, no nonsense style pierces the heart of his character’s emotions without messy overspill. I’m glad because the perspective makes it safe for me to contemplate my mother’s upcoming 96th birthday: to look at the event as if it were in the past and to consider what it means to lose a mother. More importantly, it exhorts me to ponder how best to use our time together, hers and mine.
I’ve tried to be a good daughter, but I confess there are moments when I’m overwhelmed with guilt… moments when I’m certain I have failed her. Nowadays, my mother lives in an assisted living facility. The hours are long for her and when I call, I know it is the highlight of her day. I wish I could say it was the same for me, but I call out of a sense of duty rather than need. So little has changed in 24 hours. What news can I bring? And I grow weary of having the same conversations… of hearing the same stories told over and over again.
The blandness of her life makes me feel old… and aware that one day it will be the same for me but without a child to disturb my day dreams. Sometimes, I want to run away from my future and goaded by my fear, I become impatient. That’s why I call Albom’s book a treasure. It forces me to contemplate a time without my mother. After a year or two alone, what would I give for one more day with her? What treasures would I offer to hear her old stories again? I doubt the earth contains enough gold or diamonds.
Albom’s novel nudges me to cherish my mother’s life as it is being lived, before it becomes a memory… to accept that time flows in a single direction and that one day I shall dial her number and no one will answer. But not today, Lord. Not today.