Mom was right there.
Mom used to work in one state, the one my first husband, our children and I lived in, and lived in another. She had an interesting commute. She worked for a very well know university’s art history department as an editor. This job led to her specialization in certain genres of art, and she was highly respected around the country (and world) as a subject matter expert by authors who needed academic editing of their scholarly works.
When mom had to put in a local appearance at her department, she would stay with collegues near campus for most of the time she was in town. She was almost always able to stay a few days with us at one end or another of her commute.
In March of 1990, mom returned home pretty much the same day our youngest child, at 5 months of age, was diagnosed with a retinal tumor. From the oncologists office, I call my parents, sobbing. Dad picked up the phone, calmed me down enough to understand me, and answered, “Of course, Pal, I’ll put her right back on the plane.” What I said to my father was, “I know I just sent her home, but I need her back.”
Mom was back within 48 hours, before our daughter went in for a ‘radiation plaque’ treatment, and just after I visited the hospital with a stress induced stomach ulcer. She was right there taking care of me, my husband, and our children, so we could all take care of each other. She sat up with me offering gentle words of encouragement when I couldn’t see the light through the storm. She responded with compassion, strength and grace when we were all in deep distress. She kept the lights on.