"i'm not afraid to die, " my mom said to the doctor after he dropped the terminal bomb on her. "i've lived a full life"
i sat there speechless, his words sinking in, but more so hers, as i pondered what a full life meant to her.
i don't know much about my mom's past. she never really spoke of it. but what i do know wouldn't necessarily constitute a full life to most of us.
she was adopted. her brother vanished from her life when i was a kid. she was cheated on, spent 42 days alone in a hospital after my older brother was born [she was in between marriages then], had a lot of financial trouble despite working very, very hard, spent 16 years taking care of my dad as he decreased in health, saw him through surgery after surgery, underwent heart surgery herself, recovered like a champ, and took care of my dad some more. in fact, outside of her 'saggy bottom café' visits each morning as he slept, she never left his side. i mean, never. though she never knew what their marriage would entail when she vowed to take care of my dad 'in sickness and in health', she followed through with her promise, and stood by her commitment to love him until the day that he died.
grief stricken, she got word that she had cancer, underwent surgery and radiation, was pronounced cancer free as a result, and a few months later, sat in a doctor's office and got told that she would succumb to this cruel and vicious disease, and three months later, she did.
and yet, she lived a full life, she said. a full and meaningful life.
her words keep replaying through my head as i sit here and reflect on the last few months of her life, and the past few months without her.
you see, the world is full of victims. people who walk around with a chip on their shoulder, bitterness in their heart, and revenge on their mind.
"i can't believe she did that". "i don't deserve this". "i'm going to make him pay", etc., all the while, we make ourselves pay because we become prisoners of our circumstance.
lord knows i've been there. we all have. but what my mom taught me by the way she lived her life up until her last breath was this: we can't choose our lot in life, but we can choose how we view it.