The day after my mom went to the hospital (my first night in town) I was working with about 4 hours of sleep. I was so tired. I went to the courtyard at the hotel I was staying at and sat down to have a cigarette with my coffee. I was beat tired and gave myself a pass to smoke (due to the circumstances – I thought my mom was going to die). Anyway, there was a woman sitting in the courtyard. She gave me a nice smile. I smiled back and bummed a light from her. We introduced ourselves and she told me a little about herself. To make a long story short. She was from Philadelphia. Her name was Kathy. It turns out we share the same birthday, March 28. She said, “God does answer prayers because just today I was telling God, ‘Please let me meet someone like me I can talk to.’” Another Aries.
Kathy told me a story about praying to St. Therese for a baby, after years of struggling with infertility. “I dropped the Saint and just called her Therese,” she said as she told her tale. She said that St. Therese is known to answer prayers for miracles and when she answers your prayer she will show you a red rose. Turns out, she prayed and prayed and then she saw a red rose coming up through the snow during a thick Philadelphia winter. A couple months later she was pregnant with her son. She told me she would pray for my mom. So many people prayed for my mom. I prayed and was not specific; I just knew God would know what to do. My mother did not die the week I went out to say goodbye to her. She did not die the night I came into town and at the hospital she kept saying, “There are some folks from Heaven here who want me to go with them.” I said to her as she lay so frail in her hospital bed, coming in and out of hallucinations, “Tell them to take a number; I just got into town.”
My mother was in the hospital from Sunday to Wednesday (May 22 – 25) and was treated for a bad urinary tract infection and severe dehydration. She went home from the hospital on Wednesday. When I left her and had to say goodbye, I left her in the nursing home dining room, fully dressed, with her portable oxygen hung like a backpack to her wheelchair. She was wearing her Betty Boop t-shirt, talking with her table mate. This woman kept trying to offer the sugar to us. Her sixties wire winged glasses and her gummy smile will forever be in my memory. The kindness and gentleness my mother spoke to her with will also be a sweet memory.
I was not able to stay for lunch as I had to get to Denver to catch a plane. Before I went to visit her that day, I noticed a red rose in the nursing home garden out front. I believe St. Therese made it bloom. I believe prayer made it bloom. I believe love made it bloom. It could have been the Colorado sunshine, but I believe it was hope and miracle. I do not expect a full recovery (as my mother is very ill and has two brain tumors), but I did get the chance to say goodbye to my mom and spend time with her.