It’s been over a year since my Mom started discussing the details of being kidney donor to her brother. I told her I’d be there for her – as she’s been for me my entire life (I know I’m fortunate to be able to say this).
I wasn’t truly ready for how I’d feel as she was being prepped for the surgery itself, or how I’d feel just afterward as she rested in her private room. Maybe it’s the idea that the person who was the authority, the quiet strength in my childhood is in a weakened state.
It was scary. I felt alone as I stared out the window of her room. Crazy feelings! My mom is still alive. Why did seeing her in a hospital bed recovering from a kidney donation freak me out? She could die from anything – old age, tripping on a sidewalk gap, a spider bite in her sleep. Hospitals and medical trappings not required.
Does everyone feel that way upon seeing their mom/dad/parent-figure in a hospital bed – Even if they only have a broken leg? I wondered. No one has taken a poll. No one is standing outside the patient rooms, in the hallways comparing these heartfelt thoughts. Hallmark doesn’t make cards for us.
As the children of these moms, dads or caregivers of parent-figures, what’s wrong with us sharing our vulnerability with others in the same situation – on the same hospital floor? Is it because we are adults? Are we to pull up our big girl and big boy undies and walk on? Society might say that’s fair. It’s our turn to give back to the person who did their best to raise us as upstanding citizens of this planet. But what, and who does it help – this not sharing, this stiff-upper-lipping? Are we too busy applying the phrase we heard as kids, “Mind your own business?”
My mother told me to mind my own business often when I was a child. However, she also taught me to be a caring, compassionate human being. She is a living example of these traits. I think a happy middle is possible. Let’s show we care. Let’s wear our heart on our sleeve sometime. It may be the only way others know you need some support.
After spending just a few days or more in a hospital, I can imagine for some, like me, minding the business of caregiving for a loved one is intense – at least some of the time. Sharing such business with someone else who is going through a like situation but doesn’t have heartstrings tied to your loved one (or yours theirs) can take some of the pressure off emotionally. Who else wants to not mind their business with me?