I can honestly say it was the best of times and the
of times. I was joyfully expecting my first child at
time that my once-energetic, zestful mother was losing
battle with a brain tumor.
For ten years, my fiercely independent and courageous
mother had fought, but none of the surgeries or
been successful. Still, she never lost her ability to
But now, finally, at only fifty-five, she became
disabled -- unable to speak, walk, eat or dress on her
As she grew closer and closer to death, my baby grew
and closer to life inside me. My biggest fear was
lives would never connect. I grieved not only for the
loss of my mother, but also that she and my baby would
know each other.
My fear seemed well-founded. A few weeks before my
date, Mother lapsed into a deep coma. Her doctors did
any hope; they told us her time was up. It was
useless to put
in a feeding tube, they said; she would never awaken.
We brought Mother home to her own bed in her own
we insisted on care to keep her comfortable. As often
could, I sat beside her and talked to her about the
inside me. I hoped that somehow deep inside, she
On February 3, 1989, at about the same time my labor
started, Mother opened her eyes. When they told me
this at the
hospital, I called her home and asked for the phone to
be put to
"Mom -- Mom -- listen. The baby is coming! You're
to have a new grandchild. Do you understand?"
What a wonderful word! The first clear word she'd
When I called again an hour later, the nurse at her
told me the impossible: Mom was sitting up, her
removed. She was smiling.
"Mom, it's a boy! You have a new grandson!"
"Yes! Yes! I know!"
Four words. Four beautiful words.
By the time I brought Jacob home, Mom was sitting in
chair, dressed and ready to welcome him. Tears of joy
my vision as I laid my son in her arms and she clucked
They stared at each other.
For two more weeks, Mother clucked, smiled and held
For two weeks she spoke to my father, her children and
grandchildren in complete sentences. For two miracle
gave us joy.
Then she quietly slipped back into a coma and, after
from all her children, was finally free of the pain
of a body that no longer did her will.
Memories of my son's birth will always be bittersweet
me, but it was at this time that I learned an
about living. For while both joy and sorrow are
often intertwined, love has the power to overcome
love can last forever.