“What WOULD make you happy, son?”
She was unable to connect with her misguided offspring who played her like a Stradivarius. Adherence to moral integrity seemed stupid and old fashioned to him.
He lied too easily, and was well aware of it, but her attempts to hold him accountable were futile. He wanted out of her sight, out this house, out of this town. If only she would just disappear, or at least shut up.
“Money, dear Mother, ONLY money…then I’d be FREE.”
She had co-signed loans, bought vehicles and clothes, lent gas credit cards; but still he accused her of not caring and of wanting to run his life.
In a gesture of pure bewilderment she spread her fingers, palms up.
“I don’t understand. How would money do that?”
Behind the hard edge to his tough, barely grown, man’s voice and the glaring blue eyes, she could see a scared child blustering with bravado.
“If you would just LISTEN,” he seethed. “ I’m telling you, MONEY is always the answer; not that spiritual oxygen mask you seem to need with every breath.”
Silent tears blurred her vision of his defiant stance.
“You just don’t understand, woman! What makes you think everything I do is so bad?”
The trusting mother stared in heart-wrenching disbelief. Where was the baby boy she had adored?
He continued in a sneering whisper.
“What’s wrong? Can’t you think of a good answer?”
She stood up, one hand on her throat, reaching out to him with the other.
“Son,” she began.
When she fell to the floor she hit her head on the sharp edge of the table. Blood gushed down her face and over his shoes. He froze at the sight of his sweet mother crumpled at his feet like yesterday’s newspaper.
For one brief, ugly moment he wondered if she had life insurance; then, panic took control.
“Grandma, Help! Mom is hurt.”
His sensible grandmother hurried from the kitchen.
“ Call 911 – QUICKLY!”
He scrambled to obey. When he returned she was holding a bulky compress against his mother’s gaping wound. Reassuring sirens wailed in the distance as he ran to unlock the door.
At the hospital a tired, cranky, and suspicious emergency physician questioned him.
“Talk to me, boy! Did someone push her? Did YOU push her?”
That was the son’s cue for an angry exit.
“You idiot excuse for a doctor, of course not.”
The mother lay comatose. Her vital signs were stable and her brain scan unremarkable but she would not wake up. There was a prominent scar near one eye.
The wise grandmother refused to bankroll his irresponsible habits so he was forced to get a job. His mother slept on.
Irrational fear begets paranoia. If she died, he was afraid his history of complaints about a nosy, irritating parent would convince the police to charge him with murder.
An ambulance brought her back home to the sunny front room on the first floor. Private nurses provided the physical care she needed. Evenings, he felt obligated to read the Bible out loud to her, and to sing hymns and praise music she had taught him when he was a child.
He gazed at her serene face and ached for a response. Sometimes he wept, begging for her forgiveness…and for God’s.
“Momma," he gently teased, “ Who are you - Sleeping Beauty waiting for the Prince?”
In a book chronically his eventual path to victory, he wrote: “ She escaped the constant pain inflicted by my frustrated and guilt-ridden youth. Evil had seized my mind with the toxicity of worldliness; I was trapped in a self-made prison.”
His insight continued. “The day she fell down, bleeding on my feet, everything changed. Scales began to fall from my eyes as I glimpsed what she had tried so hard to give me: the key to my freedom.”
He shared with total candor, “Before her last breath on this earth, I whispered, ‘Our Lord is using me to show others the Truth. I love you. I always did.’ She smiled, a look so dazzling it took my breath away. As if waiting for that final benediction, she quietly slipped the chains of earth. "
The epilogue was painfully honest and profound. “My precious mother was right about what money cannot buy. We pay a price for sinful choices. I am dying, alone in a hospice, victim of my resistance to her cautions. She never woke up. Thank God, I did.”
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