Because yesterday was my parents’ 47th wedding anniversary and today is Mother’s Day, this weekend would be celebratory regardless. But this year in particular it is truly something to appreciate.
My mother — my healthy, vibrant, active, vegetarian, teetotaling, slender, yoga-teaching, meditating, dear mother –had a heart attack five weeks ago.
When my father Skyped me at 10:30 p.m. EST, I knew something was wrong. He informed me that my mother was in the hospital and they were testing her for possible cardiac issues based on the initial EKG readings. Both of my parents were convinced it was a severe case of gastro-intestinal distress. But after several days of feeling terrible with what she thought was perhaps a stomach flu or bug, they realized that it was time to get help. (Women—take note!)
And for my parents — who take no prescription drugs in their mid-70s and try to stay on the alternative side of health and wellness as much as possible — that turned out to be a very necessary decision. The doctors located full blockage in one artery, cleared it and stented it. Turns out heart issues are extremely genetic to my mother’s side of the family, much more than we ever realized until now. This is likely why this happened, despite my mother’s very healthy lifestyle.
Truthfully, for me and my sister (who I happened to be visiting), there was no time to worry. My parents were in India at the time and we were totally powerless to do anything to help the situation, so we went to sleep. In the morning we woke up to another call from our father informing us what the doctors found, what they did to fix it, and that my mother was already impatient to get out of the hospital. This is exactly how I would expect my parents to handle something as minor as acute myocardial infarction. (!!!!) Indeed, they were dancing a week later.
Obviously, anyone would be relieved that his or her mom made it through something like this. But I am not anybody. I am a woman who five years ago was devastated by the loss of my husband and for all my days will live with the deep certainty that anything can change in an instant. It is just a matter of time for most of us before something occurs that will shake us to our core and force us to find the strength to move forward regardless — minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. This is a fact. It has happened to me more than once.
If this sounds dismal or pessimistic, I can assure you, it is not. It is, in fact, the opposite. It is a constant reminder to me that every second is precious, every person I love is a gift, and every day, week, month, year that I live without something dire happening to myself or my loved ones is to be cherished.
This May weekend, when my parents have been married 47 years and we are collectively celebrating the gift of mothers everywhere, I am not only deeply appreciative that my mother is here, alive and well, but contemplating how quickly my life could’ve changed again. This weekend could have been a time of grief and loss and wondering what the hell to do for my father, who I am not sure could survive on this planet without my mother — the depth of their love and partnership is astounding to behold.
But that is not this weekend.
Happy 47th Anniversary, Parents!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mum!
I am so grateful and happy to be right here, right now, appreciating every moment.
Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.advancedathlete.com.