The Downside

of Grown Up

When we were young, we could not wait to grow up.

We couldn’t wait to get out on our own and escape the restrictions of childhood. So we bided our time in school, paying the price that would grant us grown-up status. We got jobs and started careers.

If we were lucky, we met someone who loved us and wanted to spend their life with us.

It’s great to be a grownup.

But times change and roles become reversed.

This happened to me a couple of years ago.

My mother, who had been living with us since suffering a stroke during a Holiday visit four years prior, had her house back in the Detroit area burglarized.

The house had been sitting vacant during that time and had finally been noticed by the criminal element. The time had come for us to find a buyer for it.

My brother and his wife were tasked to clean out the place and get it ready to sell. We were lucky that the neighbor from across the street was interested and bought it in a cash deal.

Meanwhile, Mom’s condition continued to deteriorate and we finally lost her on July 19th 2014. She was no longer living with us at that point, she had been moved into Hospice a week or two before. I was in Orlando at the time, attending the fishing industry’s annual trade show.

I had not wanted to go, but I really did not have a choice.

On the afternoon of July 17th, one of my associates, pulled me out of a vendor meeting to tell me that Mom had taken a turn for the worse and that my wife was trying to get ahold of me. I spent the next twelve hours trying to get home, arriving after midnight the next morning. She was unconscious but still breathing. I held her hand and sat with her the rest of that night. At one point she woke up, opened her eyes and looked around. I squeezed her hand and told her that I loved her. Her eyes made contact with mine, and she smiled, and in a weak voice told me that she loved me too. I stroked her head, and she fell back to sleep.

Those were the last words that she spoke to me.

That morning, my brother arrived and I went home to take a shower and get some sleep. We went back to relieve him later that afternoon. During that time we each took some time to sit and talk to her. The next morning, while ordering breakfast at a local restaurant, my brother called and told me that we better get to the hospital fast. We got the check and drove the mile or so to the hospital but it was too late. She was gone.

Somebody once wrote that you are never really a grown-up until you lose a parent. My Dad had died of lung cancer over thirty years before, his last words to me were “Take care of your mother” I had done my best to honor that promise.

Now I had lost them both.

Being a grown-up sucks.

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