Two months ago, something unspeakable happened. My mom, two-and-a-half months into marathon training, was hit by a car at 6 a.m. during a morning run. She was running on the sidewalk, crossing a parking lot. The people who hit her got out to see if she was OK. She said she was and walked the half-mile home. (I’m not going to even attempt to mention how angry I am with the people who hit her, knowing she was bleeding and had a head wound, letting her walk away from this. They didn’t attempt to make her stay or give her any of their information.OK. I mentioned it. These people are jerks.)
I don’t even think I realized the impact of how badly my mom had been hurt. I mean, sure, there was blood everywhere and I was scared out of my mind. All I kept thinking was that she was coherent and walking. Her injuries weren’t that severe. She wasn’t dead.
I remember the night she was hit. We had been at the hospital for 5 hours and after a scary dizzy spell on our way into the apartment, Mom was home and feeling OK. I went out to get us dinner (comfort food = Chick-Fil-A). I put on a worship CD, put it on full blast, and sang my heart out on my way to and from the restaurant. When I got home, I sat in the car and just cried. Cried with sadness of what my mom has been through, cried with gratefulness that she was alive, cried with thankfulness of how awful this night could be, my first night living without my mother.
My mom couldn’t do much when she came home, or even that first month for that matter. She was dealing with a laceration around her eyebrow, needing 17 stitches. Major, deep cuts and scraps on both palms, elbows, and knees which required constant application of antibiotic ointment and non-adhesive bandages. A sprained thumb with a lifeless fingernail (the fingernail is toast, but she’s still waiting on it to grow back.) And a fractured elbow. The elbow is what caused us the most trouble. She had to wear it in a sling for 6 weeks, and see an orthopedic for follow-up x-rays. Luckily, it healed just fine but was just more of a pain than anything. (She still can’t stretch out her arm fully, and causes her pain to twist the arm around at the wrist. She may never have full mobility of it.)
The first week was the most difficult. My mom needed my help with a lot of things, from washing her hair to opening a soda bottle, and was also dealing with a lot mentally. She was feeling stupid for leaving the scene of the accident, something which I fault the driver for. (Hello! How do you leave a woman with blood running down her face and let her walk home? I would think she wasn’t right in the head!) She was feeling major sadness for not being able to run and thinking her marathon in January was going to be a no-go. She was feeling fear, having just been through a traumatic experience. She went back to work the Tuesday after her accident, even though she probably should have taken a few more days off. She’s a woman who thrives on being busy and sitting home, alone with her thoughts, was not good.
I had to do a lot in the past two months. All the driving, all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the laundry…all the things my mom was doing. I had no idea she did so much for me, while I’m satisfied to sit around. Sure, I can blame working and schoolwork and my internship on reasons why I sit around, but that’s not enough. I need to take a more active role in the housework.
In just the past two weeks, my mom has really gotten a lot of her life back. She was able to take the sling off and do more with her left arm. It still hurts to use it too much, but is a lot more mobile than before. She’s driving again, which makes me very happy. (She still doesn’t understand that we don’t have a brake on the passenger’s side of the car. And gasping every time a car drives by me is a little distracting.) She’s back to doing work around the house, which makes me more certain that I can’t let her do everything again. Just this weekend, I told her that I was “glad to have my cleaning-at-midnight-mom back.”
The biggest change is that she’s running again. She had to take 6 weeks off running, which throws off her training completely. (Sunday, she was scheduled to run 16 miles.) Two weeks ago, she was given the green light to resume running. While she had been walking for a few weeks prior, even walking in two 5K’s, it was running that she wanted to do. Running that fuels her passion. Two weeks ago, we headed to a park to do some running. I made it half a mile before stopping. My mom made it 3. Three miles. I couldn’t even believe it! She was feeling really down about not being able to run and having a few people tell her how crazy she was for trying to run a marathon, and this run really helped her find her mojo. She wants to add 1 mile a week, which means she’ll be up to 13 miles by January. It’s not the 20 that she needs to be at, but I told her that it’s not the only marathon she’ll ever run. And the fact that she’s still getting out there and running and training for this marathon speaks volumes to me. She’s amazing. She’s a fighter. She’s my mom.