I can honestly say it was the best of times and the worst of times. I was joyfully expecting my first child at the same time that my once energetic mother was losing her battle with a brain tumor.
As Mother grew closer and closer to death, my baby grew closer and closer to life inside me. My biggest fear was that their lives would never connect. I grieved not only for the upcoming loss of my mother, but also that she and my baby would never know each other.
A few weeks before my due date, Mother lapsed into a deep coma. Her doctors told us she would never awaken.
We brought mother home. As often as I could, I sat beside her and talked to her about the baby inside me. I hoped that somehow deep inside, she knew.
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 home and asked for the phone to be put to mom's ear. “Mom—Mom—listen. The baby is coming! You're going to have a new grandchild. Do you understand?”
What a wonderful word! The first clear word she'd spoken in months!
When I called again an hour later, they told me the impossible: mom was sitting up, her oxygen tubes removed. She was smiling.
“Mom, it's a boy! You have a new grandson!”
“Yes! Yes! I know!”
By the time I brought Jacob home, Mom was sitting in her chair, dressed and ready to welcome him. Tears of joy blocked my vision as I laid my son in her arms and she clucked at him. They stared at each other.
For two more weeks, Mother clucked and held Jacob. For two weeks she spoke to my father, her children and grandchildren in complete sentences. For two miracle weeks, she gave us joy.
Then she quietly slipped back into a coma and, after visits from all her children, was finally free of the pain and confines of a body.
Memories of my son's birth will always be bittersweet for me, but it was at this time that I learned an important truth about living. For while both joy and sorrow are fleeting, and often intertwined, love has the power to overcome both. And love can last forever.