I had my annual physical yesterday, and I knew it was going to be very difficult. You see, my doctor was also my mom's doctor. Mom and I had logged serious hours in that waiting room, in those exam rooms, in the halls. And this time I would be alone. I wrote to my daughter in Oregon, "Pray, please?!" and dragged myself out the door and into the car.
Coming up the hill and seeing the hospital on the right didn't do me in. Walking in the door, filling out the forms, hearing Kristin's sweet voice calling my name...it all went pretty well.
And then she put the pulse oximeter on my finger. The very same one that I had seen on my mother's finger dozens of times. And I came very close to sobbing. I held it in until she left me in the exam room, and then I completely let go. I wept and wept and wept some more. I didn't want to be in that room alone, where Mom and I had giggled and cried and held hands and checked our watches in impatience and compared magazine articles. But there I was. Alone.
Fortunately the doctor was late, I was able to cry as long as I needed to, and we had a great appointment. He wanted to talk about Mom, how much he appreciated her attitude. She made a difference in his life, because often patients are not so gracious toward the doctor who gives them bad news or asks them to make changes they would rather not make. And certainly not many of them were able to laugh in the face of life-ending adversity like Mom was. She was a gem.
As I left, I walked down halls that echoed with her laughter; I felt sad and lost and like I might feel this way for the rest of my life.
I know it's not true, but yesterday it sure did feel like it.