Today would have been Shirley Elizabeth Hummel’s 85th Birthday. She was my Mother. She was also many other things in her life. But first and foremost she was my Mother and I failed her.
It is a sad and recurring twist of fate that too many of us do not realize of understand how important our parents were and are to us until it is too late. I am one of those. My Mother, despite her mental illness was there for me as I was growing up yet in her twilight years I was not there for her until the very end.
Would she have survived to see her 85th Birthday if I had not of turned my back on her for so many years? Only God knows the answer to that. What I know is that I let my hate of her illness blind me to the fact that she needed me.
My mother was struggling to deal with day to day problems that vex us all. These problems are easily solved by most but for her she needed someone to help her through them, she needed me; yet I was not there. Shirley was lonely, she needed family, her family did not need her. Her family was me and I did not realize until it was too late that I did need her.
My mother needed love and she looked for it in all the wrong places. One of those wrong places that she looked was in a “Looking For Love” classified in a tabloid. That ad took her to a loveless marriage in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I had to rescue her years later from unscrupulous Canadian Government Trustees that stole her money and left her lost and confused in a Canadian Senior Warehouse.
In the last two years of her life I was there for her, every single day except the last week of her life. My ex-wife Debbie was there for her also, being with her, when I couldn’t, as she breathed her last. We had moved my mother from a nursing facility in Independence, Kansas to a nursing facility in Abilene, Texas in anticipation of a move to that community. I was in Independence, Kansas closing our business and making arrangements for the move. Shirley contracted a Urinary Tract infection and died as I was en route to Abilene. I will always be grateful to Debbie that she was there in my Mothers final moments so that she did not have to die alone.
I was able to be there for my Mother in the last two years of her life but I should have been there all of her life as she tried to there all of my life.
Whoever may read this please take these lessons away from this writing:
1) Do not allow Doctors to put your elderly loved ones on Geodon, Haldol or Serequil. These drugs will kill them.
If currently on those drugs ween them off immediately.
Always remember, your parents were there for you, be there for them.
2) Put aside your grievance and/or your problems with those you love, those things are not important. What is important is that you love them and are there for them.
3) Forgiveness is not only important but it is also in required. If you love and believe in God then you believe in his word; “Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure — not to put it too severely — to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him … Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive.” -2 Corinthians 2:5-8, 10- The Good News: To forgive is an act of kindness that helps other people heal in God’s light as well. It is not enough to forgive you must also embrace.
4) Be there for your parents they need you more than they say and more than you know.
Would my mother be alive today to celebrate her 85th Birthday if I would have put aside my grievance and problems with her? Would I be taking her out to a Birthday Breakfast (her favorite meal), this morning rather than sitting here writing this if I had forgiven her instead of holding a grudge for so many years? I would like to think so. What I do know is this; I know I did right by my Mother in her final days. She was not alone and she was loved. I just wish I would have done right by her in all the days that proceeded those final days.
SHIRLEY ELIZABETH HUMMEL BORN SILVERLAKE, KANSAS JULY 26, 1935. DIED ABILENE, TEXAS MAY 16, 2010.
Happy Birthday Mom. I Love and Miss You Each and Every Day. -Your Jimmy-