Loss of a Mother

The Wednesday made-for-TV movie is on, and this time itís the tale of a woman in a coma. She entered the coma a few days before Halloween. Auto incident. With Christmas nearing and the medication that causes paralysis and unconsciousness wearing off, the music begins to swell. Patient family members at her side, her eyes open and her mouth begins to form, silently, her first words. If only you could hear themóthe TV producerís violins have drowned them out.

That was as close as I ever thought I would come to the concept of a coma, and thus I never thought my emotions would be drawn in very much. But a crash course in coma does not lead to great hope for waking (especially directly into speech) and a crash causing a coma does bring up deeply felt emotions.

The story I have played with in the opening paragraph is one I was involved in, though you must subtract the background music, the family members, and the waking-out-of-coma and all that might entail. And the situation was anything but play.

My mother was the woman. For six months she rode the coma, then died after I removed her life support. For six months, and with the greatest (and, I hope, inadvertent) sacrifice, she taught me more about life than such a prolonged entry to death should teach. In many ways she saved me. But I never got to discuss it with her.

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