When my mother’s aneurysm rupture occurred in August of 2004, I immediately thought of two elderly ladies whom I considered surrogate mothers: one was my mother’s sister Jean, and the other was a dear friend of my mother’s and mine, whom everyone referred to as Frenchie. With my mother hovering over the edge of death, I made a sudden realization that I needed to reach out to these surrogate mothers more regularly. Anything could happen in an instant and forever change the lives of these women whom I adored.
My mother was in the Neurosurgical ICU at UCLA for two weeks, then spent another week on the med-surg floor recovering from two coil embolization procedures. Shortly after my mother was released from the hospital, I decided to call my aunt Jean and Frenchie every week to say hello and to check up on them. With only a few stark exceptions (such as trips out of the country), I was able to keep my promise to myself and to them over the years. To this day I still call Frenchie every week to chat.
Sadly, my aunt alienated the majority of the family four years ago and refused to speak to me for a year. Once she allowed me to contact her again, things weren’t the same, and what further complicated the situation was that she developed amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in early 2016. ALS eventually robbed my aunt of her ability to speak, and she eventually passed away on December 20, 2016.
For any of you who keep pushing off contacting old friends or relatives, I implore you to contact them NOW. If you wait, it might be too late when you finally get around to it.