One morning just over a year ago, I got that call. You know the type of call I am talking about. The type of call that you never want to get: something is wrong, something is terribly wrong and you must come quick.
It was my mom. She had fallen and hit her head after a tussle with her trash can at the end of her steep driveway. She sat at the end of her driveway that night thinking that someone would pass by and she could flag them down, but no one did.
The first miracle is that she never lost consciousness. So, she walked in the house and called my brother. The second miracle is that my brother, who lives 20 minutes away from her, happened to be close by. He took her to the small hospital in the next town, where the doctor (who had gone to high school with my brother) didn’t like the initial exam and sent her on to a bigger hospital in the next town.
That is where I met her, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. She lay quietly with road rash on her face, knees and arms, a broken nose and scratched glasses. She insisted that we were making too big of a deal about it and shouldn’t have come from our various corners of the state. To be honest, she was a bit embarrassed by all the attention. You see, my mother and I are different. She is quiet. We sometimes joke that if my nickname were “Sparkle,” hers would be “Warm Glow.”
As we stood there, with Mom gently chiding us for breaking away from our lives to rush to her side, the neurologist came in and told us that the danger was not over: Mom had two deep brain bleeds. Because they were deep, there was nothing we could do but watch and wait for symptoms to develop. He described what we were to watch for immediately, 2 days from now, 5 days, 7, days, 10 days, 14 days….and outlined the procedures and medications for the best and worse case scenarios. We, of course, hoped and prayed for the best, but that is not exactly what we got.
This turned into quite a journey that took months. We could really only watch as Mom’s brain attacked the bleeding. Gradually parts of her drifted away: at different times along the way, she was unable to stand, to move her left side, to feed herself, speak or even breathe on her own… Some of her organs failed and she was in pain. She’d get better, then worse, better then worse. This went on for months. My sister and brother sat with her most of the time and myself and my aunt filled in where we could. She eventually needed surgery and we weren’t at all sure that she’d make it. It was a medical and emotional roller coaster that most people, even half her age, don’t survive. But she did.
At last she was transferred to a rehab hospital for intense physical therapy. As I stood there by her bedside, she told me that people were calling her a miracle. With some embarrassment, she admitted that people wanted to know why she survived. She must have work to be done, a message to share—did she have a sense of what that was? My mom, never one to take to the spotlight, had found a way around the attention. She said, “I have been turning the question around for them. I have been asking them, if I survived to offer you something, what would it be?” And she was amazed at what people shared–struggles, doubts and celebrations.
I stood there with tears in my eyes as mom, with her quiet warm glow, told me this and I agreed that she was indeed our little miracle and one that I was thankful for. Then she asked me, “What did I survive to give you?” I stood there a bit taken aback. I was embarrassed to say anything. It felt selfish and odd to ask any more from someone who had given so much and worked so hard all her life, especially in the last few months fighting to come back to life. But here we were, having this open and frank conversation and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to go deep with my Mom.
I finally admitted that I always have a bit of a doubt about whether I am doing good at my work. She said, “That is easy, DeAnne. You are already doing it. Everyone knows it, so just accept it.” In that moment, the word acceptance hung in the air over my head like one of those neon signs over an old movie theater, the letters warmly glowing. I looked at my mom and realized that it was that simple. Although I have had a couple of moments of self-doubt since that day, for the most part the word “acceptance” has become my mantra, my divine message from my mom. It has changed my life, it is my own personal miracle.
I wanted to find a way to keep that word with me, so I took a leather bracelet and a silver Sharpie and wrote the word on my bracelet. As I wore it, the word would fade after about a month and I would recommit by re-writing it on the bracelet throughout the year.
I chose a new word for my mantra—and my leather bracelet–recently. I love this practice, because it doesn’t feel like a “should” or some sort of deprivation like resolutions have always felt and this way my intention stays with me throughout each day.
Sometimes the word that can change your life isn’t dynamic or something you would read in an article on success in the Wall Street Journal. It can be something simple and quiet like the word acceptance, compassion or connection. The only thing your word must be is personally meaningful.
So, it took me until my 40’s to really get that what I do is something I am darn good at and that my talent, intuition and brilliance are more than enough to help those I serve. They say “we teach what we need to learn,” and wow is that ever true for me. Now I’m even more attuned to how my clients feel as they learn to accept their gifts and trust that they are everything they need to be in order to create the success they want.
As for my mom, she celebrated her 81st birthday recently. If she survived to help you with something, let it be this: a reminder that a little warm glow and acceptance can help the gifts that we so often take for granted grow into infinite possibilities. (The picture above is of my mom and niece.)
Maybe you need a life change. If you would like to schedule time with me to plan what is next for your life, career or business and haven’t had a free strategy session before, take advantage of a free strategy session with me. You can easily schedule a time using the button on the right side bar of this page!