Love Mother

Yesterday was a busy day, and the darndest thing happened: I didn’t get sick. I don’t know why this pregnancy has been so easy, especially when my last pregnancy was so hard. I hate to admit it, but I feel like I’m waiting for a miscarriage -it just can’t BE this easy… it’s too good to be true. Mostly though, I’m just grateful. I’m able to accomplish things. I’m more active than I thought I could be.

Yesterday I was blessed to be well, and I was able to do something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I got to sit next to my Granny while she worked on the feet of her patients and interview her about my mother’s accident.
Granny is licensed in reflexology, and she’s also a retired midwife. Her bank of knowledge knows no bounds.

Here’s Granny on the far left.  My great-grandmother “Namina” is in the middle.  Incidentally, my Namina and my husband’s great-grandmother were best friends.  We didn’t realize that until after we were attached at the hip, never more to be separated.  Think maybe our angel grandmothers had something to do with that?  We do…

As I sat with my voice recorder going, I listened as she recalled the day… 26 years ago, when my mom was 26, that the accident occurred.
My mother was 26. She was MY age. It stuns me to think about that. She was the mother of four kids (ranging in age from 5 years old to 7 months, this picture was taken after the accident)

and she was the Primary President. She went out with my Dad to practice barrel racing on her horse. Granny said it was March 3rd, 1986.
What should have been a leisurely morning turned into something quite different. Mom’s cinch on the saddle wasn’t secured properly, and her saddle turned completely upside down on the horse. Mom’s neck sort of snapped back like a whip, and her head came to rest on a rock.
What followed was a series of short miracles: an oxygen tank that shouldn’t have been at my (great) uncle’s house was there. It was given some credit for saving her life. A Priesthood blessing was administered. She was rushed to the nearest ER, and my Granny soon followed after. They couldn’t take care of her in the little hospital nearby, so they took her by ambulance (which broke down on the way to the airport) to an airplane. Before being flown to the Phoenix area, the emergency personnel insisted that my grandmother kiss my mother. They insisted Granny tell Mom goodbye.
“I thought it was kind of funny,” she said (funny meaning “strange” and not “hilarious”), “I realize now that they thought your mother wouldn’t survive and they wanted me to have some kind of closure. The thought of losing your mother never crossed my mind.”

Once in an Intensive Care Unit in a Phoenix hospital, my mother was provided for. She was unconscious for the most part, and Dad -a small business owner -stayed right by her side. He stayed with her all week while his mother and my mother’s mother kept the kids. On the weekends, he came home to manage the business end of his mechanic shop while Granny sat at the hospital.
“Your Dad was amazing,” Granny said, “He knew just how to take care of your mother. The nurses told him he could have a nursing job at the hospital any day. And even with all the tubes and wires and gadgets your mother was hooked up to, your Dad would still kiss her… still touch her cheek and caress her hair.”

As Mom came to, Dad was there. Mom learned how to talk again. Mom learned how to eat again. Mom learned how to walk again. Once home, Dad continued his constant care. The doctor warned my Dad that Mom might not be the same. With a head injury like Mom’s, there was a chance she’d never be the same.
“You don’t need to feel guilty if your marriage doesn’t work out,” the doctor had said.
“Look buddy,” my dad said, “Apparently your definition of marriage and my definition of marriage are two different things.”
That’s the way my Dad told me the story, anyway.
Also: if my dad calls you “buddy,” you’re better off dead.

Do I remember any of this? Or course not. I was the 7 month old baby.
I’m learning it all so I can write it all down. It’s going to make for a fascinating read for my kids and their kids.

It’s a story of growth and miracles and change and priorities and courage and adversity and triumph and, as with anything, a heckuvvalot of hilarity.
But mostly? Mostly it’s a story of love. I didn’t think it would be -silly me. But as I listen to Granny and I listen to Dad and I listen to Mom… it’s definitely a story of binding love.
The love families have for each other.
The love grandmothers have for grandchildren.
The love an aunt has for a niece she nursed alongside her own daughter.
The love small children have for their mother, though they didn’t understand exactly what was going on or why mom didn’t just come back from her horsy ride.
Ultimately, it’s the story of the capacity of one man’s love for one woman.

That one man is my father.
Their story has defined and shaped my own marriage, and I can say this for certain: as I went about my dating life, the bar was impossibly high.
Dad had shown me what I could have. I wasn’t about to settle down with anything less.

I didn’t. That isn’t to say that my Dad is flawless -I guess that makes him even more lovable. My husband, too, isn’t without flaws.
Our marriage hasn’t been smooth sailing. Has anyone had a smooth sailing marriage, really?
Together, my husband and I have overcome obstacles. We’re still overcoming them. We fight to overcome obstacles that have the capacity to break marriages, but we won’t let go.
Just like my father fought for my mother, so my husband and I fight for each other.

“Your mother’s accident was one of those things,” Granny said, “That stopped time. Suddenly all the meetings, the busy things that you had to do that day… they didn’t matter. Family. That’s what mattered. And that was ALL that mattered. And that’s all that does matter.”

I don’t record our heartbreak -the tears, the conflicts, the incessant piling of paper next to my husband night stand (oops, did I just record that?) because I don’t want to remember it. I don’t want my kids to remember it. What’s gone is gone, and let’s bury it… shall we?
I don’t want my present muddled with grudges because I never know when some idle Tuesday might be interrupted by a life-changing a event that leaves me wondering if I lived in the present enough.
Do I?
I guess none of us do. But let’s not make it that way for lack of trying.

And no matter what -and despite what we’ve been though -my husband is the high ranking knight in my world. Well, co-knight… right up there with Dad. It wouldn’t be this way if it wasn’t for Dad. Dad taught me well without meaning to teach at all. Because of Dad, I knew JUST what to look for.

Every girl needs a good Daddy.
I was very lucky.
My daughter is very lucky.
May the chain never, ever be broken.


  1. wow, what an incredible story!
    also, that picture of you, with your brothers… well, you totally look like your boy. (or, he looks like you? whatever, you know what I mean. ;)

    • storylady says:

      Really?! No one has ever said that before! My husband’s genes are so dominant that my kids look so much like his side of the family and SO not like mine. I’m crossing my fingers that this kid looks like my side. I deserve ONE, right? ;)

  2. Yes, we all deserve at least one that looks like us. I mean, come on! We put in all the work, it should be a given, right?! ;)

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