It's Mother's Day. But it is also May 8th. Let me tell you about May 8th.
Ten years ago I was riding in the front of an ambulance, speeding to the hospital with my son being worked on in the back.
The driver kept saying "Don't look back there. Face forward. They are doing everything they can."
So I was forced to watch the reflection of red and blue lights as they bounced off the side of the road. Red and blue road garbage. Red, McDonalds cup. Blue, Jewel bag. Red, clump of fallen branches. Blue, dead raccoon. Red....stop looking out the window and stare at my tear stained face reflecting back. Wondering if he will live or die.
"Don't look back there."
Escorted to the waiting room. "They are doing everything they can, it won't be pretty, you stay out here. I will be back to let you know how he's doing."
Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. My God! Why can't someone come and tell me what is going on!
"They are doing the best they can. These things take time." Useless words. GET UP AND GO ASK, YOU STUPID WOMAN! I want to shake her and say "It's my son! I don't even know if he's going to live or die!" I wanted to snap her little neck and run back there myself. "Tell me something please." I am not pleading with her now. I'm pleading with the universe. Someone please hear me. Save my son, save my son, save my son.
I can't stand it here. I wander the halls. Crying. Pleading. Sending my pleas to...what? I don't know...just something. I am begging for an answer. My wandering led me to the hospital chapel. I don't belong here! God doesn't listen to me. I am an unworthy human being. God doesn't have time for people like me. In desperation, I think maybe, just maybe, He will look over my many faults, my many sins and help the child. Maybe He will save my son.
I shamelessly throw myself on the floor of the dark chapel and my lungs burst with a sob and I tell God, I can't save him. I can't do it. He is yours. He is yours if he lives, he is yours if he dies. But I can't do it anymore. I am not a good mother. I am not a good person. I want to be good. I want to be a good mother. I love my children. It's me I hate. But Lord, if you save him, just do this one thing for me, I promise, I will never drink again. And He answered. "My dear child, I have been waiting for you to find me. We will get through this together."
And I believed.
The nurse found me. Chastised me for not telling her I was going to the chapel. I didn't intend to go to the chapel, I just wandered here. "What?" she said incredulously, "No one can find the chapel here it's tucked away so well. How strange you just wandered in."
Yes, how strange.
Then she said, "Your son is asking for you."
He's alive. The doctor said he'd be fine. The pills he took wouldn't cause any lasting physical damage. "Tylenol is bad", he said, "and can cause liver damage, you can thank God he didn't take that."
My son attempted suicide. I was drunk, on the phone with my mother. "I know I have to quit drinking. I know I am an alcoholic, but I really can't get through Mother's day without a celebratory drink. I will stop after Mother's day."
God decided one more week of drinking would have been one week too many. When God wants you, He does what it takes to get you.
It's Mother's Day. It just happens to fall on May 8th this year. To have the two days on the same date is bittersweet. I'm sober and I'm a mother. Without one, there wouldn't be the other.