By Joanie Marx
The doctors are pressing me for an immediate response on whether my mother lives or dies. My answer requires me to fill out a set of forms and check the appropriate boxes. Each second that is passing feels like an eternity. Is it really possible that our entire lives, regardless of what we accomplish, is ultimately decided by a check mark in a small box?
Here I was in a truly life or death moment. The whole core of my body felt heavy and numb. Blackness filled up all the spaces where I had held my hope that this hospital stay would work out for the best. My usually confident and unshakable self was gone. No carefully rehearsed smile could cloak my anguish.
I first learned how to act by watching my mother play different roles over the years for public show. It wasn’t that she was hiding something or being disingenuous. The parents of our generation were required by society to act as if things were always going good, even in those moments when they weren’t. She never confided in others.
In her unique way my mother instilled in me early on that life is but a stage and to survive the role you were given, you better practice keeping your personal thoughts to yourself. When the curtains go up and you’re in front of an audience, learn how to put on one helluva performance.
So, here I am on the grand stage of life, having to make the biggest decision I’ve ever faced. I take a deep breath, accepting the responsibility as her daughter, as her power of attorney. I open my mouth to tell the doctors what to do. But no words come out. I am not ready to make that decision. I must go back into my mother’s room and see her.
* This post is an excerpt from the section titled, “All the Time In the World” in Chapter 8 of my #1 Amazon best-selling book, “Facelifts, Money and Prince Charming: Break Baby Boomer Myths and Live Your Best Life”.
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