Friday, April 17, 2015

My Heart Sank When I Saw Her...

Yesterday I took part in a very guilty pleasure. For a busy mom of 3, one of whom has special needs, a pedicure is something truly wonderful, as it only happens about once a year. I was only slightly embarrassed that the young lady assigned to me had to call over the manager to assist her in filing down one of my big toe nails. She had some sort of apparatus hooked to a battery pack that powered the metal chisel.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, this post is not going where you thought it would. I’ll get to the point...I promise.

As I sat in the massage chair, enjoying the rare peace and quiet, accompanied by a foot rub, to my right, down the aisle of nail stations, I spotted a young mother getting a manicure. But she wasn’t just any mom. My heart sank when I spotted her. She was sporting a beige baseball cap, in an effort to cover her bald head. He scapula sharply protruded from the back of her pink sweatshirt. Her vertebrae could have been mistaken for a string of large beads, hanging down the center of her back. And her complexion was telling of the horrors she had recently endured.

To her left was an adorable little boy, about 6, playing on his iPad. To her right, in a stroller, was a baby boy, rattling a toy and babbling. He must have been no more than 1 year old. It was as if these 2 boys had a supernatural connection to her, the way they sat so contentedly and played while they waited for her nails to be done. It was like they knew that their mommy really needed this.

My eyes began to well up with tears, and of course, I quickly wiped them away before they rolled down my cheeks, embarrassed to be so emotional at the sight of this woman. But I simply couldn’t shake the fear that those little boys may lose their mother.

For mothers to die young, of course, we feel sick that they can’t grow old watching their children mature into the amazing human beings they dreamt they would become. But on a much deeper level, we grieve for a child whose mother has passed, because the child their mother dreamed they’d become dies with her. They are forever changed, forever grieving for the gentle woman who lovingly carried them in the womb, cradled them at birth, nursed them to sleep at night.

I’ve heard many members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly state that they will support medical Cannabis legislation to help the sick kids. Being a mother of one of those sick kids, I thank them for that, truly, I do. But stopping short of helping a child whose parent may die without your help is cruel. Facilitating a better quality of life should always be a priority, whether for a child, or for those who care deeply for that child, no matter the age. Putting limits on the extension of your compassion is not compassion. It is prejudice.

I will never in my lifetime understand why any man or woman, outside of the medical community, feels that it is their duty to take it upon themselves to designate a list of patients who can receive a specific medical treatment, much less tell them HOW they can administer that treatment. I find myself wondering how they sleep at night... Or is it just those of us fighting the government who lie awake tormented by their apathy

~Lolly Bentch

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