She seemed to be resting comfortably, but it was a very unfamiliar -- and worrisome -- role: Mom was ill and spending her fifth night in the local hospital.

She has been healthy for most of her almost 89 years -- and that includes beating thyroid cancer in 1978. She is a dynamo who, since joining me here in 2009, has handled grocery shopping, going to her weekly hair appointment, and taking advantage of the retail opportunities in the vicinity of our home.

Those who meet her are always surprised and complimentary about her age. She always attributes being active to keeping her stamina and vibrant, youthful appearance.

I only left her side twice to come home to get clothes and toiletry items. And we are blessed to have a neighbor who helps whenever possible.

Despite the thyroidectomy, this was probably the sickest and weakest I had ever seen my mother. Throughout the ordeal, I talked often to God and my father. Dad loved Mom so very much, and was truly devoted to her.

She and I spent the last week of Dad’s life with him in a hospital room in our hometown. This was eerily similar in some ways, but, if there’s anything I know about Mom, it’s that she is a fighter. She doesn’t give up easily and she didn’t this time either. She was determined to return home -- and did just that last Tuesday.

We haven’t reached that point in our lives where it’s a matter of me being her primary caregiver, but, should that day come, I will attempt to provide the same love and care she continues to give to her grown daughter.

Our parents raise us and, as Dad always said, prepare us to follow our own paths in life.

When Dad passed away, my sister, brother-in-law and I followed his example in our love for Mom. Our goal was to take care of Mom the way Dad had. I sometimes feel as if he’s smiling about his youngest (me, the responsible, self-absorbed one) finally growing up.

Mom and I have made some wonderful memories since deciding to make our home here.

The image of her sleeping peacefully provided such a sense of love, and a reminder of what a blessing I have that my mother is still with me at nearly nine decades.

Thank you to all who said a prayer or get well wishes to Mom. We appreciate the kindness of a community that has proven it is home.

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