FLATLINE

December 17, 2009
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Death. A welcome gift for some. Those who wither away as time passes refusing to take advantage of their inalienable rights to live life to its fullest and create a legacy, a purpose for there being. Abby is not one of those truants; she is someone who fulfills her life by helping others and taking care of her three treasured sons. Yet her love is contagious, it doesn’t always spread from her to one of her sons or her patients, but rather a stray animal in need of care or complete and utter strangers. Her petite size attributes little to the capacity of her heart, which leads her into a hardworking profession focused on improving other’s lives, but her compassion does not end there as she helps people and animals beyond the call of duty, all the while providing every opportunity for her three sons as a single parent.
Today’s world lacks the courtesy and morals once found in profusion that made the world a warmer more amiable place to live; consequently, compassion is one of those notable character traits that is now only found in a few graced souls. Abby is one of these privileged few who are caring and genuine. To me, she is much more though, she is my caretaker, my boulder that proves steady when my world shakes, my one-of-a-kind mom. She is not only a driving force in my life, but also in the lives of many where her compassion proves resolute. Abby does not discriminate according to species either, but rather is an avid animal lover, having one dog and three cats. An example of her compassion to the animal world came about nine years ago on one wintry evening when a familiar stray came scampering up our drive way. My family, consisting of me, my two brothers, my mom, and my dad, were just coming home from a relaxing dinner at Pizza Hut. It was freezing outside, so we pitied this icy cold cat. My brothers and I began pleading with our parents, promising to take care of it if we could keep it. My mother, being the soft-hearted woman she is, was easily swayed, and thanks to her, my father surrendered as well. From then on my family provided a nurturing environment later naming the cat “Money-ticket” a conjoining of two valuable things, signifying our love for our cat. My mom also took in a dog graciously when her friend could no longer provide sufficient care for the demanding animal. Not to mention the compassion she has shown to many gracious animal owners who had their pets go astray, lost, only to be returned by my mom. Yet, other times her compassion shines even more brightly, illuminating bleak times and radiating warmth like a momentous light bulb. She is currently a nursing director at Advantage Home Healthcare, but in a previous job she happened across a special young girl with kabuki syndrome, her patient. The syndrome gave this three year old shorter appendages which in turn required her to take physical therapy, unfortunately her family did not have the financial means required to provide a trampoline for their daughter as recommended by their physical therapist. Abby seized the moment and touched the family and the little girl’s lives’ by donating her own trampoline. I asked my mom if she lived by any motto and she responded “Treat others as you wish to be treated”, an age old saying that she follows in a big way, extending love and kindness to all who are in need.
Abby is a single mother of three who has weathered two emotionally degrading divorces and a life-sapping back injury that turns all physical exertions into painful experiences. Those circumstances are enough to exasperate many to the point of anxiety and depression; however, Abby is not just anyone, but rather she is a strong-willed, hardworking individual who is now solely focused on providing the best opportunities for her children. Raised in a frugal family of five, her father always expected the best of her and she tried to never disappoint, this was the origin of her profound character. Abby is only 5’ 1”, with a small frame, and blond hair that is beginning to gray, yet she has the heart of a lion and is wise beyond her years, much like the epic hero of the Odyssey, Odysseus. She graduated early from high school at the tender age of 16 a feat accomplished through hard-work and then attended a Catholic School where she studied to become a nurse. I questioned my mom as to why she chose this profession, her response was “I wanted to help people, and I liked to watch blood squirt.” This exemplifies her passion to help others and her ever-present sense of humor. Three boys to one mother, not a favorable ratio for sanity, but my mom makes it work somehow and provides every doorway for us to walk through. Two jobs, no problem, lawsuit, piece of cake, custody battle, a stroll through the park, which inspires the question, is nothing impossible? For Abby the answer is “no”, and thanks to her courage and ability to face problems head on she has flourished in this stressful environment. She is a fighter, a match for even Odysseus, and even he did not have the capabilities to bring home anyone alive through such adversity. Abby will never stop striving to provide optimal conditions for her children, which was shown when she fought the school board to get me into a higher level of education in Westfield when they said I wasn’t qualified. In the end, my mother won and thanks to her I am that much more advantaged in life. My mom is a living example that anything is possible and obstacles can be overcome if you have the courage to face them, and also that even when your world seems to be imploding you can still treat others with warmth and instill morals into your children so that they may lead the perfect life you never had.
The last way my mother is heroic is just by how selfless she is, bestowing random acts of kindness and putting others before herself. I look up to my mom for a myriad of reasons, but this is probably the one I try to emulate the most, and someday I hope to be half the person my mom is. I am thankful for my mom; for, she showed me a clearer view of the foggy world and helped me understand what is right and wrong, good and bad. The epitome of selfless is helping others without any foreseeable benefits for you, which was demonstrated by my Abby on a smoldering spring day. There was a baseball game that her son was playing in as the sun beat down like an unrelenting drummer, several innings in the umpire began to sway and with little warning he toppled over backwards overcome by exhaustion. Abby was the first at the man’s side assessing his condition and requesting water for him as she supported his head and helped him drink in his disoriented state, until paramedics could arrive. She has also given CPR to a man who had collapsed on the sidewalk outside of a Marsh. “Your mom saved my life” a common memory of Nick who only had a brief encounter with my mom, but obviously a memorable one. Nick had just hit his head on the hardwood floor during a basketball game, with the aid of my mom and a coach he was laid down on the sidelines. He doesn’t remember that, but he does remember Abby sitting by his side waking him from his concussion induced slumber. More stories can be told about my mother’s selflessness like when she evaluated the kid who blacked out at the county cross country meet, yet it would take a day’s reminiscing for all to be told. Like Odysseus, Abby looks out for others, but unlike Odysseus Abby is humble. “I never really thought about why I was helping those people, I just felt compelled when I saw somebody in need of help, especially since I was qualified.” Spoken like a true hero.
Every person has the opportunity to make something of him/herself, the only difference is if they take it or choose the latter which ultimately leads to a life not worth living. Abby chose to make something of her life by being who she is, compassionate, hard-working, and selfless, and she still has more time to enrich those values. Every person has a heart that follows a constant beating rhythm, with that they have a choice, live your life and make use of the power inside of your heart, or give in, fade into the shadows of society, and have your heart stop beating, flatline, and never make a difference. In nursing it is not recommended to become attached to your patients, which would make sense in the rare case your patients die often. Abby disagrees. “If you don’t become attached then all it’s for is a paycheck, but if you become attached then you have the opportunity to make a difference in your patient’s life. She is saying there is more to life than money and self-preservation, like values and happiness which you are gratified with when you realize you have made a difference in the world. Everyone has a choice, my mom made hers; I know what I am going to choose, do you?





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