My mother Therese Kloak came to visit me in the San Francisco Bay Area from Chicago. We pulled over in the car along Skyline Drive near Windy Hill were we could see the whole of Santa Clara Valley below. I pulled out the book Do What You Love and the Money Will Come, written by Marsha Sintar. We read parts of it out loud in that car.
I told her my destiny was that I was writer. She said you can do it, I believe in you.
From up there, I had a vision and confidence I could do it. The whole world was in front of me.
Twenty five years later, after a roundabout trek in journalism, public relations, team work consulting, I completed my first novel Working the Glass: A Novel.
A week ago, my Irish mother broke her hip in the living room of my Mountain View, California home. The next day, she had hip replacement surgery at Stanford Medical Center.
On Saturday, I moved her to a skilled nursing center here in my town. There were a lot of decisions to make and I felt a lot of pressure. So much so that my oldest daughter wiped a tear from my cheek as I stopped to pause and reflect on all that happened in seven days.
She was supposed to fly back home to Chicago, but life had other plans. It’s been a tough, but eventful week.
My helping her isn’t an imposition; it’s an act of love. I’ve been by her bedside every day. Sure, I get tired and have to pace myself after coming to see her for all these consecutive days so far. I put my both hands over my face more than a few times this emotional week!
But here’s the thing: My mother has always encouraged not just me, but a lot of other people along the way. Besides my wife, having a mother like her is the luckiest gift I’ve ever received.
This remarkable 90-year old woman had eight children and I’m happy I’m one of them.
But she’s a gift to many besides, my large clan. Even now she’s taking care of other people’s babies. There’s Tracey the RN and Danny from Stanford Hospital. Marisol, Maripreet and Mario, the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) at her current healthcare center. And many others. She gets to know them all, laugh with them, and enjoy them!
As writer promoting my novel, I can learn a lot from my mom. We can all can!
While recovering from surgery at Stanford Hospital, my mother had constant newcomers coming in as her roommates. Most were too tired to say much from their orthopaedic surgeries.
Then one day, on the other side of the curtain, there was a woman who looked like my mother. From behind the thin divide across the room, the cranky look-alike-alike said this: Why is that woman next to me? Get her out of here.
She swore constantly and complained about the bad care she was getting at the hospital.
After a day, she was transferred out and replaced by a new person.
Who knows of complainer lady’s future?
In contrast, my mother’s trajectory is very good because she always had a great attitude. Even after all this. Her doctors say because of her outlook and family support, she’ll thrive and successfully rehabilitate so she can head home.
I sure hope so. I’ll do everything I can to make that happen!
I wouldn’t be a novelist, writer of a blog like this, and human being I am today without this special person.
What will happen next is a mystery, but I can tell you this:
The world is a much better place with the Therese Kloaks in it!
A basketball star from Chicago’s Czech neighborhoods seizes his last chance at basketball glory by impersonating his Australia-bound brother on a struggling Czech superliga team mid-way through their season.