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My Mothers Story

My Mothers Story

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Published by bde_gnas

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Published by: bde_gnas on Jun 17, 2013
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My Mothers Story
By Kay Mouradian
As a child growing up in the United States, my mother, Flora, would tell mestories of her own childhood in Turkey. She was a survivor of the 1915 Armeniangenocide and it was these stories that became the basis for my novel,
A Gift in the Sunlight 
. I would not have written the book however, if it hadn’t been for aseries of remarkable events that happened to my mother in the final years of herlife.
In 1984, at the age of 83 my mother, having outlived her husband and two of herfour children, was hospitalized. She was diagnosed as terminally ill withcongestive heart failure, and could not feed herself because she suffered fromsevere hand tremors. Most likely due to the onset of Alzheimer’s, becameconfused and did not recognize people she once knew."Let her spend her last few days at home," her doctor said. There was nothingmore he could do for her.With a heavy heart, I brought her home. Her final moments were near. I did notexpect her to survive the night. But I was wrong. As time passed, not only did mymother rebound but she literally recovered! Her hands quieted and no longertrembled and more amazingly, her mind was again clear and alert as if her braincells had been renewed. Was this a miracle? I watched as she developed newrelationships with friends that only recently she hadn’t recognized. Strangely, shedidn’t remember her past associations with them, but remembered everythingabout them from that point on—it was as if she had met them for the first time.The most miraculous and wonderful part of all of this was that my mother hadbecome more loving.Until her heart attack, her life had been colored by the Armenian tragedy. Shewas filled with anger and self-pity and dwelt on the horrors of the past. She oftentalked about her family who had perished at the hands of the Turks. Now,incredibly, that dark shadow was gone. It was as though something happenedinside Flora’s heart, something beyond my ability to understand. I remember
telling friends--with humble humor--that my mother left her negativity on the otherside and returned with all her good qualities intensified. I smile, even today, whenI think that that transmutation may have actually occurred.My mother had three more episodes. Each time my family and I were told shewould not survive without the help of a respirator and each time we refused,feeling she needed to move on if it was her time. But Flora was not ready to die.She had a second bout with congestive heart failure in 1986 which also proved tobe a stunner. With her heart laboring in cardiac care, her doctor didn’t expect herto survive the night. My cousin, my nephew, and I sat at her bedside waiting forher to transition. My mother had remained unresponsive the whole time whensuddenly she began to speak.“Do you know why I’m still here?” she asked, sounding as if she knew a greattruth. She looked at my cousin and said, “Because you don’t have any children.”She turned toward me and again said, “Because you don’t have any children.”Then to my nephew sitting farther away she said, “And you don’t have anychildren. If I died no one would know. They showed me a lot of pictures.”I wondered who the “they” were. I knew people who had near-death experiencesclaim to view their lives at the moment of death. Was my mother having the samekind of “vision” with whoever “they” were?She looked at my cousin. “Your mother was there.” His mother had died thirtyyears earlier. My mother mentioned seeing an Armenian family who was a karmicmirror of her family and told us prophetic things that would happen to members ofour own family. Two of them have already come to pass.“They showed the afghans.” she said. Over the years my mother had madeafghans for everyone in our family, our neighbors, and our friends. Interestingly,after this vision she began making her exquisite afghans specifically for disabledveterans, and I still wonder today if her enlightened understanding at thatmoment urged her into an act of service for the greater good.She turned her gaze to me. “You’re going to write a book about my life.”“No, Mom, not me,” I said. “Maybe your other daughter will. She’s the realArmenian in the family.”“No! You are!” she protested “And you’re going to be on
The Donahue Show! 
The Donahue Show! 
In 1986 Phil Donahue was the king of talk shows but mymother, who loved family stories such as
Little House on the Prairie 
, had neverwatched Donahue. I dismissed that statement as delusion.Then she ended her “little speech” saying “They said it was my choice.” Thesentence gripped my attention. Did she mean that it was her choice as towhether she stayed or transitioned?I have spent my entire adult life trying to make the right choices and it is never aneasy thing for me. Now my mother had made the choice to stay on in defiance ofher body’s fragile and deathly appearing state. She obviously had more to dobefore she could let go. I just was not aware of it at the time.Against the odds my mother rallied and a few days later, was released from thehospital. In the middle of her first night home I heard her stir and rushed into herbedroom. There she was sitting up in bed, her face absolutely radiant. She gaveme a huge smile.“Do you know what life is all about?” she asked, not waiting for a reply. “It’s allabout love and understanding, but everyone’s brain is not the same, so you helpwhen you can. That’s what life’s all about.” Her face still radiant, she laid herselfdown and went back to sleep. That is a night I will never forget. The next day sheagain couldn’t move without help.Time passed again and slowly my mother recovered. With each attack and eachrecovery she became more alert and more loving. After her third incrediblerecovery her doctor began to refer to her as “the miracle lady.” Every time she“died” we thought it was the end and each time she surprised us. Despite thisemotional rollercoaster, I have always felt privileged to have been a witness toher amazing transformation, but I was also awed. As her primary caregiver, therewere times she was so frail I couldn't leave her side for even two minutes.Weeks, sometimes months, would pass before she regained enough strength toresume her church and senior citizen activities or even merely crochet herexquisite afghans.My mother’s fourth encounter with death really stopped me. In 1988 I had goneto Aleppo, Syria, to search for the family that had given my mother safe refugefrom the death march into the hot barren Syrian Desert in 1915. I found the oneremaining descendant, a woman who was born in 1920, two years after mymother had left Aleppo. The next day I received a call from Los Angeles. My

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