Messages from the Universe

5 Jan

Smoke over the Pacific from the Thomas Fire.

The universe often sends me messages. Most of the time, I’m too wrapped up in my day to day drama to pay much attention to them. Especially when those nudges seem rightfully insignificant: a slice to my finger while cooking (stop thinking negative thoughts about people, Jess—especially when you’re chopping vegetables with a sharp knife.) Or a flat tire while hurrying to get as many errands done before starting work (time to slow down, Jess—you don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time.)

Recently, I got a very loud message from the universe that had to do with my mother. A little background first: I’ve lived with my mother for pretty much my entire life. After college, when I married my husband, Rene, we moved in with her so she could help us financially while he finished his education. Eventually, we were able to buy the house from her and she stayed on with us. I won’t speak for my husband, as it can’t possibly be easy living with your mother-in-law for thirty years, but overall, it’s been okay. Our house is configured with a granny flat for her with a separate entrance and yard, so we have some privacy.

Recently, my mom had been driving me a bit crazy. Maybe it’s because as she gets older, I find her to be more hardheaded and stubborn. Maybe it’s because I realize she won’t be here forever and it scares me. Maybe it’s just hard having someone greet me every single day with a cheery, “Good Morning, Darling! How are you, today?” before I’ve had my coffee. Whatever it was, I was becoming extremely irritated with her. And if I’m honest, I’d have to say I was occasionally mean to her. In fact, I was downright nasty sometimes.

Then, at the beginning of December, while Santa Barbara was experiencing the largest wildfire in California history, my mom tripped and fell in front of the neighbor’s house while walking her dog. Now, she couldn’t just break her arm or something—she had to go and land on her eyeball. We didn’t know it then, but she had actually spilt open the back of her eye and hemorrhaged so severely that her left eye was literally being pushed out of its socket.


My poor mother, two days after her accident and still managing to smile.

Luckily, the planets aligned for us that day. After a CAT scan it was determined there was no damage to her brain but the ER doctor was worried that she might lose the sight in that eye. We were able to reach her ophthalmologist and he agreed to see her during a break between his scheduled surgeries. I rushed her down to the surgery center where it was determined she needed an immediate operation to get all that blood out from behind the eye. Somehow, the doctors and nurses made it happen (a big shout out to the Santa Barbara Surgery Center) and they were able to save her eye.

Although she’s doing much better, my mom is still blind in her left eye. As I write this, she’s having her third surgery (a corneal transplant) and hopefully this will give her some vision back. We won’t know for a very long time what the outcome will be.

After the accident, I suddenly became my mother’s caregiver. I had to dole out medication, dress her facial wounds and make sure she ate three meals a day. I had to drive her to her doctors’ appointments. I had to hold her hand and tell her how sorry I was that this happened. I had to convince her everything was going to work out in the end.

The strange thing is that although I was spending much more time with my mother than before, I didn’t feel the least bit irritated with her. I felt only love and concern. I was so thankful it was just her eye and not her brain that was injured. I learned how much she means to me—that although we are different in so many ways, we share an unbreakable mother-daughter bond.

I guess it took a really scary, knock-down, whopping nightmare message to wake me up. Most likely this is because I inherited my mother’s stubbornness.

I think from now on, I’ll pay attention to those quiet, little messages from the universe.

Maybe if I do that, I can avoid getting anymore of those loud ones.

**Update: Mom’s surgery went fine, but the news wasn’t good. Her retina was permanently damaged and it was determined that she will not regain the sight in her left eye. I’m devastated for her, yet she’s handling it with grace and a positive attitude. Much to learn from that woman!img_1984

6 Responses to “Messages from the Universe”

  1. debatterman January 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    A new look to your website . . . a new blog post that touches so wonderfully on a subject near and dear to me (the complicated mother-daughter bond) . . .Can’t think of a better way to start the New Year.

  2. darlenecraviotto January 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    I fell recently and so I know how that can really shake a person up. Your Mom is so lucky to have her daughter so involved in her life. It can make a big difference in the healing process. Hope she continues to heal well (and quickly). Sending both of you some caring online thoughts and well wishes.

  3. Sarabeth Clevenger January 5, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

    The Universe’s comments get awfully loud and often painful at our age. Poor Ellie, very scary and hurtful. Thank you Jess, for caring for her. You are both precious to me. May the force be with you.

  4. Melanie Jacobson January 8, 2018 at 6:30 am #

    You describe the complicated but super-strength bond possible between mother and daughter with honesty and your usual eloquence. A threat to one’s vision or that of someone close ironically helps us see. A miracle within a painful transition. You have so much experience with such miracles and the wisdom to see them as such.

    • Liz March 29, 2018 at 8:07 pm #

      While I could never have stated it as eloquently as Mel did, I agree completely. I’m so sorry that this happened to your mom, Jessica. She is very lucky to have you. WE are lucky to have you sharing your life so beautifully with us. Much love to all of you, and hoping that your mom is continuing to do well in her new reality. xoxo

  5. brittonswingler January 9, 2018 at 8:56 am #

    What a powerful reminder (love, gratitude, kindness, commitment, endurance, smiles…). I do hope your mother’s vision is fully restored. Based on how you’ve described her, she will make the best of the outcome, regardless. I am always inspired by those who can smile through lives you know can’t have been easy. I appreciate the reminder to appreciate…every single person I care about, and to put love at the forefront of my interactions. Thanks for this.

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