A man’s pride can be good or it could prevent him from being the person he wants to be. It makes us do crazy things. Give up your pride, show your vulnerability and you just might find that you like the man inside.
Big windows opened up on a colorful garden. The walls and the chairs were all in warm earth tones, giving an air of calmness.
This might have been a meditation room in someone’s house if it was not for the fact that my 93-year old mother lie dying in front of me. She was in the natural process of passing. She was in no pain, but her heart had grown tired and was giving out. The nurses told me that she was experiencing periods of anxiety and calmness that comes with the process of leaving her body.
Her calmness was helped by the morphine that was given to make the transition as easy as possible. Her face is calm and her eyes are closed. The gentle rise and fall of her chest lets me know that she is still with me.
I sit by the bed watching her as she sleeps. She opens her eyes, looks at me and asks “Who is feeding you?” I am 53 years old and divorced, but yet she still worried that I am not eating enough. I laugh and tell her “I am feeding myself”. “Well, you should cook more because you look very skinny” she replies as she closes her eyes.
About 5 minutes later, she again opens her eyes and asks me “Where is your girlfriend?” “We are not together anymore.” “So you are not getting married?” “No mom”, I answer.
Funny that she has brought this up because for the last 3 weeks, I was thinking how much I missed the woman I was going to marry.
The next time she woke up was the last time I spoke to her before she died. This time she looked at me and asked four questions in a manner that did not leave any time for me to answer. The questions were: Are you too picky? Are you always looking for someone better? Would you know a good woman if she stood in front of you? Or are you just plain stupid for asking these questions in the first place?
The last question was both funny and insightful. It influenced what was to transpire over the next couple of days.
She died the next morning in her sleep. I never got to answer those questions for her but I did act on them. Right after I left the hospice, I reached out to my ex fiancé. I told her that I knew that I did not have the right to ask anything of her, but that I would love to see her for a little bit.
We met that afternoon at the lake that we both liked to go to. Three months before, I had moved out of her house after an argument. During the time that my mother was dying, I experienced an epiphany.
For the first time in 3 years, I realized that the man I was at that moment was not the man who had been a great father, husband, friend and employee.
I told her that she did not know me because I had not been myself since way before we had met. I asked if we could start over again. This time taking things slower.
I knew I had a lot of trust to build back. I felt confident that I could do that because I knew the man that I was capable of being.
Today, we are rebuilding with the goal of having a life together.
Whether my mother’s voice came out of concern for her son or was the voice of the divine going through her does not matter. What does matter is that the message was sent, heard and acted upon.
Many times as men, we find out things about ourselves but refuse to admit that we were wrong. Even to our own detriment. If I would have kept my pride, I would have lost an opportunity to be with a woman who truly loves me.
There are times to keep your pride for when it is appropriate and useful. There are times to put it aside and take a chance. Who knows? You just might find that someone who loves you for who you are and not for what you outwardly portray.