From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

July 28

When I fell and hurt myself, my mother would take my hand in hers and say, “When it hurts, squeeze my hand, and I’ll tell you that I love you.” Sometimes I’d pretend I’d been hurt just to have that ritual with her. As I grew up, the ritual changed, but she always found a way to ease the pain and increase the joy I felt.

One morning, when I was in my late thirties, my father phoned me at work. “Mary, something’s wrong with your mother.”

When I arrived at their house, Mom was lying on their bed, her eyes closed and her hands resting on her stomach.“ Mom, I’m here.”

“Mary, I hurt so much. Am I going to die?”

I paused for a moment, waiting for the words to come. I picked up her hand and heard myself say, “Mom, when it hurts, squeeze my hand, and I’ll tell you that I love you.”

She squeezed my hand.

“Mom, I love you.”

Many hand squeezes and “I love you’s” passed between my mother and me during the next two years, until she passed away from ovarian cancer.

Mary Marcdante

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