Give ’Em A Hug Before It’s Too Late

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - July 06, 2011

Mom passed away a year ago July 4. Life has never been the same for me and for the people whose lives she touched in her own unique way.

When someone close to you dies, many will offer their condolences and say, “Don’t worry. Everything will be all right.” I know they are trying to be nice and supportive. But, frankly, things are far from all right when someone so important in your life is gone.

It was my faith in God that truly strengthened me while Mom was ill and when she eventually passed. I believe that she is with the Lord and that her life of physical pain became a life of everlasting peace.

You see, Mom suffered from a debilitating and degenerative bone condition that attacked her spinal column. It was necessary for her to undergo dramatic surgery to fuse her vertebrae and spinal column into place. This took years to transpire and, when her doctors believed the bones were strong enough, they removed the hardware that kept everything in place.

Despite the therapy and medication, Mom was sentenced to a daily dose of chronic pain. She went from a mobile and active woman one year and the next, well, let’s just say she wasn’t the same. I remember the last year we visited for Christmas hearing her tell my daughter Zoe, who was 5, Nana couldn’t play with her.

That’s how severe her condition had become.


Sadly, that was the last time Mom saw her grandchildren. It was winter of 2008. We were unable to travel to Michigan the following Christmas and Mom became ill May of 2010 and died on July 4, Independence Day.

She was 68.

One year later, I have to admit I feel some guilt.

I understand the cycle of life and, as I said before, my faith tells me she is in that better place. My guilt is defined in that I am decidedly selfish because I want her back.

I’m selfish because, at the end of the day, I want to tell her all the great (and not so great things) that are happening in my life.

I’m selfish because I want her to see her remarkable grandchildren and how they are growing up to be such beautiful people.

I want her back so she can talk to them in her soothing and comforting voice when Zack and Zoe will need to confide in someone besides their mom and dad.

I want her back so I can show her the wonderment of our Hawaii and share with her the healing spirit I found here when I needed it most. And so on and so on ...


I hope if your parents are still with you, that you’ll take just a moment to tell them how much they mean to you and your family. I hope you will, for no other reason than you can, hug your mom and dad and really feel them in your arms, and say you love them. It’s a memory you’ll share forever.

One year later, and I miss her today more than yesterday.

But I’m hugging you, Mom, and I love you.

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