Judith Rich refers to this as a “Sputnik moment. ‘ She defines a sputnik moment as, “events that jar our sense of reality. ” These moments can be large or small, and they change the way one feels about reality. My sputnik moment changed my sense of purpose and understanding of life. On August 3. 2012, shortly before I turned 22, my mother suffered from a severe subtractions hemorrhage (also referred to as a brain aneurysm). The day that changed my life forever was not dissimilar from any other normal day. I arrived at work and took to my duties when I received a composed, UN;alarming call from my rather.
He informed me he called an ambulance to have our mother transported to the ERE because she was acting, “super weird. ” He told me not to worry, it didn’t seem serious. My mother and I have such a special, close relationship so of course I was still worried. I could tell that he could hear the concern in my voice. He assured me not to be worried, that although the situation sounded dramatic, it didn’t seem as though she was in any danger. He suggested she was probably simply dehydrated or malnourished. Being that the ERE was less than five minutes from my work, I figured
I’d meet her there, Just to be safe. The scene I was met with will forever be burned In my memory. As I walked through the doors of the ERE, my father approached me very hesitantly, muttering under his breath in his native language. It was not often his English become broken, but when it did it usually meant he was too exhausted to speak in anything other than what came easiest. This was a very bad sign. It was also not often I saw fear in my father’s eyes. But now, the fear was unavoidable. When our eyes locked I felt an overwhelming sensation of panic.
I could not turn away from his intent stare even Hough I wanted more than anything to escape the fear attacking me from his expression. His face was pale and drenched with what looked like a combination of sweat and tears. He spoke in the tiniest voice, “A vessel In Mom’s head burst and her brain is bleeding… ” The world became surreal. His mouth continued to move and his expression became more pained. I could no longer hear. I felt my strength slowly begin to bleed out of my body as my fingertips and knees started to shake. I felt my lungs refuse me in this moment is indescribable.
It was as if my body was unable to endure the abundance of emotion, so as a survival mechanism I became numb. How long this period of numbness lasted, I could not tell you. But when my brain finally started functioning enough to comprehend the information I had Just received, I was overwhelmed with panic and fear. The fear hit me like a speeding train. My instincts kicked in and my first inclination was to grab my phone and call the one person who always had the answers. Who could calm me down and comfort me no matter what the situation. The one who could fix something like this. My mom.
And that’s when it became real. That’s when my brain registered that the person my dad was crying about was actually my mother. This individual he is referring to is MY mother. My best friend, my rock, my everything. My mother was intimated and hooked up to life-support, where she remained unresponsive for 40 days. I quit my Job and ignored all other responsibilities to be by her side. For forty days I sat alongside my mother’s seemingly lifeless body, watching her only movements being those powered by a breathing machine. With sleep being unachievable, I had a lot of time to think. I began to reminisce.
It’s strange which memories I had the strongest urge to relive; the moments I would give anything to have back were not the grand adventures. For all I was concerned, the big family vacations and parties could have never happened. What I longed for more than anything was to relive the simple moments. The everyday moments. I thought about her voice. Every two-minute-long vocalism I either didn’t listen to, or rolled my eyes through. I thought about her touch. Every time I pushed her kisses away because I thought I was too old for them. I thought about her essence. The aura he brought into a room.
The inclination people had to be near her- drawn toward her security. And then I thought about time. I thought about all the time I still needed with her. All the time I wasted on people who reciprocated not even a fraction of the love and compassion she had for me. The time I wasted on relationships and situations that turned out to be so futile. It made me angry to think I could have spent that time with her. In contemplating the idea of time, I realized that throughout my life I always assumed it would Just continue; I took time for granted, not realizing that at any moment time can be stripped.
We are not guaranteed any certain amount of time, be that in relationships with others, or in our own lives. We do not control time and at any moment, life can change. My mother’s situation definitely initiated a new perspective within me. I had never before been inclined to think about how I would reflect back on my life in old age. Now, I have a better idea of what I want to see when I look back into my memories. I want to look back and see that I invested my time into those I care about, and whom care about me.
I want to feel like I never took a second or granted, and that I appreciate every moment shared with others. I also realize that I may not even make it to ‘old age. ‘ I now recognize that time can be stripped from you, and that is why it’s so important we utilize our time fruitfully. And by this, I do not mean in a materialistic fashion. We invest so much time and effort into obtaining a certain ‘lifestyle’ and we forget what is really important. When time runs What will really matter is the relationships you developed with the people you love.
We speed through life not recognizing how special each moment is. We take time for granted and overlook all that we need to be thankful for. I realized with my mother’s near-death experience and long-term recovery that we need to slow down and appreciate all that we have. I realize the most important use of my time is investing into worthwhile relationships, because when it comes down to the last few moments of your time, you find comfort in others, not in objects. There is a certain level of content I have found knowing that I will be able to look back at my life and be satisfied with how I spent my time.