Many years ago, my mother got into a car accident while she was on her way to work. I’ll never forget when the authorities told me about her accident. I was young/naïve, and probably watched too many soap operas. Because when they gave me the grim news, I just thought she’d be in a coma for a long time. I somehow believed that she would someday snap out of it, unphased, just like on television. Well, that couldn’t have been any further from the reality. I remember that first night of the accident, taking that elevator up to see her. I was escorted by a medical social worker, who was prepping me about what to expect once I walked into the room. Truth is, nothing would’ve prepared me for that moment. I didn’t even recognize the woman in the hospital bed. Her face was so swollen that I couldn’t figure where her eye sockets were anymore. Her head was bandaged, with a shunt that dripped her brain fluid into a container. She was on a ventilator, and there were a fleet of machines, with tubes, attached to various parts of her body. Each machine made its’ own distinct noise, which (altogether) sounded like an orchestra. I was, most definitely, zoning in on the sounds, to distance myself from the horror of looking at my mother. Well, a good year went by before my mother was completely out of the coma. Once the shock trauma doctors determined the extent of her brain damage, they decided that The Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital would be the most suitable place for her recovery. The hospital specialized in people with head injuries. And so began the regular 2 hour commute to Philadelphia. I drove with such enthusiasm, because I had such high expectations for my mother’s progress. But, as more time went by, I realized that she was never gonna be like the head-injured people in soap operas. She would never fully recover. When that reality hit, I sunk into a deep depression, and the drive to Philly became an arduous chore. Then, on one of my rides to Philly, 98 Rock played U2’s new song, “With or Without You.” And it was the first time in my life that I felt like a song was written specifically for me. I mean, at that point in my life, I couldn’t live with my mother having a head injury, and I couldn’t live without her (being dead). So, I took a detour to South Street and bought The Joshua Tree tape. I played it while en route to my Momma.
Category Archives: Philadelphia