What is it about almost losing someone that brings home how important they are to you?
My mother recently underwent surgery. Due to complications from the surgery and various other risk factors, she developed a possibly fatal condition that was B"H caught before it could actually become fatal.
But the danger was real.
I've had my differences with my mother in the past – teenage angst and whatnot. We're too much alike and too different at the same time to live together on a regular basis without some kind of fiery display every week or so.
I'm married now, out of the house. I come and go, call to wish good Shabbos, bring over my laundry and raid her cabinets. We've become closer, more equal, with me gaining confidence in our relationship that no longer blows up in my face every so often. Of course, there are still ups and downs. Our relationship isn't perfect, but I see more potential than I used to.
Since the surgery and the complication that arose from it, I'm starting to view my mother differently. I imagine my life without her in it, and I can't see it.
The gaping hole in the tapestry of my life that would exist if I lost her C"V is too raw to exist. Its ragged edges tear at me as I reflect on how badly I've treated her in the past. How casually I treated her, how little I appreciated her.
She loves me like no one else in the world can. She waited for me for so many years, bore me for 9 pain-filled months, delivered me through hours of labor, and this is how I've been treating her?? What's wrong with me? Where is my hakaras hatov?
But now that I almost lost her, I can see things more clearly.
I can see her love for me even when she's at her most annoying. I can see that the things about her that most grate on my nerves are really just her way of expressing that love.
And I can see my love for her and draw on it so I can be the daughter she needs me to be at this critical time.
So, what is it about almost losing someone that brings out how important they are to you? It's the shift in your view of the world – a world without that person – and the realization that it's a much better place with them in it.