Health is wealth.

In Korean, it roughly translates to: 건강이 최고야.

A little over two weeks ago, my mother fell in the bathroom and hit her head against the edge of the sink.  The impact created a large gash, a trip to the emergency room in the early hours of a Sunday, and staples in her head.

Thumps and screams in the middle of the night generally do not result in positive outcomes.

My mother is one of the most reserved and stoic people in the world – she does not “chat.”  She orders, commands, criticizes – she does not waste words.  She expects her family to execute her statements.  

Like marriage.  She expected my brother and I to be married by now, but we are not. 

Instead, over the last two weeks, we probably have spent more time with my mother than we have in a long time.  My brother has taken over kitchen and laundry duties while I change the dressing over her staples in her head and check on the wound at least three times a day.  I help her take daily showers.   

Each evening, as I change her head dressing and make sure that she is tucked warmly in her favorite armchair, I chat daily with my mother, about nothing.  She reminisces without prompting about her late mother, her childhood, friends with whom she lost touch, and other general thoughts.

And in between, there would be long pauses.  Her hands would move over the blanket, and she would exhale deeply, as if she is trying to suppress a forgotten emotion.  

None of us know how long we have in this world, but we often forget to be grateful for the present.  My mother’s health is not perfect, but I am grateful that she can recover and that she is here with me.

I reach over to grasp her hand and squeeze it gently.

Health is wealth, and for however long we all have our health, we should treasure it, each other, and the present.

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