Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Walking into her room yesterday, I looked at the white board. The usual information was there: Doctor, nurse, tech, my name and number, along with my sister's and aunt's. In addition, three items were lined up and surrounded by a hand-drawn box: MRI, Neurologist, PT. MRI indicated the test that she was to undergo that day; the neurologist was scheduled to examine her; and PT referred to physical therapy.

Under the heading goal was "Get up." "A goal," Mom said, "is better than no goal. You have to have a goal."

An enormous goal for a woman who has suffered strokes.

But she is used to beating the odds.

After completing chemotherapy in 2006, my mom was so weak that she ended up in a nursing home. As my sister and I drove away after dropping her off, we both cried, sure that she would not come out.

We were wrong.

Months later, she moved into assisted living, then back home. Since then, she has been driving, going to bridge, participating in red hats and investment club, and counting the offerings at the church. She has watched her grandchildren at ballet performances, flag football games and holiday programs. She has visited my sister at the beach.

Yesterday, however, she did not meet her goals. Extra tests had taken up her time and her strength. But she is determined and does not give up.

As Kathy and I left the hospital last night, I thought about all the goals that I have made over my life that I have not yet achieved.

Then I reflected on all the twists and turns that life has thrown my way and realized that I have done the best I could with what I had at the time, realizing that while I might have to reschedule and rearrange, I would -- like my mom -- continue to persevere.

I have no doubt that today, when I walk into the hospital room, that "Get up" will be listed again under goals. My bet is that today she will reach her goal.

If not, then possibly the next. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.