Do Little Things with Great Love

2 02 2015

1ooo Voices for Compassion is a group I recently joined. 1000voicesA bunch of writers plan to write about compassion and caring to help make the world a better place. Little did I know when I signed up that it would be me writing about being compassion’s recipient.

compassion

My Mom was just accepted into hospice care. In the last two months my 86-year-old Mom’s mind has become as frail and fragile as her body. She lives in a nursing home and is well cared for. Hospice will provide another level of care. She’s been a drama queen and southern belle—a dangerous combination—who’s been feisty and smart, had a great sassy sense of style, and a wicked sense of humor. She now drifts in and out of lucid moments. In her hallucinations she is powerful, in charge, directing unseen people and telling them what to do. Her phone had to be unplugged last week because she called 911 from her bedside phone and told them she was being held hostage. I understand that in a way she is being held hostage by a body and mind that won’t act like she wants it to.

Morning
I was in the middle of an intensely busy workday when I got the call that Mom’s health had taken a sudden turn for the worse. I work for a woman’s specialty hospital; it is a compassionate place not only for patients, but also for employees. I was told to go be with my mother. I’m grateful that I work for an organization that at its very core understands the importance of family.

I was expecting a quiet day spent at Mom’s bedside. I knew what she needed most was my presence. What was unexpected was the flood of love and compassion that washed over both of us throughout the day. Not only did family come to visit, but also mom’s nurses, aides, social workers, administrators, and even the beautician came by to check on her. I got a tight hug from everyone whose life has been touched by Mom and they wanted to check on me too. I’m use to being the strong one and the decision maker. The concern for me left me tearful. I knew that I was being sent divine gifts and I embraced my tears and vulnerability with every hug I received.

Afternoon
I met with hospice after Mom’s nurses suggested a consult. The hospice nurse spent time going over the details of what hospice care is. I’ve always heard great things about hospice, but I was astounded to learn how much they also care for the patient’s family. I did not know they were there for me as well as my parent. The two nurses I met were the embodiment of warmth and compassion, even their voices were gentle and calming. They treated me as tenderly with their questions as they treated Mom when they examined her.

Evening
My daughter and her cat were boomeranging back home from living across town during all this. She plans to save her money and take off to follow her dreams in a few months. Between transporting carloads of stuff from apartment to home, she would stop to check on her Nana and me. We are both only children and both have close mother/daughter bonds. We have both been able to tell my mom how much we love her. Nothing has been left unsaid.

My daughter and I both realize that the next few months will be a special time for three generations to connect as we all transition to new chapters in our different, yet connected journeys.

By the end of the day, I knew that the time for my mom’s exit had not come. Mom was center stage yet again, surrounded by an audience telling her how much they loved her. She is not yet ready to leave the stage.

The Following Day
Mother Teresa said, ‘’do little things with great love.” Mom is feeling stronger and is more lucid today. She loves when I write about her on my blog. She takes great delight in hearing her own wild woman stories and she loves everyone’s comments. I’m going to read to her the stories of her life. It’s a small thing, but it’ll be done with great love.

Mothers and daughters, our maternal lineage

I honor my maternal lineage: I am Connie Lee, daughter of Jimmie Dee, daughter of Jimmie Corrine, daughter of Minnie Mae; mother of Jade Lee-Mei.

More Mom Stories
Wild Woman
Going Blond
A Mother Moment
Maw Maw’s Naked Lady Bowls
The Sandwich Generation

Today many writers, videographers and artists have created their own stories of compassion and are using #1000Speak to spread the word. You also can click on the link here and read what others have to say. 





Transitions

1 01 2015
Three Generations (I love mom making a silly face)

Three Generations (I love mom making a silly face). Spring 2014

I’ve seen the abundance of New Year’s resolutions and nonresolutions floating around social media. The idea that resonated with me was to pick one word for your New Year. On this grey and cold January morning I pick the word Transitions.

I spent a rare New Year’s Eve with my 24-year-old baby girl. My sweetheart fell asleep early and that left my daughter and me deep in talk as one year transitioned to another. In sparkly hats and glasses of wine, we talked of her childhood, of her teen years when her father and I divorced. She and I talked of the uniqueness that we are both only children and how close that makes us since we don’t have siblings to remember our lives with. We talked honestly of her grandmother, who is slowly slipping away from us. My daughter told me that watching me with my mom has taught her how to be a daughter.

We’ve watched my mom grow frailer over the last year with three different visits to the hospital. But it’s just over the last few weeks that her mind has slipped away along with her strength. We knew when she told us that her 90-year-old boyfriend was building something with batteries that she thought was a bomb—it was his hearing aid—that something had fundamentally changed in her mental state.

It was just a few weeks ago that she told me how much she appreciated me and how important it was to her that I was always honest with her and was always there for her. I grew up with unconditional love from both my parents. Our roles shifted after my father died and I became my mom’s caregiver. Her compliments became rare and there was often a bite in her conversation to me. I took her compliment as the gift it was.

My baby girl is going to boomerang home next month. She’s determined to save all her pennies and take off to Chicago this summer. I support and even encourage her following her dreams, just as my parents did for me when I flew out of the nest.

I will hold this last holiday season tightly to my heart, all of us together enjoying each other’s company. I will find the gifts the universe sends in the transitions the New Year will bring to my life. I will also allow myself to grieve for things that are no more. I know there will be bumps in my 2015 journey and I also know there will be unexpected gifts.

Joy will always shine out. Happy New Year.

 Here’s the bloghop that inspired this post. Click here to check it out.