1ooo Voices for Compassion is a group I recently joined. A 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Beautiful, Connie, about three generations of compassionate, loving and vibrant women who live unconditional love every day. Blessings to your mom, and to you and your daughter as you journey forward.
Thanks Cathy, as hard as this past weekend has been, it has been filled with blessings too.
To my Friend Connie, First, I’m so sorry for this turn for your Mom. I will continue to send prayers for peace and love to all of you. Like Jimmie Dee, I love to hear her “wild woman stories”! Secondly, I’m so grateful for you, your friendship and your special spirituality. Thank you for being a part of my life for the last 20 years!
Kimberly Crespo| Senior Director, Corporate Accounts | Emprint/Moran Printing, Inc.
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Kim, you know how special you are to me too. You also know about having a southern belle mother. A glass of wine with friends is always a good thing.
Both you and your mom embody the best of Southern women. Strong, feisty and loving. This is a sacred time for all of you– and I am sending love and blessings for the journey. Big hug, my friend.
It is a sacred time. Writing this post was a form of therapy for me. I know you can see pieces of our conversation from this weekend in it. After we talked I was able to finish what I wanted to express. I look forward to getting together this week with you.
Beautifully written, Connie. Your love and sadness radiate through your words. Keeping you and your feisty mom in my prayers.
Thanks Helene, it’s been an emotional roller coaster, but we are both doing fine today.
Amazing how all those “little things” are what make up the big things. How lovely that you are able to be in the moments, Connie, wishing you strength and continued love.
Mother Teresa’s words, “do little things with great love” are what inspired me this weekend. Thanks for you kind comment.
This is such a beautiful piece and I plan to come back later and read all of the stories of your mother. I do the same thing on my blog and include stories of my mother’s life. She has Alzheimer’s and I am her caretaker. I’m sorry that you are going through this and I will be saying prayers for your family.
Rena, the suddenness of my Mom’s dementia has surprised us all. It started at Christmas. She still has many lucid periods of time and she still knows who everyone is. Well, except for the time she thought i was Barbara Walters, but I’m good with that! Blessing to you, it is difficult being a caretaker.
I have no doubt how challenging this must be for you, Connie, but you write about it with such love, strength, and sensibility. So important this: “We have both been able to tell my mom how much we love her. Nothing has been left unsaid.” I look forward to more “wild woman” stories about your amazing mother. She and her amazing daughter and granddaughter will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Lisa, the weekend was not without humor, even if it was dark humor. Her wild woman spirit still breaks through. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
I’m so touched by what you’ve shared with all of us. And I’m laughing and crying at the same time. So many memories are flooding my soul…so much gratitude for your courage to write.
Thanks Judy, it was very therapeutic for me to get this into words.
Thanks for sharing. Many of us aren’t ready to face this, but it’s encouraging to know that it can also be a time of great sharing, warmth, and compassion.
Pennie, we are never ready to face this. What has surprised me was how much energy I received from so much love and compassion. I have received so many divine gifts this weekend. I am very grateful.
You are giving your mother – and your daughter – something of such great value – an example of pure love and devotion. I hope your experience with your mother is mostly peaceful and painless.
Thank you Sharon
Connie, this article touched me. I’ve lost my mom and my grandma and miss them terribly. I’m also a big Mother Teresa fan. Bless you and yours on this goodbye-journey. It’s a hard one. Hugs, Teresa from NanaHood.com
Hugs back to you Teresa.
I lost my own mother two years ago and I still haven’t worked out all the grieving. From others’ experiences, I might not ever work it out. But the memories I have from being with her during her periods of Sundowner’s Syndrome, being able to pray with her and care for her, are precious ones. Her last lucid words were to me, when she said “I love you Pam” – just as clear and bright as ever. I believe it took superior effort on her part; I believe she knew her end was nearer than I could see or accept. God bless you and yours. Take care.
Pam, I’m sorry you’re still working out your grief. I’m am grateful that even as Mom’s memory is fading she still knows everyone. Thanks for your comment and we still need to connect IRL either in Mobile or NOLA.
What a beautiful post! It brought me to tears.
I’m sorry your mother’s health has deteriorated and it looks like she is very loved by everyone around her. I hope that you and your daughter will be able to enjoy and cherish these moments with her despite the pain and struggles around you. My prayers are with you and your mom. Hugs 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind comment.
Connie, I wish you strength on this journey. It is beautiful that you can embrace your vulnerability and accept the support that is being offered to both your mother and your family. My mother was in hospice care these past 7 months, and passed away a week ago. She had moved from my home, to a nursing home, and to a hospice hospital. It was a painful, heartbreaking journey but we did have some wonderful support.
I’m so sorry for your loss. This is indeed a hard time, but I’ve been surprised by how it is also filled with blessings.
I think a good long howl is needed for you wild woman! Your gift of sharing your triumphs, sadness, love, and compassion is so uplifting. You know I am here for you in this particularly sad but bittersweet time. Cherish the time as I know you will. My brother is a hospice caregiver as I think you know. Love you my friend.
Love you too.
This is beautiful, Connie, and I’m so glad that your mom was alright this time. What a beautiful way to end the day when you’d had such a scare, and how lovely the hospice sounds 🙂
Thanks for your thoughtful comment
Hi Connie…I walked the journey of hospice with both of my parents and you are so right that they are a perfect example of compassion in action in most every case. They do indeed make the journey easier for everyone and I’ve even read that those who enter hospice early actually live longer than those who wait until there is no other choice. Enjoy your time with your mother, it passes quickly and you will be glad you did. And what a great story to share for #1000speak. ~Kathy
Thanks for your comment Kathy. It’s a difficult time, but I’m able to find the gifts it brings me and treasure those moments.
Connie I love the description of your mother. She sounds as though there are a lot of stories to tell. Thank you for sharing with us the compassion you have received, also the compassion you have given.
Thanks Donna. She has been a wild woman. That spirit lives on in her hallucinations, where she is powerful and ordering people around.
This is such a lovely personal post honoring your parent. Your mother sounds like such a wonderful person. And, I love the photos of your lineage!
Thank you, I love and honor the generational connection I have to the mothers who have come before me.
This is a beautiful post and a lovely way to honour your mother and your relationship with her and your daughters to you and her. Spending time together – all those many tiny moments – so important. Just being there is what matters.
And I love stories of maternal lineage – we have a antique China Dog we have passed from mother to eldest daughter in my family for over 200 years along with (some) of the stories of the women. I love that I will pass that to my daughter to hopefully pass on. I shall spend a bit of time surfing your blog.
So sorry to hear about your Mum. When my grandmother lost her mother in her 70s or 80s she got very upset with people asking how old she was as if that someone mitigated her grief. She said it didn’t matter how old she was. Her mother was her mother!! Your relationship with your mum sounds similarly close.
I was interested to see how you trace your family tree back along the maternal line the same way I have and I’ve never come across someone else doing that before. I’m a bit of a feminist and have only half changed my name after getting married and I was on the local Status of Women Committee for a few years. My maternal line goes back to some unpronounceable village in Poland and she seemed to get married aged 12 unless I’ve made a mistake.
I have submitted a post on compassion fatigue: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/compassion-fatigue-a-light-bulb-moment/
Rowena, thanks for stopping by. Several years ago I took a class on the divine feminine, called Cakes for the Queen of Heaven. We honored our female linage at the beginning of every class this way. When I post a vintage recipe of my grandmother’s, I’ll sign off my post that way too. I felt this story of my mom needed that maternal genetic connection. I have not read this book, but it looks like it describes the class: http://www.amazon.com/Cakes-Queen-Heaven-Exploration-Present/dp/0595388566
Thank you for that Connie. I’ll have to check it out. I’ll have to check out your recipes. I’m currently doing a project to teach my kids how to cook and I love those really old passed down family recipes and vintage cookbooks. I have some belonging to my great grandmothers etc which I really treasure. xx Rowena