Thursday, May 18, 2023

Let Me Tell You About My Mother

On my Mother's 78 birthday I want to share this essay I wrote back before Christmas and have been carrying around to share on this day. My Mother passed this morning and this is my tribute to her.

I want to tell you a little story about what my mother has been doing this week before Christmas. My mother is 77 years old and is an Iron Lady. She wears a brace on one leg but don't let that fool you. She knows forms of martial arts that have been lost to time but were practiced by the traditional Shumka Dancers for centuries. Look for the red boots. It's the last thing any evil Communist official ever saw before his death.

But that is besides the point. My mother is the classiest person I know. That is the way my Father described her - Magnificent. She is generous with her time and her council. People of her church call her when they want an honest assessment of their problems and issues. Or when they just want someone to gossip and bitch to. I get on her case about all that but I admire the advice she gives them.

She has learned to operate her IPAD to do most things the IPAD can do. She reads three books a week and this was a woman who never had any interests in reading novels until after my Father died.
She is an expert on the sport of Curling. All the players, all the events. All you need to ever know. She knows the game like an inner city black youth knows basketball. Today she watched last year's Brian championship just because she wanted to relive the moment when Gushue, her favorite player won his FIRST Canadian Championship after 13 tries. He also did it in front of his home town Newfoundland fans. It doesn't get any better than that. Everything came down to the LAST ROCK which is the way anything important should be settled.

She also loves the 'binge' watching. I blame myself for introducing her to commercial free TV but I have been bootlegging video for this woman since BETA tapes so my crimes as a video pirate go way, way back.

I once went to pick her up at the Nursing Home that she worked at. She worked in the Alzheimer's wing and educated herself totally about the health condition and kept up on all the latest research on what strategies worked best. She championed the idea of having cats on the ward because those cats knew when someone was near their end and would sit with them against their hand or arm. I saw someone die once while the cat was on the bed and it was like the cat was there to guide the soul over the bridge and protect the person until they were safely on the other side. I know that sounds stupid but was one of the most profound things I have ever seen

This is only one of a million things my mother has done to improve the lives of everyone around her. I once saw her comfort a distraught family member who thought they didn't do enough for their parent. I saw a different person in my Mother that day and as an angry teen was a little bit pissed because why did I NEVER hear such comforting words and I am the woman's only son? In her defense I am kinda a difficult human to be around on my best day. I am the most unlovable person on the planet yet she still finds love and hope for me. Let's just say that no one knows how to handle me and save me like my Mother does. Which is the way it should be.

So this week a guy from her church phoned her and asked if she could check in on an older member of the church who he usually looks after. He was going on vacation over Christmas and needed someone to look out. My Mom said sure and got some of her friends involved to help. When she saw how terrible this guy's life was (he is in his late 80s and had dementia) she just couldn't walk away until something was done to fix the problem. She is never that person who can look the other way.

First she called Alberta Health Link and got a nurse to conference with her on the phone about what she could do for this guy whose care and supervision had been thrust upon her. When she went over to see this poor guy's living conditions she was appalled. It was dirty and all he had was a spoon to eat with. Who doesn't also have at least one fork and one knife?? No TV. Very few possessions or books and not even a TV? I am glad I didn't go with her. I tend to OVER react at these moments and just become another part of the problem. At this point I am screeching about how evil this whole situation is. Where is this guy's care worker? He certainly qualifies by his behavior alone. He roams his neighborhood at all hours and gets lost. Sometime he does wear footwear proper for the weather and sometimes he doesn't. Slippers in the snow. That kind of thing. He has dementia but not taking his meds because no one is there to make she he not only gets them but takes them on time everyday. That is INTOLERABLE to me in a country as rich as Canada.

Of course my mother find this out on her first visit. She makes sure he okay for night and THEN she goes to work.

First she calls an ambulance to have his assessed. She shows them the conditions he is living in. They agree with her that he needs this care so they spend the rest of the night with him in emergency waiting to see what the results will be. The paramedics are also heroes in this story too. They do the interventions at the person to person level.

Then my Mother gets him some food and hygiene supplies and talks to the caretaker of his building so that someone will look in on him so he doesn't just wander out. Then my Mom came home and started her MIND FILE of everything she saw and experienced that day. Now remember. She was just suppose to look up on him every couple of days or so. When she saw the shape his life was in she couldn't just let it go. She had to fix them and get him to a place where he can live out the rest of his life with some dignity and comfort. Not confusion.

Today she brought her friend from church to get her opinion of everything. They brought breakfast for him from McDonald's. Then the two old women called paramedics to have this old guy evaluated medically and see what his records show, who is doctor was and what kind of meds he should be taking. Ones he not taking now. I guess the two medics that showed up were great and totally bought into my mother's idea to maybe try to get this guy a temp placement until after Christmas when we can get more people involved in his daily care. After all, he does attend my Mother's church. He's one of theirs and the priest should be involved in helping one of his flock but apparently this 'holy man' got better things to do. I wish I could have one of my little 'chats' with this 'man of God' but I promised her I wouldn't do that anymore because I have a tendency to make grown men cry when I do that. You have no idea how hard that is for me to just let him slide. I have ZERO patience with people charged with a duty that they shirk...that this useless 'holy man' is doing.

So for the past 9 hours the same paramedics have been sitting with our guy in emergency waiting for a doctor to do an medical evaluation. That seems like a long time and bless those paramedics for not just dumping this off on someone else. My Mom phoned them for an update and they told her that they had to follow through on what my Mother had started. This case was special.

So that is how my Mother is spending her time before Christmas. We usually get presents for each other after Christmas because since my Dad died I can't do the Holidays anymore. But I want this letter to be my present to her this year. I will shop for her after all the craziness dies down and she likes it that way too.

My Mother is an amazing person with an amazing heart who walks the talk and has a gift for making others see the rightness of getting involved. She is on the side of kindness and humanity and raised a son that for all his faults would die to champion those same values.

I love and admire her for what she is doing because I already know the end result. I have seen it all my life. At the end through her efforts and kindness this old man will be in a much better place. Without even saying it she will be the example those who dropped the ball need to see.

You can never save the whole world but if you make life better for just one other person than maybe you have done something meaningful and important with you life. If everyone just helped one person then maybe the world would be a must better place.

She saw a need and she is going to fix the problem.

That is MY Mother. That is why I love her.

Update - The man was admitted to the hospital where he stayed for five months. He got his meds and proper care and his life flourished. He loved it and so did everyone at the hospital. He now is in a great nursing home that my Mother says is so good she wants to move in there herself.

Told you the story had a happy ending.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

This is a lovely tribute to her, Calvin. I am so sorry to hear of her passing.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

So sorry to learn of your Mom's passing, Cal. What a beautiful tribute you have written to her, and so wonderful that you shared it with her at Christmas. Your Mom was a truly compassionate woman who cared for others and I'm sure will be greatly missed by you, your family, her friends and all who knew her. My condolences to all.

Count Robot said...

Sorry for your loss. She sounds like a great person. Thank you for sharing this story.

Tundra Bunny said...

Your Mom sounds like a fierce and fearless woman! I'm sure she will be missed by all those who knew and loved her. My condolences to you, Cal.

csmith2884 said...

Sorry for your loss, my friend. Iron Lady indeed I remember many stories of her in this archive and many make me happy you shared her with us.

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