By Dianne Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality & Legislative Affairs
I recently came across this conversation with my mom in January 2012 which I had written down at the time, just after she had passed away in one of our SNFs. I wrote it down to capture her voice. The white page with black ink breathes her immortality and is a true treasure to me. Just like a buried light, it gifts me with her memory and I feel her presence, alive and well.
I offer this conversation to everyone to serve as an introduction to our new palliative care core service line. Being able to relive this moment is a powerful example of just how palliative care can Capture a voice in every breath of life. A voice can live long, ring in your ear as a reminder of warmth, of home, of direction, of comfort. The voice is a reminder not to forget, and to live…
January 9, 2012 – Had a good conversation with mom today . . .
I told her sorry that she had fallen and broke her ribs, that convalescing was tough; from there we may have discussed the rottenness of the disease [for she had Parkinson’s]. I just don’t know.
“Hello precious girl,” she said.
She reached out to hug me. I’m so glad she did.
“It is good being with you,” I said.
“It is good to see you,” she whispered.
“You look beautiful,” I said.
“Look at that pretty face,” she said to me. And then she admonished. “Fix your hair.” (She was always saying that).
Mom told me just how proud she was of me. It meant so much.
I prayed in God’s name and by His stripes she was healed across her body. . .
We studied each other twice like she had so much to tell me so I said, “there is so much going on in that head of yours which you just can’t say.” She knew . . . maybe she just knew.
“You’re the best mommy in the world,” I say, because she could barely speak.
“I love you,” she said with a deep guttural breath, like the gulp couldn’t get out of her way.
Why didn’t I take the time to lie down with her that Friday? Can I forgive myself?
“Hi mommy,” I say.
“Hi precious,” she would respond.
“Trust Me fully,” God says.
The vacancy in her eyes – so much to say, or nothing, or just peace, like her voice and thoughts couldn’t connect anymore.
I can’t pocket away the grief. I can’t put it in a closet. I can’t do anything with it.
But God knew. Together the 3 of us, dad, my sister, and I assembled the most amazing and beautiful package of love – dad doing his role, Linda hers, and me mine. Not one did more or less. We just did as God orchestrated from above. But God then who was she calling? (She passed with the phone in her hand).
I don’t think she wanted to die.
Did we give her up too soon?
I picked my home over visiting my mom too many times, or was it just rest after a long day?
I wish I could look upon her again-her sculpted face and red cherry hair.
Why didn’t I know she wanted grapefruit and oranges . . . I could have brought her some. . .
The grief I suppose takes one day at a time to process and God sweeps it away behind us as we release it to a new ecosystem of life and survival.
The silence feels good.
Hi Mommy. . .Hi Mommy, Hi Di . . .
She could reach out and touch my face because she could see it; I hope it was a light to her. I hope she knew how much I loved her.