It was a challenging time but being there to help her though it was where I wanted to be. I moved to Ontario shortly afterward and only saw my Mother at least twice a year on visits after that.
That was until this past year. Her age and my surgeries made it impossible for either of us to travel.
I had last seen Mom in February of last year, in hospital. She never went back to her apartment after that hospital stay. She had a bad fall and it wasn't her first; she was moved to an assisted living home. I felt terrible not being there to help her adjust but with a large family there were plenty of siblings and their spouses to do that. My back, and especially my legs were so bad I was having difficulty walking. It was out of the question for me to travel in that condition. I knew it, but it didn't make it easy. It wasn't easy to miss a family wedding in July either, but there wasn't a choice. It was a hard year to stay away.
My mother being 88, with a large family calling and visiting her, she rarely called me. That doesn't mean we didn't talk. I called her often. That all changed throughout this ordeal, she didn't want me for feel left out so she called me faithfully and wouldn't go to bed until she did. So it became her time to help me though, as I had for her all those years ago.
Those phone calls became a chance for us to bridge the gap of the miles we couldn't cross. We laughed a lot and talked a lot about nothing, but it helped us both get on with what life had dealt us a his past year.
On my end, life circumstances left my daughter Jerri and I in the same city while I was recovering. She is a young woman now of 23, with a serious career and high aspirations. She lives in the city of Toronto and takes part in much of what's offered there. That is until I was there for six weeks straight. Her life became work and hospital, then work and rehab with me. It was one of those situations when you look at your child and realize the competent, compassionate adult they have become.
The same can be said for my youngest Meghan. She was travelling to see me on the weekends and infused a much needed breath of fresh air with emotional support. Her tips and talks helped keep all of us sane in the chaos.
Jerri arrived in Newfoundland for the last four days of my trip, it was wonderful to have her there with me and Mom. We had a wonderful time writing poems and playing games and chatting about life. Life is difficult at times and it is the circle of caring you have around you that gets you though. Caring for someone you love is a gift and not a burden and I like this quote I was given by a friend.
"Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard them as a drain on your energy." Chogyam Trunpa
I would add....if you truly give compassionately, you are infused with energy and not drained.