My mother was clear and lucid enough to know (in the beginning), that her brain was starting to let her down. She lost her balance often, was unable to swallow properly, slurred her speech, and lost various fine motor skills that would cause her frustration when an object would repeatedly slip from her hand or a zipper fastener or seat belt got the better of her.
She stayed in a nursing home for 5 years with Dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease). She also, at this point, had suffered numerous small strokes. We discovered this through an MRI that revealed several lesions. Eventually, a final stroke was what ended her life. The doctor suggested that she had had them in her sleep and was unaware of her brain deterioration. I begged to differ.
It broke my heart to see her in that place. When I did enquire, it pained me to be informed that no one had been to visit her for weeks. Not. One. Person. We talked often on the phone until she could no longer finesse the proper way to hold it. I was hung up on numerous times because she would flip the phone upside down, so the receiver was at her mouth and the speaker was at her ear. She would assume no one was there.
The most devastating component of her deteriorating health was the lack of love and attention paid to her. Olive Devaud (the nursing home) was in Powell River and far away from most of her relatives and all of her friends. In the five years she was there, not one friend went to see her (they were aged as well), but there were rare visits from family. I offered to have her moved back to the coast, where I lived, to care for her. I did not have Power of Attorney and was vetoed.
A very explicit example of how powerful love can be, was the three days that my mom came to stay with me. I met her with excitement at the airport. I watched the flight attendant wheel her from the plane, in through the gates to the terminal. She was visibly pleased to be in the real world. Our three-day journey was just getting started. What unfolded was nothing short of “miraculous”.
When my mother arrived she was incontinent, she used a wheelchair/walker, and needed assistance eating, dressing, bathing, and using the washroom. She was in her early 80’s but looked 100 and vacant. It’s always in the eyes.
Within three days she walked steadily and sure, not using the walls or her walker. I stopped changing diapers because she was able to get to the washroom on time and on her own. She ate without assistance. I still helped her with buttons but she dressed herself. The difference – LOVE! We laughed – A LOT, dined together, went to church, went to the park, held hands and watched television, and most of all, just shared time together. She grew younger as her brain healed with the power of love. Just imagine: if she had stayed longer, she may have stayed longer. She is gone now but I haven’t forgotten all the times she showed me love when I needed it. I will forever cherish those three days.
heals physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
gives a sense of belonging and purpose.
is a heart-centered connection to another.
creates profound meaning in your life.
builds a foundation of safety and trust.
can light up a person, family, community.
heals the past.
changes your brain chemistry in positive, healing ways.
brings exponential rewards to everyone – makes you younger.
“So I will always lean my heart as close to your soul as I can.” ― Hafez
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