Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Mommy

My mom just turned 62 on Sunday. She retired last February from a county run long term care home. She worked there for a good 20 years, busting her ass as a nurse’s aide, housekeeping, and finishing up in rehabilitation. 20 years of rotating shifts, working weekends and holidays, breaking her back lifting people into beds, and so on. Something that I’m too much of a big baby to do. In my honest opinion, it takes a very strong and very special kind of person to want to work in healthcare, especially working in the capacity that my mom worked in, dealing with people who are just pretty much waiting to die.

Soon after my mom retired she realized that she couldn’t sit at home with my dad all day or she’d be in one of those homes too, only the kind with padded rooms and straight jackets. So she got a job. It just so happened that a short way down the road from my parents house lived a woman who was 100 years old. I don’t know what you think, but living a century is pretty damn impressive, and the fact that you’re actually alive after so long is good enough. So this woman needed a little help. She had a full time staff of women who stayed with her. And my mom came out of retirement to help her.

My mom has a tendency to get pretty attached to the people she works with, and working so closely with this woman, a great relationship developed. So when the woman’s health started declining rapidly, my mom grew very concerned. A few weeks ago my mom told me that the woman wasn’t doing very good, she could no longer walk on her own. She was dying. My mom plainly said to me, “I hope she doesn’t die on me.”

On February 11th, my mom was working the morning shift and felt that this was going to be the day. She called the woman’s daughter and told her to come up because her mom was dying. The daughter got there in enough time to be able to sit with her mother and hold her hand while she passed away. Needless to say, my mom, who is very sensitive to begin with, was torn apart. Her heart was broken at the loss of this woman who had been a part of her life for almost a year. When I called her later in the day she could barely talk to me through her tears, and it killed me to hear my mom sound like that.

After having the last week off to recover, my mom is ready to fill the hole in her heart by finding someone new to take care of. She has some prospects already.

My mom is amazing.

This morning I was lying in bed with my daughter, looking at her little sleepy angel face, and I was so full of love for this girl that I was ready to burst. I thought to myself, “this is the way my mom loves me.”

My mom is my hero.

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