My mom is one of the most compassionate people I know, not in a gushy or weepy way, but in a very practical way. Right after high school she went to nursing school and became an RN. She took care of people her whole life.
By the time I was 3 she decided she should stop working and take care of her family, which she did very well. However, she never stopped doing things for others. She was a girl scout leader and belonged to the Jaycee‘s, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and was always doing things for neighbors as well as strangers. Sometimes I wondered how my parents knew so many people, and how they met these people who needed help.
By the time I was 14 she had decided to go back to work. She renewed her licence and went to work at the emergency room. Later she became a private duty nurse for several years, and after that she became a Hospice nurse. In order to do that she had to take special classes about death and caring for those who are dying and their families. I was amazed that she could do that type of work, and she did it for almost 20 years.
After retiring, she took a seasonal job as a camp nurse. I think she did that for about 10 years. Mom was a hard worker and always busy. When she wasn’t working her hobbies were gardening and making cards for people. She was a crafty person, doing paper crafts and stamping, even making paper, but her cards were the best. When I was younger she also did a lot of sewing and knitting, making my clothes and making afghans for everyone.
How did she have the time and energy I often ask myself? Everyone loved my mom because she was always serving others or helping in some way. My dad was a Mason and Mom belonged to Eastern Star, and they were very active with these groups from their late 40′s well into their 70′s. When I think of the life my mom & dad created together I think of beauty, goodness, love and compassion.
Now my dad has passed away and Mom (almost 80) has Alzheimer’s disease and severe osteoporosis. She is bent over and twisted, walks with a limp and has a great deal of difficulty making cards these days. Yet, she called this morning to ask me to tell my boys that she didn’t forget their birthdays, and that she is a little slow but she is working on their cards. She forgets a lot of things, and the cards might not make it to the mail, but she is still trying so hard to care for others.
In 2009 my brother hired a yard service for my mom’s garden out of fear that she would try to do too much herself. She had been getting some help for a few years but she would always go out and work in the garden too, even though It had become dangerous for her. The yard service did a great job and she was so happy with the result that she asked me to come and take pictures, so I did. The following year I made a collage for her birthday, hoping it would keep her happy through the winter and give her hope for the coming spring.
You never know how your garden will bloom, especially in New Hampshire, so I was glad I could preserve this memory for her. It was the least I could do for my mom, one of the most compassionate people I know.