***Note to family members***
You may want to walk away right now and come back later. If you choose to stay, get a box of tissues and settle in. Don't say I didn't warn you.***
Recently I spoke of Thistle's challenge to us all to remember to give back, lend a helping hand this holiday season. I loved this idea. While every year I have good intentions of doing something special, the reality is that I usually get so bogged down with my Christmas to do list caught
up in the excitement that I never seem to find the time to accomplish that particular goal.
It's been almost five years now since my beloved mother, Lucy, passed. I miss her more everyday and even after five years will find myself in a puddle at the most inopportune times because of something said that brings back a cherished memory or just a thought that goes through my befuddled head. This tends to leave grocery cashiers, business colleagues, even family members staring at me with the bewilderment and a "What did I do?" look on their face. My Harley Stud has become accustomed to these episodes. While he still initially gets that dear in the headlights look worried that he's in trouble for something again, after a second the lightbulb goes on in his head and he just nods and gives me a hug. This sometimes results in tears in his eyes too. (But don't ever tell him that I told you that because I'll just lie and say I didn't.)
There are so many things I want to say but let's face it, neither you nor I have a lot of extra time right now and the last thing we all want to see is a really long, rambling blog post. Sorry, just sayin'…….. So, I will try to keep this brief. I have been putting off writing this post because even now as I write, the tears are flowing. But today is my birthday. And I can think of no better way to celebrate the anniversary of my birth than to honor the woman who made it all possible. Well, I'm pretty sure Daddy had something to do with it too. *wink*
Lucy died from colon cancer. It was a long battle. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Or any day. There came a time when Lucy's pain became so unbearable it was not possible to manage her care at home. She had the good fortune to be admitted to the Hospice Care Center in North Florida. The care given at this facility was so far and away above anything I have come to expect in the medical field that it would be impossible for me to convey just how much I think of this facility and its staff. Let it suffice to say for now that the people who choose to work for Hospice are a special kind of people and they are the cream of the crop. It is not an easy job that they do and yet they perform their duties in the most efficient, professional and compassionate way imaginable.
I have wanted to find a way to express my gratitude to Hospice since we lost Lucy. The problem has been that I just didn't think I could follow through without falling apart. And since the idea is to give back to them and not to have them comforting me in my puddle, I just keep letting it go. So when Thistle put her challenge out to bloggersville showing that together we can make a difference on a much larger scale, I knew just what I wanted to do.
The plan has two parts:
The first part is pretty easy. I feel confident that I can accomplish this task with little or dare I be optimistic and say no tears. I've been posting recipes of my traditional Christmas treats that I give out every year. I am going to make and take trays of treats to the local Hospice Care Center for the staff to enjoy. Our local center is not the one where Lucy stayed but they do great work there. And I have a plan in the works to visit the center in North Florida during the coming year as well.
The second part could prove to be a LOT little more difficult emotionally. I plan to inquire if there are any patients or patient family members residing in the center who do not receive visitors. And then go visit. I may offer to read to them, just sit and visit, or I could bring my toy microphone and sing Christmas carols. (I kid, I kid, I know that no one wants to hear me sing.) D2 has offered to go with me. That should make things a little easier. D1 won't be home yet at the time we are planning to go.
This particular part of the project is very close to my heart. During the time that Lucy was in the Hospice Care Center, Daddy and I became residents there too. We ate, slept, showered and I worked there (at my job remotely-not for Hospice)from Oct 31st of that year until late January of the next year. I can't begin to tell you how important visitors were to our sanity. And we were so very blessed to have visitors EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Without them, I would probably still require medication five years later. I mean there is only so much Animal Planet (Lucy's preference for tv watching during that time) you can watch. My parents had neighbors and friends from church and around the lake that would come every day. We had relatives fly in from all over the country. My entire office including my boss came at different times. My in-laws drove four hours to visit with us. I had friends who made the long drive up just to let us know how much we were loved. It is a testament to how great a person Lucy was that so many made it a priority to take the time to be there with us when we needed them so badly. We laughed and carried on like you wouldn't believe. We were embraced with a love that is so big that it is still so hard to put into words.
I know that not every patient and patient family is as fortunate to have the type of support that we had during that very difficult time. For whatever the reason many are left alone for this journey. Daddy has since remarried a wonderful lady who I call Daisy here in my blog. Oddly enough, Daisy was going through the same battle with her husband's colon cancer at the same time just a few miles away from us. Daisy had the support of Hospice care givers but did not have the support system that we were blessed with. It is Daisy's story and the idea that there are many others that haunts me. It is a very small gesture but if I can make even a small difference to one or two or three, it would mean the world to me. And of course more importantly, it will hopefully make a difference to them. I mean who wouldn't want a visit from a Smart Mouth Broad, right? I'm blogging about it because if there is a reader out there who reads this and feels so inclined to join me in my mission or create a mission of your own, I want to encourage you to do so.
These contributions are small, I know. But I hope to be able to continue throughout the year and not just during this Christmas season. I would love to hear about it if you are doing something to give back to your community or globally. Some people prefer to keep their contributions confidential and I respect that. Me, I'm a bit of a blabber mouth but hope that maybe I might be an inspiration to others to do something that is meaningful to them.
Together we can GO MAD. Make A Difference!
I know I said I was going to try to keep this brief. Once I got started, I just couldn't shut up. (Big SURPRISE!) Sorry. And thanks for taking the time to read this self-indulging therapy session.