Although my mother and I love each other very much, our relationship was never an easy one. However, her illness has gifted us a closer and much more loving bond, we are constantly looking into each others eyes, I massage her legs, stroke her hands and face, she raises her face to me to be kissed all the time. All of these things are wonderful of course but what is the most heart lifting for me is the look on her face when I arrive, her whole face lights up and she gets very emotional, I always greet her with a loving embrace and kisses which we both enjoy. We communicate best by talking of the past, I involve myself with activities in the care home which include her also; baking, cooking, painting, charity walks, weekend events, anything that stimulates and engages her. I also take her for long walks to the park and to the supermarket and the local shop to buy her favourite mint ice-cream and occasionally we walk down to the local church.
Our relationship is so much more authentic, loving and caring. I feel that my mother really now sees me for the first time in my life and I in turn see her in a completely different way. I admire her for the great courage it must have taken to leave her small town in Italy to come to a country where she didn’t speak the language and probably knew nothing about other than there was work here. I appreciate so much of what she did that I took for granted, like the Italian birthday cakes she always made for me and the rest of the family, I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t receive a birthday cake from her, so I have now learned to bake the very same cake for her birthday and for family and friends.
This illness has enabled me to be more compassionate and patient, to be in the moment of each moment that I am with my mother, to love her completely and unconditionally and more importantly to be in acceptance of “what will be will be” and “it is what it is.” I always greet and communicate with the other residents of the care home and the carers who do an amazing job of taking good care of my mother, I have come to love them also, they are my mothers family now and it’s important to me that I show them the same respect that I was brought up to have for all my family members.