Mom Update: the philosophy of engagement

8 thoughts on “Mom Update: the philosophy of engagement”

  1. Once again, I’m so moved by your capturing this big experience of dying, of your dear mother winding down, and the challenges to her departure…the details, the minutia, the grand scheme of things, the linkages you bring to CONNECT ideas, universal experiences. Everything you say resonates and reminds. For my Mom, she had another fall on her 96th birthday while at a board meeting for the nursery school she’d helped start 40 years before (when we were living together!). It was the last damage to her knee and mobility, and the final 18 months ticked away; then she got a skin tear that never healed and MRSA arrived. Caregivers would rush her or admonish me to rush her to hospital, IV antibiotics, and then graduating to lower care of an “rehab” facility. Caregiving round the clock for all the basics, and the hard call of where to do that, who to substitute for what for generations was the main answer (and my family’s matriarchal culture, the assumption): a female relative cares for the loved one. The level of CARE we are able to deliver (with old relationship irritations and knots) vs who is available to hire, the level of compassion they possess innately, and what the almighty dollars will buy. Hands down: I observed more assets hired better surrogates, and blood relatives were “freed” from the less pleasant caring for. The ECONOMICS of engagement and care in our culture are BIG divides. I found pockets of immigrant groups operating and referring within the circle they “held”; I found religious Christians gravitated to the work and care went with bible quotes; I found size, strength, brains, burden of their own hurt lives, and lives away from their own children entwined with complexity, then incessant cell phone behavior in those many “off-sorta” hours, the reach outs to ENGAGE with THEIR people–all of it tangled, and you bring it hurdling back with familiarity–intimate time, a time that was intense, far from ideal, and I saw myself as a warrior in hostile land doing battle for CARE, for engagement, for not giving up on my mom.
    Darling Gayle, as before, I am very GLAD you can be there as often as you are, and are watchful, loving, insightful, with gentle hands and soul, and you have built reserves of energy and kindness for this important work of loving departure. Bananas is a favorite game; I send you the little squares for LOVE.


    1. OMG, Melody! What you wrote just brought tears to my eyes, because I can totally feel what you went through, NOW, but I didn’t know THEN, and not sure I could have even begun to grasp, to understand the meaning of your words until NOW, when I am living them. Everything you wrote — so true. Thank you for being with me in this difficult time and in this mystery. Hugs to you across the continent. xoxo, g.


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