Cradle To Grave

We all fit in there somewhere now don’t we?

Last Friday, my daughter, Shantel, and I, spent the morning volunteering at Maggie’s’ Place, laughing and playing with new-born babies and getting to know their moms, all of them trying to work together within a community house to pull  themselves up out of desperate situations and make a better life for themselves.

I love babies, all babies, but particularly new-born babies because they are so fresh and brand new with their whole life ahead of them yet to be explored. When I look at a new-born baby, I can’t help but think about what they will become. What path their life will take, what choices they will make, and how they will live those choices. I absolutely treasure the time I spend at Maggie’s Place. It renews my spirit in ways nothing else can and I look forward to going back every week.

On Monday and Wednesday’s, I visit with my mother, and the other residents of the Care Center where my mother lives. I treasure my time spent at the Care Center too, but for very different reasons. My main focus at the Care Center is to make sure my mother is being cared for properly and that she has everything she needs…but in doing that, I also get the opportunity to meet and get to know the other residents as well. I especially enjoy visiting with residents that seem to have no one paying much attention to them other than taking care of their basic daily needs…

I find it fascinating to listen to the stories the residents share with me about their lives. What they did, where they lived, if they were married or not, if they had children or not, what they believe in or not…

Today, my visit with my mother took many different twists and turns that gave me the opportunity to experience a range of emotions as I participated in several activities with my mother and some of the other residents, most of whom I know well from my weekly visits. Like Sherry, who is a retired school teacher. Sherry is just a few years older than I am but she suffered kidney failure and has to have treatments several times a week. Sherry is always cheerful, even when she really doesn’t feel well. She makes it her business to go around and visit residents in their room when she hears one of them are sick or actively in the dying process. When Sherry is feeling good, she makes herself in charge of maintaining a small library for all the residents to share.

Sherry started her library by getting people to donate used books and she created this little reading corner complete with arm chairs, a lamp, pretty pictures, and lots of magazines.

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That little reading corner grew into this little library that Sherry keeps in perfect order.

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Sherry even created a color coded legend so the residents can easily know what book is where. I love Sherry, but she wasn’t there today because she is in the hospital and is having surgery tomorrow for an ongoing medical issue. I will keep Sherry in my thoughts and prayers.

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When I walked into the Care Center this morning, I was greeted with this beautiful bulletin board that has all the activities for the month. As you can see they were really excited about Fat Tuesday and the residents were all excited to tell me about the party they had complete with snacks and lots and lots of Beads!

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Fat Tuesday very quickly moved to thoughts of Valentine’s Day and all the residents that wanted to participate were encouraged to make these little puppy’s holding a bouquet of red flowers.

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Then, because it has been so cold here in the beautiful Vally of the Sun…the residents were invited to create these adorable snowmen. Some residents, like Dora, who resides in the lock down unit, but comes out for activities, struggled to even place the cotton balls on the paper while others watched and tried to tell her to “hurry up”…there is definitely a “pecking order” within the Care Center among the residents.

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I spent some time talking with Dora and helping her with her project. I found her to be funny and delightful. She told me she just came to the Care Center yesterday (I know she has been there for a very long time) and asked me if I was going to be there long? I told her I was just visiting and she said “you look like you would be nice” I told her I try to be and she said “I hope you’ll be nice to everybody, including me”. I promised her I would. Then Dora asked me if I have fun doing what I do…I told her I have lots of fun even if I have to make my own fun…

On the other hand, some people at the Care Center are able to create beautiful water-color pictures like this completely free hand…

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This is Tori with my mother. Tori is the activity director of the Care Center and it is her job to make sure the residents have a variety of arts and crafts to do. Of course she runs bingo twice a day, and she drives the bus that takes the residents who are able to go out to lunches, gambling, Wal-Mart etc. My mother loves Tori and Tori says she loves my mother. Tori is lots of fun and I always enjoy visiting with her.

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At the end of my visit with my mother, I gave her the large red heart box that has Ghirardelli chocolates in it because that is her absolute favorite. Mom showed me the little pink heart box with her initial (V) on it that she made last week in arts/and crafts, then she gave me the little pink heart with the white lace heart behind it and told me she made it for me. The little pink heart says I love you, mom. I was touched. I thanked her and hugged her and then she asked me to push her to the Catholic Church Service which I did.

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Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent and of course Ashes would be distributed after the service. As other residents began coming in for the church service I told mom I had to go. She gave me a hug and said “don’t forget to get your ashes…. you know we all need all the help we can get”!

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As I walked out of the Care Center I thought to myself “cradle to grave and everything in between…isn’t life beautiful”!

Stay Tuned!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 00:48:45

    I so love and enjoy your posts about the care center. The elderly are so incredible and not enough people pay attention to them. You continue to amaze me! xoxo MORE!

    Reply

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