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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Work Of Heart - Precious Memories 10


 She opens her arms to the poor 
and extends her hands to the needy.
                                                                                   Proverbs 31:20  NIV


My mom was a hard worker and instilled the importance of a strong work ethic in me.

She stayed busy from the time I woke up until I went to bed at night. She had her cup of coffee with her at all times, while she was ironing, hemming clothes, cleaning, mopping the floors.

I even remember her washing the walls.   Who washes the walls anymore? 

We were not wealthy by any means but what we had was kept clean. I remember my mom saying, “Soap and water don’t cost much.”   In other words, no matter your socioeconomic status, you can keep yourself presentable.

In my mind, she functioned on very little sleep. This would ring true in her later years, when she worked long hours as a nursing assistant.

Growing up, I remember her being up before my dad went to work, making his coffee. “The Star Spangled Banner’ played promptly at 5 am on the radio she had in the kitchen. I have no idea what station she was listening to. I just knew what time it was, based on that tune.

When I was sick and feverish, I remember the icy cold cloth she would place on my forehead and change dutifully when it became warm. I remember the feel of her cool hand on my cheek and forehead, when she thought I was asleep. Always hovering, checking on her baby, praying the fever had broken.

Whenever I smell “Vicks salve", it reminds me of my mom.  It's commonly known as "Vicks Vapo-Rub."   Just one more scent that smells like love.  

She would dutifully rub it on my back and chest, chasing away a cough and cold.

My mom loved her job, as a nurse’s assistant and provided private home care. She loved taking care of those in need, and would often work overtime, weekends, and holidays so her patients would be comfortable and their families would have a break. I still have some of the letters she received from the families she worked for, thanking her for the care she provided.

My mom took her job very personal. Her patients became her family. She went above and beyond what she was asked to do, and cared for some of her patients 12 to 15 years. My mom never quit a job or removed herself from a case, that I can remember.  She was dedicated, loyal, and trustworthy. The families she worked for knew their loved one was in good hands.

I remember many times, Mom receiving job offers and she had to turn them away, because she was already committed. She felt terrible when she had to turn a family down. She was in high demand, because word quickly spread and families began to seek her out.

She was the type of caregiver, that those of us who need caregivers DREAM about.  She was always on time, she always showed up, and she always went above and beyond.

If she would have been paid based on what she was truly worth, no one would have been able to afford her.  But she didn't just care for others based on the money - it was truly her calling and passion.

She retired well into her 70's when she could no longer physically handle the work.  Had her body of cooperated, I fully believe my mom would never have retired. She loved her job and her patients that much!

As I grew up and watched her work, my mom taught me to respect and esteem the elderly, and those who could not care for themselves. To be patient with them and love them.  She always reminded me that a gentle human touch, goes a long way.

Little did she know, she was preparing me for the journey ahead of us decades before we would take it.  Though I wasn't her only caregiver, I would need many of the lessons she had taught me.

As the tables began to turn, my mom needed patience, love, gentleness and understanding.

And so I began my own "work of heart", attempting to follow her example.

*The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother, who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.


Precious Memories Part 1 
Precious Memories Part 2
Precious Memories Part 3
Precious Memories Part 4 
Precious Memories Part 5
Precious Memories Part 6
Precious Memories Part 7 
Precious Memories Part 8 
Precious Memories Part 9

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