The minutes tick by, and are sped up at breakneck speed all at the same time.
Bedside sitting, attending to basic needs, transferring, washing, feeding, changing…and yes singing too.
These are a part of what is happening in this room.
Many deep and important conversations have been had during this span of 14 days.
I have met, and had the honor of working with extraordinary women, who I am “ blessed beyond measure” to serve with.
Fellow caregivers from Nigeria, and Jamaica, that have shared their lives with me.
We have sat together as the tv repeatedly shows the online death of George Floyd. We have listened, and watched the protests, and the tear gas, protesting, and sometimes rioting, and the anguish and unrest that people are exhibiting. It’s been an emotional waterfall, and a capsized boat, out of control sensation, of drowning, and being thrown a life saving floating ring of hope all mixed up like mashed potatoes and gravy.
We have discussed injustice, and hatred, misunderstandings, and the need for transformative change. We have listened to one another, and shared…I have listened. We have shared our thoughts…
I have seen the caring and loving hearts of women who are in a hard profession, and often times a thankless one. They do the heavy lifting and moving, and are often in later years dealing with lots of back and neck ailments, because transferring a fully grown human being from bed, to shower, and bed, and back again takes its tole on the human body.
When they walk in the door to my Mothers’ room where she is convalescing, they greet her with a broad smile, white gleaming teeth, a light in their eyes, and a cheery,
“ Hello Mrs. Hayhoe.”
She knows they are smiling behind their masks, because you can hear the smile in their voices.
Mum responds… She may not be able to see her caregivers clearly, but she knows care, and she knows kindness. It literally drips from their voices.. such a gift.
One caregiver “Chi Chi,” said very simply to me,
“ You should not go into this profession if you don’t love people.”
This intimate room is a place where we have shared our faith, and our love for Jesus. We have pondered scripture, we have sung together, and we have washed, and cleaned my Mother.
I will never forget this space in time, or regret these 2 weeks.
As a friend recently reminded me …
“ You are on sacred ground…”
It’s true… for lots of reasons…
I am in awe of these women. Their lives have been so different to mine.
Siya, who is from Nigeria, has come as a refugee with her children on a work visa, and wants to stay in Canada with everything in her. She wishes to continue to make her home here.
She keeps getting denied permanent residency. She fears she will be sent back to the country she left. She shares these concerns with me. I see the anguish in her eyes.. I want to help..
“ what can I do,” I ask her?
“ Can I write a letter of recommendation for you, would that help?”
It feels like such a lame question. What do I know? Not much…
Her eyes fill up with tears,
“ of course!” I respond. It’s the least I can do.
We have become friends. She has shared her life with me. It’s no small thing. It has been a privilege to hear her story. She has been through much. She is strong, hardworking, loving, smart, beautiful, and full of spunk. She has hopes and dreams, just like I do, and even though I come from a different world, right now our worlds collide. We are the same in this room, called to care for a woman who can no longer care for herself.
She is courageously seeking a better way and future for her children. Her son just won a scholarship. Both her son and daughter are gainfully employed. Siya opens up her phone, and shares with me, her son accepting his scholarship in a video. She is proud, and tears glisten, and escape rolling down her cheeks. She blushes with pride, and so she should.
Thank you for sharing that moment with me Siya.. I’m awestruck by your kind trust in me.
I am inspired as I hear their stories shared of where their lives have travelled.
I’ve only ever lived in Canada and the US.
What do I know of hardship?
Barbara can be found at my Mother’s bedside as I enter the room. Their hands are joined together. It brings a tear to my eye.
She tells me,
“ your Mother and I have had a bond for a long time, I love Mrs. Hay.”
Barbara loves my Mum, and my Mum loves her. It is evident. Mum counts on her. Barbara anticipates her every need, encourages her, and comforts her.. thank you Jesus, for Barbara..
Thank you for people who are willing to give so much of themselves for the comfort and dignity of other human beings.
It starts and ends with love. A love so immense that it sent the son of God, Jesus, to give up his life, and die on a cross for all people…every creed and nation. We are loved by an almighty God…
Love is… and always will be the answer… the way mountains are moved, transgressions are forgiven, and hope is found. Jesus was the sacrifice… on that Calvary cross… and He would do it again and again… and would still have hung between heaven and earth, darkness and light for just one soul.. that is a love worth knowing ❤️