Please excuse a moment of self-indulgence...

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My mother died yesterday. She was 89 years old and had been completely bedridden for almost the last 4. A widow since my dad passed in 1991, she suffered a severe stroke back in 2003. At the time, the doctors gave her little chance but she pulled through and we found her a nursing home near where she lived, so that her friends could visit.

Four years in, and possibly because of a few too many changes of staff, or her friends in the home passing one at a time - I don't really know the reason - she grew increasingly listless and it became clear that she was rapidly declining. So I took her out of the nursing home and brought her to live with me and I've been caring for her since April 2007. One of the advantages of working from home.

Although extremely limited both in movement and communication and with fast fading eyesight, her spirits remained high right up to the end - never complaining and always ready with a smile that would light up the room. One of the very few phrases she'd usually be able to articulate was "thank you" and she made good use of it. Her generosity of character has given me such inspiration throughout my life.

I'm rationalising now that if I were given the option of another 8 years with her when she was lying in that hospital bed in 2003, I'd have snapped it up; so I have to be satisfied with how things turned out.

And I feel enormously privileged that I happened to be the most important man in her life for the last 20 years. She's been the most important person in mine for a lot longer.

Anyways, that's more than enough self-indulgence for now. Thanks for reading; I'm grateful for the opportunity to unburden these thoughts here at my favourite online hangout.


  • Profile picture of the author LeeLee
    { { { { {Frank } } }

    Many of us are facing our parents' mortality. It is difficult. Your ability to have you mother at home is indeed a blessing.
    The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. ~ Lin Yutang
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  • Profile picture of the author Roaddog
    My sincere condolences Frank.

    It helps to say something to someone here there or I have found out.

    Again, sorry for your loss.

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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton

      Sorry for your loss. At the same time, it's admirable that your mum was so bright and positive right up to the end.

      When my dad died a few years back, we made the funeral a celebration of his life - played his favourite songs, told some of his funny stories, made a mock-up "Ripping Yarns" newspaper of his life and times (sample story: when he was a schoolboy in a classroom overlooking Old Trafford and we were struggling against the Aussies he shouted, "Bring on Jim Laker!" . . . and the rest is history :-)

      The funeral director told us it was the 'best' funeral he'd ever attended.

      Not saying this is necessarily the right way to go with your mum, but from what you have written about her there seems to be a lot of joy among the sadness. For us, the celebration helped the mourning in a weird kind of way, and for people who didn't know him to say, "I wish I had met him" made us feel we got it right.

      Take care. My thoughts are with you.

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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    My sympathies go out to you, Frank. It's never easy losing a parent. I'll keep you in my thoughts this weekend.

    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    My thoughts are with you Frank. Sometimes just knowing you have friends helps. And you do have friends here.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
    I am so sorry for your loss Frank.

    How truly blessed you and your Mom both were to have eachother.

    My thoughts will be with you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Lee, Jim, Dennis, Kim, Jacqueline, thanks so much for your kind words. Really appreciated.

      Martin, thanks again for your PM
      TOP TIP: To browse the forum like a Pro, select "View Classic" from the drop-down menu under your user name.

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      • Profile picture of the author pickthat apple
        Hi Frank,

        I think that to be lovingly taken care of by your own son, for the last few years of your life, is the best end that a mother can wish for.

        Surelly you made her life longer and happier.

        God Bless you both.
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  • Profile picture of the author Deveron Hilgers
    I'm sorry for your loss, I know what it feels like to lose someone very near to you, it's terrible.
    It feels good to talk to other people about it, even if it's hard at times.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
    My condolences to you Frank. She sounds like she was an incredible mom and person.

    I had me one of those too. Passed 4 years ago so I feel what you're going through.

    You and your mom are in my prayers.


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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    My condolences to you also Frank. My mother passed away a few weeks ago after a bout of alzheimers.

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  • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
    Sorry for your loss Frank and as a mother thank you for stepping up to be the man in her life during her time of need. What a wonderful thing that says about you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Suellen Reitz
    Your message really touched my heart, so much so, that I had to fight back a tear as the lump in my throat refused to go away....

    It is rare to see such an outpouring of love in today's world. So many times we are "too busy" to care. Or we plan to do something... but somehow, never get around to it....

    I see so many people put their parents off in a home where they will be properly cared for ... not realizing it's love they need the most. Don't get me wrong. I fully understand that many are not capable to do what Frank has done... either financially, physically, or possibly simply the space available within the home. But when the option to do more is a viable alternative... it is so special when done.

    Thank you Frank for sharing.

    I lost my aunt who was like a mother to me last year to a battle with cancer. She too was a fighter and it wasn't until the last few days that she resigned herself to accepting her fate. I had the privilege of being her care giver the last 3 months of her life. No she did not move in with me. I moved in with her and slept on her couch. (My home floor plan did not work with wheel chairs).

    We laughed and cried together and shared wonderful memories which I will always treasure. I am sure Frank, you too have great memories of your time together.

    The funny thing about Auntie... was she planned her funeral. Including singing at it! She had some tapes of some of her musical performances as solos. She wrote everything we were to say... and even told us not to wear black! She said... wear red! Well, red's not my best color. I chose purple... and I kind of modified her words a bit.... but for the most part... it was her final production... I know she was up in heaven critiquing it.... and when I get there... I'll probably have some explaining to do on the slight "edits".... I can't wait to get her feedback!
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