Rekindling her child within


Last year, at age 93, my mother had decided that she found no more joy in life.


Mother’s Day – what a celebration.

Last year, at age 93, my mother had decided that she found no more joy in life. The burden of being in her body was heavy. I flew to her bedside, imagining the worst.

Within days, I realized abandonment issues from childhood were very present in her mind. Both my parents were orphans; it was common in Europe back then.

Mother had an active life. She had been strong, powerful, productive, creative and could laugh at the worst twist of fate she encountered.

Today, despite her depression, she still found some humour about her distress. That’s the cure, I thought, but how to heal that emotional wound? To nurture that child within was my first step. She likes to have her hair brushed; I held her in my arms rocking her gently, massaged her frail body, rubbed her feet to stimulate circulation, held her hand for hours listening to her stories.

After weeks of this, her thoughts shifted to more positive ones and some troubling elements vanished completely. I kept holding a vision of her being at peace and content.

She still had difficulty imagining a future for herself: “At my age, she would say, life is behind me, only death is in front.” There is a big hurdle we have to jump, and how can I help her through that…?

I pondered on the quality of life at her age. Since she was no longer able to do much physically, she found no escape to her mental anguish. Yet her mind is what she beautifully uses – only her frame of reference was not serving her.

One day I felt inspired to string her along, weaving an extraordinary, imaginative journey. She responded  with humour and laughter. Every day following became an exercise in imagination, spinning dreams of comical realities. Her child within found renewed inspiration.

I wondered if it was all the attention or the power of the future through imagination, but her conversation became a lot more self-affirming. As Christmas approached, I decorated the house and prepared her favourite meals. She rejoiced in the sparkles and the candles, we revived the old songs, blending our voices in love and harmony.

When I left in January, I feared she would relapse into her abandonment feelings, but to my surprise a friend decided to pick up the torch and keeps showering her with the same nurturing a daughter would. What a miracle!

Yesterday, on the phone, mother said she enjoyed three hours on her balcony soaking up the sun and listening to the birds singing.

I am so filled with gratitude and so proud of mother. She found the strength within herself to reach for a new dream of sharing her humour with the beautiful ladies who provide care for her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Florence! You are my hero and always will be.

Maude Porchet, White Rock


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