February 13, 2011


Thank you to Diminishing Lucy for this pretty guest post. 

My mother is sick again.

Liver. Eyes. Hips. Skin. Digestion. All failing.

Through the corridors of a beautiful and gracious red brick hospice, I run, from yet another visit with her, to race to my children.

They need me. I long for their purity and their energy, their warmth, their smiles, their sweet smell, and their love. I race in haste, to them, to the bell.

I am stopped by a lady named Val, her name badge tells me.

She is a volunteer, I believe. I have not seen her before.

She is elderly: older than my mother, I sadly realise.

But so vibrant and glowing. An aura of assured peace. So alert and wise are her eyes. She draws me to her, gentle, peaceful, but determined.

We talk. For as long as I can, I feel oblivious to time. The bell will not sound yet, I know.

I am enveloped in calm, in her empathy, the atmosphere of her. She is beautiful. For an elderly lady, her makeup immaculate. Her dress sense classic. She smells pretty. Perfect jasmine.

Talking to her, I feel the crackle of tense and toxic energy drain from me. Everything slows to a dreamlike pace. We are oblivious.

She encourages more from me than any other has elicited.

She is so kind, and I feel so refreshed. Her empathy and understanding, her perception, they feel omniscient.

You are the only one who is here to help. Let the anger go.

The solution will come, for you all.

Your mother, she makes these choices for herself.

She will be what she will be regardless of you. But you will still come. Still come here.

The children need you. Not her. Give yourself to them.

You need to write it all down. Write it down. Write it down. The pleasure and the pain, the history and the now: Write it down. It will bring peace.   

And so I start.

I was there again today. I looked out for Val. Her words and her grace and her kindness made me feel so… so rested last time. Safe. Understood.

I asked for her. I wanted to thank her.

I was met with curious looks.

No one named Val has worked or volunteered there since the 1969.