It was my mother’s birthday. It was a cold, bleak winter’s day. I had put on a nice warm woolen skirt that my friend had given me which belonged to her mother. It was a bit big on the waist but was okay. I wore it to work. After school I rushed to buy some flowers to take to the cemetery before it closed.
When I arrived I was the only person there, and I quickly arranged the flowers on my parents’ grave. I stood back to admire the flowers and my thoughts turned toward my precious mother. It was starting to get dark, I felt sad as I walked back to my car. I remembered happier times on my mother’s birthday.
Suddenly I felt very cold, I thought to myself the temperature had plummeted. Then I looked down and saw that actually it was my skirt that had fallen down and I was standing in the cemetery in just my stockings with my skirt on the ground.
I started to laugh and laugh and laugh. Then I suddenly realised if anyone saw me in my stockings laughing so loud in the cemetery they would think I was having an ‘episode’ so I quickly put my skirt on and walked slowly to my car.
Then I noticed the security cameras. I raised my handbag to my face to save myself some embarrassment and walked faster to the car. I smiled to myself as I drove home as I remembered what my mother had said to me when I was young ….”Always wear a petticoat.”
Periods such as Christmas may be a stressful time for a lot of folks and this year things have once again been magnified by COVID.
There will be some people missing from Christmas Lunch/Dinner tables this year.
Unfortunately over the past 13 years my own family table has become increasingly spacious.
That’s the harsh reality of death and dying, it doesn’t take into account public holidays or religious occasions. Death’s calendar is not an Advent calendar and the countdown to the final day is not so clear-cut or accurate. We say to the families we work with in our inpatient units, if your loved one can’t go home for Christmas please feel free to bring a bit of home into our hospice for Christmas.
For some people it will mean that Christmas, New Years and other important milestones, might have to be brought forward as they may not be able to make it to the actual date, even though it is only a day away.
No presents can replace actual presence, but sometimes virtual is the best that we can do given the COVID-normal global situation we are living in.
Please take a moment to reflect on why we do, what we do in the practice of palliative care. It’s in order to help our fellow human beings. Decreasing suffering in all of its forms, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and familially/socially. That is what it is all about. We are here to support patients and their families through what may be some of their toughest times.
A continued work in progress.
Thank you all for reading.
Wishing y’all all the best for the festive season and a better 2022.