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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

A Daughter/Caregiver Recalls the Light in Her Mother’s Bedroom at Night…

Occasionally I like to showcase the writing of others on my blog, sometimes by name, sometimes anonymously. Here is a short piece by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. She was the primary caregiver for her mother in her final years. When she shared with me this excerpt from her journal, I was very moved by it. Maybe it was because I had cared for my mother too in her final years, and I could relate to many of the little details: her utter exhaustion… her mother’s great strength… the little things that bonded them—like a special spoon… her mother gripping her hand… Here is the excerpt from my friend’s journal:

“The Light in My Mother’s Room”

For years now my eighty-year-old mother has slept with the lamp light on in her room. She says she keeps it on because she wakes up frequently during the night, and she reads to fall back to sleep. I, on the other hand, prefer pure darkness during the night. Even though my room is down the hall, when my mother closes her door almost all the way—leaving just enough room for our cat to meander in and out on nocturnal visitations—the mere crack of light seems to illumine my entire room.

(Photo by Rachel Claire – Pexels)

But Mom was in the hospital this week, with pneumonia. Her battle with COPD makes this a more or less common occurrence throughout the year, and during these times I am always with her at her hospital bedside. But I could not be with her this time, for I was sick at home with bronchitis. I was too sick even to worry.

But Mom came home today. She looked small, a tad more frail. She came upstairs to rest, and we sat in her bed for a bit. She gripped my hand continually, which was unusual. She spoke with passion about what needs to be done in our society—with hospitals, health care, and the government. I laughed because even though she was recovering from what could have been her final illness on earth, she was able to fan those flames about all manner of current social issues.

Later, she slept very soundly in her darkened room with the one lamp on.

In the evening when she came down for some broth, I asked her which spoon she preferred. She fumbled through the drawer until she selected the small stainless brushed-steel one with the roses on the stem. She reminded me that I had bought the set for her years before when I was a teenager, and that I had saved up and spent a lot of money on them. And it was true. It was the biggest and most expensive thing that, as a teen, I had ever bought.

(Photo by jenvit keiwalinsarid – Pexels)

Now I lay in bed, and the light from my mother’s room shines and spills into mine… spills over and through and into and around. And it is a light whose power comes from some Great Wonderful Source. And I delight in it, am overawed by it, and feel the unfathomable power of this treasure called Life… and Time.


For reflection: Is there anything in this journal entry that stands out for you?

Have you ever been a caregiver for someone? If so, what were some of the challenges for you? What were some of the joys or graces for you?

Reread the final paragraph. What is the “light from my mother’s room”?

Our song today is called “A Caregiver.” The words were written by Jerry Carney who was the caregiver for his wife Lucille who passed away with dementia in 2018. The music was written by Ruth Davis. The song is sung here by Laura Williams.

I encourage you to write a comment below… I love hearing from you!

3 Responses

  1. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…This journal entry from the anonymous caregiver is deeply moving. The image of her mother’s lamp light at night, that’s what stays with me. There’s something holy and beautiful about it. I don’t know…like God’s light shining in the darkness or maybe that light we all have that say, “I’m still here.” Thank you so much for sharing this. The song is beautiful too. God bless!

  2. This was very timely for me. My two sisters and I spent several months last year caring for my mom who was dying from ALS. It was difficult in many ways – we all work full time and simply scheduling whose day it was took some doing. We had some help from an aid and hospice nurses but one of us was there most of the time. At the end Mom could barely speak and it was hard to interpret her wishes. It was sad to witness her decline. Even though she was almost 91 we didn’t want to let her go. There were blessings in this time however. Most of the grandchildren (adults) spent Sunday afternoons taking her for walks in her wheelchair. Mom was still the same person full of gratitude. Whether I was giving her medicine, making some soup, or helping bathe her she Always said thank you. She passed just a few days before Thanksgiving and her birthday. I was enormously grateful that I had been blessed with a wonderful faithful mother and it was a privilege to ok have that time caring for her.
    I’m still grieving but also feel her “light” with me.

  3. I can remember my. moms last three days. I stayed with her, while she was in hospice. She couldn’t breathe and would grasp for every breath…then stop and I was sure that was her last.
    On the third day, she stopped breathing. I took her hand and she finally opened her eyes. I told her to take the hand of .who was coming for her. She closed her eyes, smiled and took her final breath. There was finally a peace that came over her face. God had taken her home.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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