Kelli J Gavin
My mother passed away 5 ½ years ago from a rare form of liver cancer. She was only 67 years old and had so much life left in her. My mother was born in August of 1945. She loved her parents and siblings and went on to love her husband and my sister and I. When I say she loved, she loved fiercely, sometimes until it hurt. She loved those that were hard to love. She loved those were incapable of showing love in return. She loved people in her words and actions. She served others selflessly and never for the accolades. She knew that loving others was her gift. And she never planned on wasting it.
My mom lived in an assisted living facility last few years of her life. She had suffered from two nonosteoporotic breaks in her back and never fully recovered. She wasn’t able to care for herself or her home anymore. She used a walker the 3 years or so of her life. But the walker and her shuffling steps never slowed her down.
She would check in on each of the residents on her floor. She would make sure they woke up that morning, keep them company when they were ill. She would read to residents who no longer could see and watch television with those that desired company. She knew that she had all the time in the world each and every day to pour words of love and encouragement into those that needed it most. Some of the residents didn’t have visits from family. This made my mother’s heart ache. My sister and I visited her weekly. She couldn’t imagine not having someone to hug and talk to and to enjoy each others company.
A woman moved in who was struggling. She had been abused and neglected in the last facility where she stayed. She was mentally and physically exhausted and severely underweight. My mom knew she was a person that needed to be loved. My mother stole extra cookies to help her gain some weight back. She made sure to sign her up for the fun weekly activities that were held in the library and in the community room. She made sure that each Friday they could have their nails painted together and then enjoy a few games of bingo before dinner. Eventually, the woman’s smile returned. She spoke briefly of her challenges but knew that her life was turning around.
On the night my mother passed away, the woman approached me in the hall as I was leaving. I confirmed the end was near and that it was time to say goodbye. “Your mother is a saint! I don’t know what I will do without her!” Their goodbyes were simple. Only a hug and a few tears were shed. Saying goodbye to a treasured friend. I know this saint she spoke of. As I had the most amazing pleasure of 37 years of her in my life.
Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company. Look for Kelli’s first book of short stories and poems in 2019. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter, Writers Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, Hickory Stump, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Pleather Skin, Paper.Li, The New Ink Review, among others.
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin
Blog found at kellijgavin.blogspot.com