In 2012, I went looking for a job with my banking background. I attended a bank interview and was told I did very well, even beyond expectations, to make a very long story short, I did not get the job. The following day I encouraged myself and went to the labor office and found out there was an opening in a grocery store, so I went there, got interviewed, and got the job.
In 2013, I lost my mother after talking to her on the phone two days before the news of her passing got to me. I thought that was a joke because it came into my phone in a text form, as at that time, I was having some life challenges, the news came in and multiplied my challenges. On that same day, as I was driving back home, I was not reasoning and I was not sure if what I heard was real, this was at about 5 pm getting darker early as winter was gently going away then. Police stopped me and I was not sure whether to stop or to move. That was my first time to be stopped by a cop, the light behind me was as if I was dreaming and I asked myself all the questions I could, why today why.
I just got the news that my mother who was my close friend whom I love laughing with and sharing my secrets with has just said to be passed away, though I was not sure. I was driving trying to process the news how real it was. The cop came closer and asked me “do you know why I stopped you”? I thought he knew that I was not concentrating on my driving, or someone has told him to stop me before I make mistake, but no…. He asked me again, and I said no… “can I have your driver’s license and”, I gave it to him and the insurance. I held on to my tears so hard but my eyes were still teary, and I did not want him to see before I burst into tears.
He came back after some minutes and said I stopped you because one of your lights is bad I still could not process what he said because I was somewhere in my mother’s house asking questions. He then repeated it, and said “ I am warning you so go and get it fix, I am not giving you a ticket, I asked why? Not knowing why I asked. He stared at me, and I asked him again what should I do after fixing it, how do I get to let you know that I have fixed it. Will you give me your number so I can call to inform you and he answered, just go and fix it so that another cop will not stop you? While talking to him I was holding my tears so hard. Immediately I left him, I started crying none stop. I was far away from my environment, just thinking of not being there to help her before she passed away. I was also thinking that she might not have died completely before they sent her to the mortuary (Funeral Home).
Finally, I got home, parked my car but could not come out of it for long while, when I got into the house, I had a hot shower, went into the kitchen, cooked food and ate, then went to bed without telling anyone what I heard about my dear mother whom I was very close to. The following day, I called a friend and asked, are there sometimes when people die and come back because they were not embalmed immediately they announced death because someone told me it does happen and I just wanted to confirm and he answered yes that’s right. With tears in my eyes, I called my sister and asked, are you sure mama died before you took her to the mortuary and she said yes. I went on for four days crying as frequently as I could remember but without mentioning to anyone why I was full of tears.
After 4 days I finally had the courage to mention to my friends and neighbors that my mother has passed away. I felt so terribly bad that I was not there to take care of her. I visited a nursing home one day with a friend while my mother’s funeral was not done yet. At the nursing home, I saw so many women with various health challenges, then I saw my dearest mother in them, I promised myself from that day, that no matter what I do I will create time to work in places like that nursing home to contribute as much as I can to the sick on behalf of my mother whom I was not privileged to care for during her last days.
I became a caregiver because I sincerely wanted to give my best to every elderly man and woman with health challenges, especially those in hospice/comfort care, so whenever I care for someone, I take my time to give to them the best I can, just the way I would have loved to care for my mother. Sometimes I do call them mommy, love chatting with them, I have lots of patients to listen to them, love spending quality time with them, this gives me so much joy and fulfillment as a caregiver.
I am no more feeling guilty for not caring for my mother before she passed, no more blaming my sister for not waiting before taking her to the funeral home, I now understand more about life and death as a caregiver. I have the cause of my duties learned so much about the end of life. I have been able to witnessed and care for dying clients/patients got them ready for funeral homes. I did all that for my mother and I will continue to do it because it is rewarding, when you are in the corporate world you will not have any idea about the health challenges people encounter in their later years, but having the privilege to work within a healthcare services environment, will educate you about the aging process, end of life process, healing and recovery from illness.
I have also taken care of people that are recovering from surgery, like my mother, who had unsuccessful surgery that leads to her death. I have visited people in their homes, cook for them, clean for them as much as I would have clean for my mother because she uses to teach us to be helpful, loving, caring, and kind to our neighbors, elderly people, and strangers at all times.
Working with TLC has exposed me to residents and clients with various challenges and unique needs. TLC is like going to school and attending different classes, staff members or you are privileged to learn so many things on your own, from your clients and their family members, your colleagues, and management. It is left for you to explore your benefits, make good use of it towards improving your skills. Having said that, I have been able to use the experience so far and the skills acquired to put into taking required nursing classes towards a nursing program, hopefully, I will come up with a positive completion story one day. It appears so challenging for me right now, but I can’t give up, forward I go.