My mother has been a caregiver all her life. She raised her children, took care of house and home and did her best. When the children were grown, she helped others, became a nanny for a young family and shared her love and kindness with them.
She befriended a man from our church when his marriage was falling apart and he moved into her home. He helped around the house, provided emotional support to her as her marriage dissolved and they became the best of friends. He was a kind man, a gentle man and a capable man. He tirelessly helped her and they shared a home together. They were not lovers. They were friends.
Over the years, each of them grew older and his health eventually dwindled to the point where he needed full time care. She did not send him away to a home. She took it upon herself to care for him. She fed him, and tended to things he could no longer do. They talked and kept each other company, day after day, week after week and year after year. They had a true companionship, something we all long for.
As he aged, there were complications and he nearly died several times. Her care and devotion was beyond anything available in mainstream care facilities. He continued to live and breathe and be with her, in the home they shared.
It was not easy. The effort and energy she expended would nearly take her life, but she continued forward, each day, each moment, until his end. He passed on the other day, peacefully in his sleep. He will be missed and my mother will need to find her way alone now. Find her way to continue forward and live life. She has plans and desires. She will continue.
He wanted to be cremated so my sister and her husband took her to the funeral home to see him for the last time. There would be no wake or gathering. His prior family and children had long since forsaken the relationship because of his divorce from his wife. Such is life and it is sad this is the way many people follow. He was a very good man, a loving man, a family man, without a family. My mother and he were family.
When it came time to leave him for the last time, the funeral parlor was looking for payment and my mother said, that he had a policy and had previously paid for the services. The parlor looked at the records and discovered his policy was no longer valid. He had taken it out nearly a decade ago, thinking he would die soon. He did not. He was cared for so well, he would continue living for years to come.
My brother-in-law was there and raised his voice to determine what was wrong and why the arrangements were no longer valid. The reasons were not clear, but the policy appeared to have an expiration date, in case costs rose. I do not know for sure. The bottom line; however, was that in order to leave the funeral parlor and allow my mother’s companion to be tended too, it would cost them $2000.
They did not have the money. My mother is resourceful. She would find a way and without hesitation or contemplation, pulled out a credit card and charged the full cost of the service, paid her final respects and left the home to toast her companion into the aether.
As my brother-in-law, sister and mother got in the car and headed home, my brother-in-law commented, “That was a tidy sum to pay. How will you pay for that Kay?”
My mother, looking forward as they drove, paused and smiled, “Oh, I used his credit card. He always said to use it if I was ever in need and today seemed liked one of those days. He was always good to me that way. I will miss him.”