Compassion is a verb  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The past few weeks have been terribly difficult on my family and me.  I was confronted with a lot of raw emotions and feelings.  Seeing my mother hooked up to machines, mumbling incoherently, being unconscious, and having no awareness of her surroundings did that for me.

My emotions were high and low.  I was angry, relieved, hopeful, confused, elated, frustrated and thankful. When something changed in her, something also changed in me. My feelings were aligned with her progress or little setbacks.

I spent many hours by her bedside and got to know the hospital staff (the doctors, nurses, nurses’ aides etc) quite well.  The one thing they all had in common was compassion.  Day after day, night after night they gave my mother dignity even when she felt she never had any.  They were never condescending and always had a kind word to say to her.

I wholeheartedly agree with Thich Nhat Hanh. Compassion is action, action of the heart.

I thought sometimes that I was being tested.  I know, how self centered, right?  There were two particularly difficult days where she was driving me crazy.  She was stronger at this point, but wasn’t of her own mind and was suffering from so many things, including days of nausea and vomiting. Incredibly uncomfortable, she became combative and argumentative and I became bossy.  There was a point where I started to cry.  I was overwhelmed, tired and at a loss as to what to do with her.  As I was trying to pull myself together, the word compassion kept floating in front of my eyes.  I took several deep breaths and told myself that was what she needed.  I, on the other hand, really needed a stiff drink and a good night’s sleep.  All joking aside, I gave her a big kiss and a hug and said good night.  I’d like to tell you that everything was great after that, but I’d be lying.  I felt so guilty that I cried myself to sleep.

The next day I armed myself with the memory of the “floating compassion” and vowed to try and keep everything in perspective.  I offered her a heartfelt apology and she gracefully accepted it, even though she said she had no memory of the previous day, or maybe she did and was just being compassionate.


My nephew visiting my mom.


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About kimsimard

I'm a Canadian wandering around the world, discovering new food, cultures and friends. I'm currently in the homeland of the love of my life, Venezuela.

4 responses to “Compassion”

  1. Christene says :

    I only wish i could have been there for you all!!! Well written. :´(

    • kimsimard says :

      You were in your own way. The videos and pictures helped her a lot. Mom always giggled after you said, “Mother of mine”. The worst of it is over and she’s well on her way to better health. Love you guys. xoxo

  2. Jenny-Lou says :

    Hi Sister Love
    you write so well… your thoughts often consume my own… i feel a lot of guilt as well with not being there and having to endure all that you went through… My thoughts were always there with you and mom is constantly in my thoughts… being as close as i am i can’t even get out as often as i liked… my own guilt consumed me… i am thankful you were there with her, in the good times and bad. You are strong and you should never have felt as bad as you may have, you did all you could and more then any of us had been able to commit to.

    I love you for everything you have done and been doing… XOXO

    • kimsimard says :

      Don’t worry about it; that’s one of the reasons why I came. I knew you and Dad wouldn’t have had all the time that you needed. Besides, you may be “close”, but you’re also far with bad road conditions. I’m flattered you think I’m strong. 😉 Btw, Mom loved seeing the kids the other night!

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