HELPING – like mother like daughter

I am a helper. A nurturer, a caretaker, a giver. I get this from my mother.

I have been thinking an awful lot lately about the women in my life; my mother and grandmothers, my step-mother, my sisters, my aunts and cousins, and also my friends. But mostly I have been thinking about my mom.

The couple that I am staying with have welcomed me in like one of their own children. They are wonderful. They are absolutely genuine in their acceptance of me and I am grateful for this. So it truly makes my heart hurt to see them in their current state of pain. They are going through some difficult times right now. Karen’s mother, Marie Fletcher, passed away early Sunday morning. It was sudden but not wholly unexpected. She had lead a long and full life and at the age of 91 her body said enough. I almost feel as if I knew her. I have been listening to the stories that have been shared over the last couple of days and reading through some of her memoirs of ranching in the formative years of this region. She sounds like a very strong and caring women, someone I would have quite enjoyed and loved.

I have been helping anywhere and everywhere I can. Partly because I want to help; I want to lift any burden I can from these gentle peoples shoulders so that they can mourn. But partly because I don’t know what else to do with myself. It is an uncomfortable position to be in – the stranger in the room during such an intimate and personal time. It would be rather rude of me if I went in my room away from the guests and family to avoid the situation, but I also don’t want to intrude on such a painful and familial time. So I keep myself busy and try to stay away from the awkward conversations about a wonderful woman that I unfortunately didn’t know and the looks of confusion as to my reasons for being there.

Inevitably I find myself struggling with some mixed emotions. I want to be here to help, to make this time just a little bit easier. I want to leave and distance myself from an understandably awkward situation. I want to reach out and talk to the women that I hold dear, tell them I love them and that I am so happy they are in my life. I want to stop thinking about what it will be like when my own family is thrust into a similar situation. But mostly I have been thinking about my mom.

I have witnessed great love and care and generosity in my time here, especially that special bond between a mother and her daughter. Terri, Karen’s daughter, is an amazing woman in her own right. Just a bit younger than me, and working on her third year as co-owner and operator of an organic farm in a land where most people said vegetables would not grow. It is wonderful to see their interactions, to hear the snippets of their conversations, to witness the unconditional love that they share as mother and daughter.

As I get older I see me more and more of my mother in me, and I understand and appreciate the sacrifice and unselfishness that she displayed while raising my siblings and I. My mom has always been my cheerleader. Her unwavering support has meant so much to me in the last several months while taking on this new life adventure. She is my biggest fan, the one who always comments on my posts, the one who tells everyone everything I am doing even before I can tell them myself. Her pride in me is exuberant and I am grateful to have her by my side.

I will miss this wonderful family. My temporary home away from home. I will leave tonight and attempt to sleep on the greyhound bus as I wind my way through the Canadian Rockies to the little town of Hinton, just outside of Jasper, Alberta. This was my planned departure date, but I still feel a bit as if I am running away from the situation and deserting them in their hour of need. I know I am not doing this and that everything and everyone will be fine. It’s just the nurturer coming out in me, trying to take care of everyone just like my mother.

I love you Mom.

Thanks for reading!


16 responses to “HELPING – like mother like daughter

  1. Thanks Rene. I truly am very proud of you and am excited to hear about your next adventure. Very sorry for the loss your host family is going through and very glad you are there to lend a hand. Love you.

  2. Thank you Rene, You have not ever been in the way here at all either…I am so glad you have been here for my mom during the times when I couldn’t be. We will all miss you so much. hugs, Terri

    • Thanks Terri! I had an amazing time getting to know you, and especially your mom and Clint. I will always look back on my time there with great fondness and look forward to the day I can return and finally see your farm as well. -Rene

  3. Such a beautiful to tell the tale of loss and strength. I don’t know you Rene, but, somehow, I do. I will follow your stories and adventures, I appreciate those who take life by the horns and YANK ! Good for you for loving and being grateful for being part of the Fletcher family during this part of their life. – Diane

    • Thanks Diane. I appreciate your words of encouragement. I was a little hesitant to put something so personal (for me and the family) up for all the world to see. But, it felt like the right thing to do. -Rene

  4. Rene – you are very much like your Mom and I know that must bring her great joy. I’m proud that you are my niece. Never feel guilty for helping and know that even if the people cannot show their appreciation, they definitely do feel it. Enjoy the next leg of your adventure.
    Love, Aunt Debbie

    • Thanks Aunt Debbie. The family definitely appreciated my help and told me so frequently. They tried to make me feel comfortable during every step of the way. Truly amazing individuals. -Rene

  5. Rene it was so wonderful to have you with us. I am truly grateful for the time we’ve had together and really appreciated you during these last few days. You have no idea how much you helped me getting through to Wednesday, you are an inspiration! Always welcome home with us and I look forward to following your adventures. We all miss you.

    • Thank you so much! I had such a wonderful time with the both of you and occasionally your children and of course Morgon. I am happy that I was able to help you at such a difficult moment. I miss you all too and look forward to the day I can visit again. – Rene

  6. Rene, it was a joy to have you with us. Thank you so much for being there for me and my family during the difficult days before Mom’s funeral. You have no idea how much you helped me, your easy nature, your caring help, your just being there and listening to me trying to sort it out. I miss you. Wednesday was a sad and happy day, we have been blessed richly here, and have come an ending and a beginning. Although you were only with us a short time you did come to feel like family and I look forward to following your travels and to your return visits, and learning to build that cob house. 🙂 Our world has it difficulties but with people like you in it we are not on a hopeless journey.

    • Thanks so much Karen! I couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay or a more wonderful couple to spend time with. It was my pleasure. There seems to be a legacy of amazing women in your family and I am so grateful to have met a few of them. I miss you all and am really looking forward to that cob building workshop (I just need to learn how to do it first). – Rene

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