“A Conversation With My Mom: An Introduction To Palliative Care” by Dianne H. Timmering

I recently came across this conversation with my mom in January 2012 which I had written down at the time, just after she had passed away in one of our SNFs. I wrote it down to capture her voice. The white page with black ink breathes her immortality and is a true treasure to me. Just like a buried light, it gifts me with her memory and I feel her presence, alive and well.

 

I offer this conversation to everyone to serve as an introduction to our new palliative care core service line. Being able to relive this moment is a powerful example of just how palliative care can Capture a voice in every breath of life. A voice can live long, ring in your ear as a reminder of warmth, of home, of direction, of comfort. The voice is a reminder not to forget, and to live…

January 9, 2012 – Had a good conversation with mom today . . .

I told her sorry that she had fallen and broke her ribs, that convalescing was tough; from there we may have discussed the rottenness of the disease [for she had Parkinson’s]. I just don’t know.

“Hello precious girl,” she said.

She reached out to hug me. I’m so glad she did.

“It is good being with you,” I said.

“It is good to see you,” she whispered.

 “You look beautiful,” I said.

“Look at that pretty face,” she said to me. And then she admonished. “Fix your hair.” (She was always saying that).

Mom told me just how proud she was of me. It meant so much.

I prayed in God’s name and by His stripes she was healed across her body. . .

We studied each other twice like she had so much to tell me so I said, “there is so much going on in that head of yours which you just can’t say.” She knew . . . maybe she just knew.

“You’re the best mommy in the world,” I say, because she could barely speak.

“I love you,” she said with a deep guttural breath, like the gulp couldn’t get out of her way.

Why didn’t I take the time to lie down with her that Friday? Can I forgive myself?

“Hi mommy,” I say.

“Hi precious,” she would respond.

“Hi mommy.”

“Hi Di.”

“Trust Me fully,” God says.

The vacancy in her eyes – so much to say, or nothing, or just peace, like her voice and thoughts couldn’t connect anymore.

I can’t pocket away the grief. I can’t put it in a closet. I can’t do anything with it.

But God knew. Together the 3 of us, dad, my sister, and I assembled the most amazing and beautiful package of love – dad doing his role, Linda hers, and me mine. Not one did more or less. We just did as God orchestrated from above. But God then who was she calling? (She passed with the phone in her hand).

I don’t think she wanted to die.

Did we give her up too soon?

I picked my home over visiting my mom too many times, or was it just rest after a long day?

I wish I could look upon her again-her sculpted face and red cherry hair.

Why didn’t I know she wanted grapefruit and oranges . . . I could have brought her some. . .

The grief I suppose takes one day at a time to process and God sweeps it away behind us as we release it to a new ecosystem of life and survival.

The silence feels good.

Hi Mommy. . .Hi Mommy, Hi Di . . .

She could reach out and touch my face because she could see it; I hope it was a light to her. I hope she knew how much I loved her.

Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs
Signature HealthCARE Consulting Services, LLC

 

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“6th International Conference on Ageing* and Spirituality” – October 6, 2015

On October 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, Dianne was a presenter at the “6th International Conference on Ageing* and Spirituality”, the first to be held in the United States. As described from the event’s website:

This International Conferences attract both those with academic interests and expertise in this discipline from around the world, as well as those with more practical experience through involvement in the aging services industry or as informal care partners.  The Conferences include a mixture of keynote speakers, workshops and papers of interest to those coming from a faith based approach and to those approaching spirituality from a secular viewpoint.

Dianne’s poster presentation for the event was entitled “The Deconstruction of Suffering: The New Elixir in the Care Continuum” and it’s theme as defined by the conference was to be “Paradox and Promise”. The program text of her presentation is below as well as a JPG of the poster she used for the event.

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA is the Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs for Signature HealthCARE,  a healthcare and rehabilitation company with 126 locations in ten states and nearly 19,000 employees.

The vision of Signature HealthCARE is To radically change the landscape of healthcare forever. Signature’s organizational culture is founded on three pillars: Learning, Spirituality, and Innovation.

The Spirituality Pillar, serving through bold listening, hope and humility, strives to meet residents, employees and family members where they are, at the point of their very need. The results are impacting emotional and other clinical outcomes as well as stakeholder purpose and family satisfaction, foundational elements for real culture change in resident-centered pursuits. The pillar is founded on the emotional and  spiritual healing well of unconditional love for diverse cultures and faiths.

Dianne’s poster for the event is below and a hi-res PDF of it (22 mb) is available HERE.

*A note about spelling.  The word “Ageing” in the title is not a typo.  Since the Conference comes to us from other parts of the world, in the title and logo of this 6th Conference, you will see aging spelled as “ageing.”  In all other references it will be spelled as we spell it here in the United States–aging.