Saturday 24 July 2010

Silence is golden.......

The parents and ma in law came to supper last night. Mother is still unable to eat much and gets by with less than childlike portions.
The upper GI endoscopy has revealed that the lining of her stomach is ulcerated, and there are patches of inflammation between the oesophagus and stomach.

In six weeks she will have a scan and another endoscopy.
Each week she becomes more frail.......and clothes that fitted, now hang on her tiny frame. Her face is etched with lines, each one speaks of anxiety. My mother has never been able to cope with life.....I have always found this sad, as I truly believe, she has never found true contentment.
I know that when she is with me, she finds peace in silence. We do not speak much, there is an understanding that goes beyond words.
The garden continues to give me much pleasure. Despite the dry conditions, I work each day amongst the flowers.......
I find much happiness down on my knees, weeding the beds, with butterflies and bees dancing above my head, enjoying the fruits of my labour.
I wish my mother had enjoyed gardening....sadly she always felt it was a chore and never truly connected with the space outside her own back door.
I personally believe, a garden can be can take you away from the burdens that life can bring.
For a brief moment in time, we are at one with the creatures that live alongside us.
I wish I was Nella, sitting on a bed of flowers.......

or even better sleeping amongst them...........

I leave you with the words of Henry Frederic Amiel:

To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.......

Have a lovely weekend.


  1. Thank you for the emails that you have sent enquiring about my mothers health. I am grateful.....your kindness and understanding, gives great support at this time.......

  2. Growing old isn't for sissys. A most difficult task. Mz Nella looks so comfortable lying there in the flowers. Hopefully our Mum will be able to recover from this malady. Big Hugs to you both. Your garden is so lovely. I am glad you can find solace there.

  3. Cheryl, I am so sorry to hear of your mom's frailty and stomach problems. I was so struck by "My mother has never been able to cope with life.....I have always found this sad, as I truly believe, she has never found true contentment." I know exactly what you mean. My mom isn't frail by any means, but she has been at odds with the world for a long time, believing it is a hostile place. She blames others for choices she herself made long ago. She expects the worst from the world and always finds it. Her expectations can never be met. She is a gardener and says she's happy and "a positive person," but I don't see that. My dad died at age 59 before he could retire. I didn't know him very well (as an individual) but I sensed he was looking for something his whole life and I'm not sure he found it. I don't think either is/was happy. It is a huge legacy to bear and one I work actively and diligently to avoid myself. (Sorry so long and me-me-me.)

  4. Tku Monica... It was good to read your comment, for as you write, so could I. You perhaps will understand more than most, the difficulty in trying to care for her. Perhaps, in my case, silence is golden........I listen and try to help in every possible way I can but try not to run too deep, because then she becomes more anxious.......

    I am blessed that I have a lot of my fathers ways.....perhaps you have a lot of your Dad's ways.

    I know in my heart these times will pass, and all I can do is my best...........

    Tku for leaving that comment, it is good to know that you understand.

  5. Cheryl, you seem to have struck a chord with your heartfelt concerns about your mother. My mother is 84 and has been living with us for the past three years. While her health is quite poor, none of it is life-threatening, but it is her inability to cope with life that is most debilitating. She told me with great sadness one day that 'evil always wins.' I wonder if it is their generation? I love my mother, but she is a daily reminder for me of how I don't want to be.

  6. Gaias daughter......My mother does have a heart condition as well, so it all adds up, doesn't it?

    Perhaps you are right, with regard to it being 'their generation', I am not sure.
    I have never known my mother to be any different.......which I find very sad.

  7. I am so sorry to hear of your Mothers issues with her health become worse!!
    I'm sure your patience and understanding without speaking a word means alot to her...even if she doesn't verbalize it!!
    It is hard to not see why people can not appreciate the beauty and solace that calms the heart and mind when we nuture a garden ..and the reward it brings to lift us up...
    May you Mom find some beauty and solace from your nuturing!!
    Have a good weekend!!

  8. Dear Grammie.,tku, your words of wisdom always soothe my tired soul.......

  9. HI Cheryl, I hope your mom is doing a little better today. Your dog Nella is so cute, I just love dogs so much! I love the way you talked about your in-between the beautiful flower garden photos. My mom is 77 so I am always worried about her because she has so many things wrong with her now. I can't imagine the pain of watching your mom go through this. Take care! hugs

  10. Oh Cheryl I do feel for you. Sadly my mother died 2 days before her 86th birthday in 2001 and the years before that had been difficult although she was always positive and I had believed her to be strong until her last years. Now I look back and see her life through different eyes and wonder how it was to be her and wish that I had been there more for her. You are doing what you can for your Mum and I am sure she is grateful and that her love for you is not diminished in any way even though she seems not to be able to verbalise it. I am sorry that her health is poor and that she doesn't find the solace you do in the garden but we are all different and all following our own paths. Keepo strong and continue to find your own peace during this difficult time in you beautidul garden.

    Jane x

  11. Kat&amp.....tku for leaving a comment. It is very difficult to watch our parents age and struggle with pain. I watch and learn......

  12. Thank you Jane, you are so kind. You are right when you say we follow our own path. My mother once told me she had never known true happiness. The statement shocked me.......especially knowing how my father adores her. I have imagined walking in her shoes. I see her struggle in her eyes. She has my love and compassion........I feel her pain.

    My garden is a comfort to are my beautiful grand-children. They will be here on and off during the school summer holidays. Mummy has to work now, so I take care of them during those times......

    Happy Sunday Jane.....

  13. Hi Cheryl,

    Sorry to hear your mother is still having problems eating - is she unable to eat little and often? I assume so :(

  14. Hi Cheryl
    I just found your wonderful blog. What wonderful pictures of your garden, and what sorrowful words... I'm so sorry for your mother but also for you. I send you a bucket of strength and confidence and of course I hope the health of your mum is getting better.
    You're so right when you wrote that the garden has a healing effect. I could never imagine a live without a garden.
    Have a nice Sunday!
    Kind regards from Switzerland

  15. Hi Liz.....she can eat little and often but immediately afterwards feels sick. She makes herself eat but has no appetite. Fortunately she has always been a little overweight......she certainly isn't now......

  16. Hi live in a wonderful part of the world, I have visited Switzerland many times...

    Tku for your kind wishes, I am grateful.....

  17. Oh Cheryl, these are trying times, but you have such a warm, positive attitude. I know that the time I spend in my garden is truly restorative - in fact, I just came in from a two hour weeding and watering stint - it's going to be 104 degrees here today - ouch!!! Your garden is really gorgeous and Nella looks so dear in the daisy bed.

    I'm sorry about your mom and the sadness that goes with the situation. I never had to deal with aging parents and now that I'm getting up there I wonder how the process is going to go for my two daughters. Your ending quote was quite appropriate - aging gracefully is a challenge. I truly believe one is as happy as one makes up one's mind to be. That is taken from an old Abraham Lincoln quote.

    Thanks for the comment on "the Elliot" - how's the darling Poppi?

  18. Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's health problems. "Aging well" is not easy for anyone, particularly for someone who has less than a positive outlook on life. I saw this this past winter in my Dad, who normally is an optimistic person of very strong faith. But when he had this second stroke, I saw for the first time some signs of depression. Being physically ill and not being capable of doing things you once did make getting older even harder. I wish you and your family well; your mother is so fortunate to have you there supporting her.

    You know I came to enjoy gardening only in the past few years, but it hasn't taken me long to feel that peace that comes with simply enjoying nature. Today I've been so tired after watching two of the grandkids for the past 24 hours, so instead of weeding, I've just been enjoying watching the butterflies and birds. Sophie says she'd love to catch a few winks with Nella in the flowers:)

  19. I think growing old is 'the' most difficult chapter and it gets progressively more difficult. My Mom didn't have a lot of hobbies and as she got older and wasn't able to cook big meals (which she loved) she couldn't find much that interested her. Luckily she liked to read and watch TV so that occupied her time.

  20. Amy, how on earth do you cope with those temperatures? Must be so very tiring?

    With regard to ageing, I think the best we can do is try to stay healthy and positive. That is my aim........

    The quote is perfect.....I try to find happiness from the little things. There is always something that will make you smile, sometimes you just have to look that little bit harder to find it. Ha!

    Poppi is fine, tku for asking. I have had both the grand-children for the last two days. Riley went go-carting with Grandpop. Poppi and I visited a nursery and bought some compost, and (said in whispers) more plants. I must stop doing that.
    We had lunch out, which was delightful, I could chat to her all day........

  21. I am so sorry to hear of your mother's health problems. I do hope that something can be found to ease her discomfort. I am sure it must be painful to eat when her stomach and esophagus are inflamed. It is so hard to watch our parents become frail. Growing old isn't always easy. So many things happen that we could never be prepared for. It always catches me by surprise when the doctor says, "Well, at your age..." I have never understood why some people can find comfort in gardening, or reading, or artistic endeavors, and others not at all. It is a blessing that you are able to find solace in the garden. Caring for our parents is a hard task at times, but something that can bring a deeper understanding and closeness we could find no other way.

    Little Nella looks so happy snoozing on her bed of doubt dreaming of chasing--and catching naughty bunnies!

  22. Dear Cheryl,
    I understand the feelings of contentment from being at one with the garden. Mine used to give me such comfort. I remember coming home from being with my Mother, who always required me to do the nurturing, and being so very tired. I would take my sit upon out to a flower bed and weed and be one with the dirt and the bugs. I would be revived as if I had napped! Mother Nature always gifted me that way until I became sick.
    I send much comfort to you and your dear Mum.

  23. Thank you Jenny, you words give much comfort. You have a good and kind heart.

    Mother used to love to write poetry but the last two years she has lost interest.
    I agree....'it's your age.' to me, seems like a poor excuse, for 'I don't know the answer.'

  24. Dear Sherry, thank are very kind.

    It must have been a most difficult time for you. We each have our story to tell.
    It is good to know we are not alone.

    For me, being at one with nature is the greatest healer.....I know that it is the same for you.

  25. Dear Cheryl, sending lots of hugs and healing thoughts to your mother. I do hope some healing medications can be prescribed for her. Watching her become frail is truly heartbreaking. I understand. The best gift you can give is exactly what you are doing - being with her and respecting her need for quiet.

    Love and Light

  26. Thank you Wendy.....she has medication, but sadly it does not seem to be helping. We had a letter from the hospital today, they are going to do a scan next Wednesday. Mum is frightened.........I am sure she will be fine, once she is there.