This weekend past, I attended a funeral. The woman, a kind and caring person, an educator, mother and grandmother, was honoured by her family, who gathered around to mourn her passing.
Friends came from far and near; people who had immigrated with her, others who taught in the same schools or baby sat her children while she worked. This lovely woman was involved in the work of her community and temple and left a fascinating legacy for her children and grandchildren.
Harbajahn had three daughters and they took turns month after month, going to her home to care for her as her Alzheimer’s increasingly took its toll. They brought the grandchildren, too. The youngsters played together, visiting with their grandmother and learning, by osmosis, the process of caring for someone you deeply love.
When I say care giving is a love song, I don’t mean to diminish all the practical and difficult challenges faced on a daily basis in looking after a person. But I do mean to celebrate the loving kindness, the tenderness and patience with which these offices are carried out.
Studies have shown that what is important to a dying person is being touched, held, loved. Having someone with them. And that’s what this family did for their mother; what all care givers offer to their patients. A companion on the journey.