It is a privelege to care for a parent in their last days; and my mother is no exception. We are having a God-given and very special time together. I am cherishing every moment...now that I have accepted that caring for her means total immersion into a culture I have only experienced from time to time, southern Bible-belted summers while growing up.
My sister has always loved North Carolina, our mother's home state and she lives nearby (I am here so that my sister can get back to work as director of a regional hospital in this area-she has put in long hours helping mom, and dad before he passed away).
I have always preferred my father's home state, Arkansas. Carolina ways are different, but I am learning and loving the beauty of this area. I am also realising that all her married life my mother lived in Washington,DC for my dad. She was home base while he travelled all over the world, and then they both took off for South Korea. And then they settled down at Baylor University while they lived and worked as missionaries to the international Baptist Student Mission. All those years, mom has longed for the carolina pine trees and the beaches of the shore islands. These are her last days...so the least I can do is support her in spending them exactly where she wants!
I see her friends and our extended family stopping by to see how she is doing. We get so many calls, and cards and love from even the pharmacy delivery man ("Love your momma. She is so sweet," he says and adds that it is "no trouble to deliver anythings she wants.") Everyone I have met so far tell me of how they loved my dad in the years they knew him, and how much my mother means to them. Even in the grocery store (now learning new American foods) someone stops me and says, "Are you Mzz M's daughter? So good you can be here for her at this time."
Yes, indeed. I am falling in love with Carolina!