Catherine Power

I don’t normally do Mother’s Day. I just don’t like the day. I never have done. As a young person I bought into the idea of making sure I had some kind of present for my mother on whatever Sunday in March was deigned a ‘special’ day for Mothers by whatever card company or organisation that came up with the idea.
But as I grew up a bit and had my own family, I became increasingly disenchanted with the whole idea of Mother’s Day. I actively discouraged my four children from making a ‘big deal’ out of the day and asked that I be treated with the same love and respect on that particular Sunday in March that I enjoyed almost every other day of the year.
I believe that mothers are very special, 24/7, 365 days a year. I never waited for Mother’s Day to treat my mother to lunch or to arrive at the house with a bunch of flowers or bottle of wine for no particular reason other than to give her a little treat.
However, Mother’s Day 2020 was very different.
For the first time in as long as I can remember I bought the nicest Mother’s Day card I could find along with a small box of chocolates, put them in the post and had them delivered to one of the excellent nursing homes in Waterford that are doing such a brilliant job of looking after very many of our dearly loved relatives.
It didn’t matter that the postage costs were twice what the box of chocolates are worth, all that mattered was getting a card to Mam to tell her how much we love her and miss her.
I brought Mam to the Nursing Home in January. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do and the hardest day of my life since my father died four years ago. I knew it was coming for some time but that didn’t make it any easier and the memories of that day will take a long time to be erased.
Our lives took on a different routine as Mam tried to settle into her new surroundings. Luckily, I was in a position to visit almost every day and I was comforted by the number of people who spent time with her while they were there to visit relatives of their own.
Just as Mam began to settle, that routine was shattered with the arrival of the Corona Virus.
In fairness to Nursing Homes they were very quick to act in the light of this dreadful threat and shut down all home to visitors on Friday, March 6th.
I haven’t seen Mam in over two weeks and for people like me that see their parent almost every day of the week, it has been a tough and worrying time. There is absolutely no concern that Mam is being well looked after. She is getting the very best of care that can be given by an excellent, hard-working and committed staff.
But knowing you can’t speak to her every day and check for yourself how she really is getting on is very difficult. I feel for families who have been visiting their loved ones for many years, sometimes twice a day and now suddenly have to learn to keep their distance.
The uncertainty of when we will be able to visit again and what effect the enforced separation will have on our loved ones is troubling but for now we will have to be happy to know they are receiving the best of care.
I have nothing but admiration for the wonderful staff working in extremely difficult circumstances in nursing homes all over Waterford trying to protect and care for our relatives.
The dedication and perseverance of all medical staff and those involved in containing covid-19 is astounding and the generosity and concern of many towards their fellow man is a shining light in these dark days.