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When the call comes

more: Personal stories, Opinion, Personal stories/Opinion

13th August 2014

Author Charles Lambert on putting his life on hold for a year to care for his dying mother

When the call comes

For most people, parents are sources of strength, direction and vitality through most of our lives, but how do we respond when they need us? The idea of 'being a burden' frequently crops up in considerations of end of life scenarios: how would you (or have you) offered the reciprocal support and comfort which reaffirms another person's basic humanity and worth? Author Charles Lambert has written simply but movingly in the Telegraph of getting the call, being told that his mother was dying and that he must return home from Italy. The story of his and his sister's year of caring for their 93 year old mother is well worth reading in full.

'Our mother was almost never left alone, by day or night. My sister and I would sit with her, chat, do crosswords. Sometimes we talked about important matters, memories - setting the life story straight. But just as often we would chat about nothing.'

'She asked me if I was happy, and I told her that I was, and it was true. Despite my qualms about the practicalities of pushing to one side the business of my own life, qualms about work and bills, I was happy to be there with her and I knew it. And yet all of this simply happened: our only conscious decision was to keep our mother at home until she died.'

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