Haibun: The Kindness of Strangers

Today Xenia Tran is hosting the haibun prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub. She has given us the prompt of compassion but not to use the word. Also today on Poets United, Sherry Marr has highlighted me and some of my poems:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2018/05/blog-of-week-update-with-kanzen-sakura.html

Kindness of Strangers
Sometimes it is the small things that show kindness. When my mother was admitted into the skilled nursing facility, she was at first hostile and afraid. The personnel did all they could for her and to help me. I felt guilty because I could no longer care for her at home. The aides would get her up and bathed and dressed, joking with her, cajoling her into eating a bit of her breakfast, and letting us know about activities planned for the patients for the day. I would wheel her around the facility in her wheelchair, talking to the staff and patients, creating conversation to include my mother. After a couple of weeks she began to get into the routine and to eat her meals in the dining room. I began to help the workers with seating patients, bringing their food to the table, wheeling them back to the activity room for afternoon bingo, musical programs, and craft activities.

After Mother’s Day, mama had a series of seizures and strokes. The little ladies I talked to daily asked me about her, asked me to give her their best wishes and prayers for her. The key would even have their pastors come to mama’s room to talk with her, to pray over her. She was nonverbal by this time and took all of her meals in her room. The Kitchen staff would prepare special bits of food that they knew she liked. I would sit with her all day. Everyone knew my routine. Early one morning, the floor nurse called me at home to let me know my mother had died.
birds on feeder
outside her window – away
they flew – her soul is freed


an angel made by mama in her craft class from an oyster shell

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Frank Hubeny
    May 14, 2018 @ 22:23:23

    Beautiful remembrance of your mother through the kindness of strangers.


  2. whippetwisdom
    May 15, 2018 @ 03:39:11

    A beautiful haibun Toni where everyone is coming together in a place of love to care for your mother. In this special place the light that binds us feels strong and I love how you were helping the helpers and share your light with them too. Thank you so much for joining in at Haibun Monday and sharing your beautiful words with us here 🤗💜 xxx


  3. kim881
    May 15, 2018 @ 04:02:08

    The skilled nursing facility sounds like a welcoming, caring place, Toni. I remember it took my mum a while to settle in but the home my sister put her in was not so welcoming or caring. I’m glad you found somewhere friendly and kind for yours. Your haiku is wonderful.


  4. Frank J. Tassone
    May 15, 2018 @ 05:56:24

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #1 (5/15/18): Toni’s latest #haibun for #dversepoets! She’s also interviewed by Dheeey over at Poets United!


  5. annell4
    May 15, 2018 @ 08:51:37

    I am touched by your haibun.


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    May 15, 2018 @ 10:41:30

    Oh.. I know this story… all except death had happened to my mother… I need to see her more often…Love the inclusion of the other patients.


  7. Janice
    May 15, 2018 @ 11:33:36

    A beautiful haibun Toni showing how a community of loving care can thrive in a facility…it’s wonderful that you could contribute so much to her and her new home.


  8. Vivian Zems
    May 15, 2018 @ 14:36:49

    This was very touching…and a lovely haiku you ended it with….her spirit freed.


  9. merrildsmith
    May 15, 2018 @ 20:27:31

    This is very touching, Toni. Of course, “kindness of strangers” I think of “Streetcar,” but this community of strangers was truly kind to your mother and you to them. I like that you have the angel your mother made.


    • kanzensakura
      May 15, 2018 @ 21:35:46

      Thank you. I also have a “basket” she made with flowers in jt. It is a paper plate with half a paper plate glued on it. It is full of silk flowers and stickers stuck on it. I think it is beautiful. It was kind of odd being an adult and having my mother make crafts like a first grader. Sad actually. She was so proud.

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  10. Victoria C. Slotto
    May 16, 2018 @ 18:04:52

    Aww, heck. I worked so long in those long term care facilities. This moved me, not only because of the mother-loss we have shared, but also because of the memories you have stirred up. Bless you and all the elders who have no one to care for them like you did for her.


  11. MarinaSofia
    May 17, 2018 @ 04:22:42

    That is comforting to know that there are still facilities with such kind and compassionate people, when you hear all those horror stories about neglect. Yet it must be hard to rely only on people’s innate good nature when you are loading them with poor working conditions, low pay and impossible targets to meet.


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