Haibun: The Charity of Strangers

For Poets United – Charity.

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers
Several years ago I had to drive the long distance to Tennessee to bring my mother home. She had been staying with my aunt and my aunt could no longer take care of her. It was a hard lonely drive. I arrived and visited a few days with them and then I loaded mama and her things into the car and began to drive. She was immobile and in the throes of Alzheimer’s. I had her “rolling walker” in the car and when we made bathroom breaks I had to lift her into the transport chair and wheel her into the rest area. I then had to wheel her back to the car. I had to feed her and remind her to drink. I was frightened. I didn’t think I would be able to take care of her. We stopped halfway and spent the night in a Marriott. I was struggling to get her into the transport chair and a man who had just pulled in saw me. He smilled at us and said, “well little lady, looks like you need some help.” He reached into the car and gently lifted mama into the chair and said, “I’ll take her in for you.” I was so grateful and thanked him over and over. He told me how he had looked after his father in similar circumstances.

The next day I finally got mama ready to go and began wheeling her out to the car. A young black woman who told me she was a CNA saw me again struggling, got out of her to car to help me. She gave me some tips for lifting mama that would make it easier for me. Later that day. A teenage boy took over my wheeling mama to the restroom. At the car, a middle aged woman helped me get her back into the car. As we drove I pointed out the mountains, the changing color of leaves, and the small towns we passed along the way. That night I was getting mama ready for bed and she lid through my arms. She dropped. I tried to get her up but couldn’t. I went across the street to a neighbor who was also taking care of her mother. She immediately came and helped me get mama up off the floor and into bed. Until mama went into the skilled nursing facility in January, angels along the way helped me. Many days I was on my own and lived in fear I would drop her. But the fire department came or the rescue squad came and helped me. No charge. When she went into the nursing facility, there were loving people who took good care of mama and also helped me to deal with her dying.
seasons come and go –
leaves change color – but kindness
flourishes through all


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry Marr
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 17:40:10

    That must have been so difficult, Toni, on every level, physically, mentally and emotionally. Thank heaven for the kindness of strangers. That is what keeps me hopeful about this world. The news is terrible but, in day to day living, we see this kindness everywhere, human to human, no division of colour, race or situation, just humans pitching in to help each other. The way we are meant to do. I love the haiku at the end of this haibun very much.


    • kanzensakura
      Sep 05, 2018 @ 19:14:26

      Thank you Sherry. It was so hard, every day. She was like a baby in so many ways and I was always terrified I would drop her. She outweighed me by 10o pounds. And yes, this is why I will never give up hope. Your everyday person has an innate kindness that trumps every evil in the world.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  2. susanstoo
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 19:44:36

    Wow–a good story and a story of goodness all in one! Everywhere you turned you saw God in the actions of people . . .I love that. It gives me hope.


  3. Sumana Roy
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 00:03:40

    This is such a tender story of love, trust and hope. Such angels make this hell of a world into paradise. Our faith returns. Love the end haiku so much, specially the lines, “but kindness / flourishes through all”. Beautiful, Toni.


  4. gillena cox
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 00:52:43

    This is so yummy a story. Its this kibd of telling that keeps me focus.
    May you ever have the kindess of strangers along the way Toni
    Happy you dropprd by my blog



  5. kim881
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 02:51:09

    Your dedication to your mother is so touching, Toni; dealing with a parent’s illness is indeed frightening. But how wonderful that so many angels gave you a hand when you needed it most.


  6. thotpurge
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 04:55:22

    Strangers do sometimes come as angels to the rescue… must have been a difficult experience Toni but you have shared the lesson so heartwarmingly. Thank you.


  7. Rall
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 08:48:59

    A lovely story of hope and kindness. You are blessed to have had these experiences .


  8. annell4
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 11:25:26

    My eyes fill with tears, you were so fortunate to be the one, the one who helped your Mom when she needed you most. I was also lucky to be able to help my Mom when she needed me. Days I will never forget, and am so grateful for. The final days of a life are so tender. I remember when my Mom, could no longer help me, help her. This tiny woman, was suddenly as heavy as a ton of bricks…I wondered how could this be, and I had to have help. The last days are hard to do alone. A beautiful story.


  9. coalblack
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 11:58:09

    Goddess bless those angels, both heavenly and earthly.


  10. Panchali
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 14:29:54

    Such a struggle it must have been…but, people like them make this world worth living! Beautifully penned, Toni…


  11. Victoria C. Slotto
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:00:35

    Deeply touching for me in so many ways. I pray and trust that when our time comes someone will be there for us who have no children to care for us as you did for your mama. The picture is moving.


  12. Carrie Van Horn
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 17:07:18

    You are a wonderful daughter Toni, and I am glad that there were many kind people along the way to help you when you needed it. A beautiful and inspiring story indeed!!


  13. magicalmysticalteacher
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 22:38:19

    Acts of kindness are never forgotten.


  14. W.A.R Reporter
    Sep 21, 2018 @ 23:56:20

    Super motivational and directly related to a project I’m working on. Thank you for sharing this and providing a boost when I really needed it.


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