It always begins with Mama….


I have worked in long term care for over 30 years, and am recognized nationally as an expert/educator/motivator in the field of aging services. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago, and I have struggled to cope with the loss and overwhelming sadness that seems to fill every part of my being. I can’t seem to figure out where to put my sadness. None of the “prevailing” coping mechanisms seem to work for me, so I have turned to what I know to be true…what my Mother has taught me…I got to thinking that maybe I could help myself by giving to, or doing something positive for, someone else each week, for the next year. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful, if others would join me.

This blog is an attempt to recharge my faith and spirit, by committing to a year of “doing for others,” week by week. It is also my goal to inspire others to join me in this journey. Imagine…my friends and family, the friends and family of my friends, and the friends and family of their friends, and the friends and family of those friends….(you see where I am headed with this, right?) ALL giving of themselves to others in some small way – week by week – for a full year! In my travels and interactions with people, I have discovered that almost everyone has some type of sadness or struggle in their own lives. So I am asking all of you to join me…”just for this week.” You may choose to follow and be involved all 52 weeks of this coming year; or maybe you will just visit us for a week or two at a time. Doesn’t matter! We will celebrate whatever you do! Just think..we could have thousands of people who are giving to others, and/or being positive in our world. The possibilities are endless! As I said, I am committing to a full year. Each Sunday evening I will post a story  – sometimes long, sometimes short, sometimes happy, sometimes sad…but almost always, there will be humor. Along with each story I will issue a specific challenge and will want to hear of your successes, frustrations, or just “happenings.” At the end of the year, we will decide whether to continue for another year. We are asking you to follow this blog, and forward it on to your friends and family. So here is my first story, and my first challenge to you…

My sister and I were taking my Mother to yet another appointment with her neurologist. I was driving and my Mother was sitting in the passenger seat; my sister, Beth, in the back seat. As we neared the downtown area, traffic began to increase, and I realized that we might be a little late for the appointment. As we were waiting at a stop light, I quickly called the Dr’s. office and explained that we were running a little late, but that we would be there, and that I was sorry for the inconvenience. When I ended the call, my Mother (who I had not realized had been listening to my side of the conversation rather intently) turned around and said, “that’s how you should do it…that’s the right thing to do.” I commented that “someone” had taught me to do those type of things when I was growing up. My Mother teared up, and was struggling to find the words that she wanted to say to me. She finally got it sorted out in her head, placed her hand over her chest, and said…”it makes my heart go thump.” So JUST FOR THIS WEEK, I am going to do something that will make my Mama’s heart “go thump.” I challenge you to do the same. Even if your Mother is no longer alive, you remember what made her “heart go thump,” so do it!


14 thoughts on “It always begins with Mama….

  1. Margaret says:

    I believe our mothers never stop teaching us… even when they are gone. I feel her near me daily. Thanks for the thump.

  2. celestine says:

    What a plesent surprise< Just this past weekend I went to a friends house to help her take down christmas decorations, took her shopping for food. Last weekend she fell and broke her shoulder in five places, and has an imoblizer on. She lives a couple of hours away from me but I know that it is important ot reach out and help friends in need.

  3. Lionel Sullivan says:

    My Mom, and Dad, are gone now. The relationship that I had with my mother was very strained most of the time. I miss her now and have wished many times that I would have had more patience, more love, more time spent with her … always MORE. I regret, however, that I did not. You have you Mom only ONCE! Too bad for me that I did not remember this sooner. Thanks, Cat!

    • Cat Selman says:

      Oh Lionel, no matter how much time you spent with her, you would STILL want MORE. And I know for a fact, that your Mom was so very proud of you, and could not have loved you more. So why not try forgiving yourself of whatever you feel you did not do, and share this journey with us. I just feel that at the end of year, we are ALL going to be better. Thinking of you…

  4. Beth Crout says:

    Thump, thump go our hearts! Every time I cook I always think of mother and the recipes that she shared with me. I plan on having our daddy, sister, and son and daughter-in-law over for Sunday dinner this coming Sunday.. Mama always enjoyed cooking for others even strangers that entered her house. I realize that I am doing the same as mama did. She would say thump, thump go our hearts!

  5. My Mom is also gone but like Lionel, our relationship was a bit strained…I had an Aunt that was like a second Mother to me and I cherish and miss them both! And like Beth’s Mom, both my Aunt and Mom loved to cook and entertain, I have saved recipes in both of their handwriting and will keep them forever and whip up these recipes with a warm heart! Thank you Cat for starting this journey! Your Mother is a beautiful lady!

  6. Debra Gallaway says:

    Cat, your article had a profound impact on me. I had not been to my mother’s for a visit in quite awhile, although I live only about 15 minutes away. I spent several hours with her and we had a WONDERFUL time laughing and catching up. THANK YOU! I cannot take time for granted. My mother IS getting older, like it or not!

  7. Zebbra Evans says:

    My father passed away. He had dementia. It was very hard the last year. When you look in their eyes and don’t see the love there you used to. So I mourned that loss first, but there were moments when he looked back!!!

    • Cat Selman says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t think anyone truly understands what it feels like to look into the eyes of your parent, and realize that they do not recognize who you are, unless they have experienced that event personally. The loss and sadness can sometimes be unbearable. But, oh my, when those moments of clarity occur, you feel like you’ve been given the greatest gift!! Always think of you…

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