Blogs

Final Gifts for Mom

January 26, 2009

Since mid-October, my family has been commuting to a hospital palliative care room to visit my mother-in-law. Over the years I have told many stories about her, and this may be the final one.

Mom Froese has a terminal illness, we thought she would not make Christmas. We celebrated Boxing Day by boxing up her apartment contents. The article that I wrote on “Who gets Grandpa’s Tools” was put into practice. Mom liked my stories about her, in her stuff, I found a Grainews clipping that mentioned how I want to cherish her relationship with me.

The book “Final Gifts” encourages folks to communicate openly and freely with the dying. Final gifts are the things the dying give us as they prepare to leave.

What gifts can we give the dying? Many folks are not comfortable walking into a hospital, let alone a palliative care room, here are some hints for giving care:

  • Show up. Your presence is your gift. You don’t have to talk about much, just be pleasant, patient, and share your life. Being it is huge for folks who never leave their beds. We’ve made some 6 hours round day trips and mom’s response was “I am so proud of my children.”
  • Listen. The dying have many things they want to communicate, and it may be in story form with familiar word pictures. One favorite phrase in our reminiscing with mom has been, “that was then and this is now.” She knows her life is ending.
  • Laugh. We’ve had lots of funny incidents that still make us chuckle. The pain medication may also cause some funny scenarios that everyone can take in stride, and make light of. The laughter from our room is also an encouragement to the hard-working staff.
  • Rearrange the flowers. I love to arrange flowers. I also love to give roses to the living. Mom’s favorites are roses, and their scent fills the room with hope. I am the self-appointed re-arranger of the nurse’s desk flowers also, and they don’t mind at all.
  • Drink tea together. Much of a farm family’s life and breath is shared around the kitchen table. We’ve eaten meals together in the field, at picnics, and now in the hospital. Sharing tea, even through a straw is a gracious act of bonding with loved ones. Make sure the tea is lukewarm, bring cookies. I happened to meet an old-school teacher acquaintance while making tea, and we encouraged each other to appreciate the gift of each day, even in the hospital.
  • Read and write cards. Words have the power to soothe and heal. The word of God tucked into a short note gives hope and peace. The cards become a decoration to a standard dull room and remind us that we are not alone in the journey of letting go.
  • Sing. I happen to love to sing, so on Boxing Day, I gave Mom her own private concert, Acappella. I think the staff enjoyed it because they really wanted to be somewhere else that day, too. Mom told me early on what song was playing in her head, and then I would sing it to her. “Be still and know that I am God” resounds in our heads, giving hope in our grief.
  • Claim promises. As a godly woman who loves the scriptures, my mother-in-law asked me many times to read God’s promises to her. As I read I could gently rub her arm or hold her hand. The tears that flowed were signs of deep thankfulness and deep sadness mixed in the reality that the hope of heaven was what really mattered.
  • Phone. Hearing the voice of a faraway loved one brings joy to the dying. When my own mother was palliative, and comatose she was given the phone call of a close relative. After we hung up the phone we saw a lone tear roll down her cheek. That single precious tear was the solitary sign of any response from my dying mother in days of waiting for her to pass. Phone calls to the family who are on constant watch at the hospital show that they are not alone, and your emotional support over the telephone lines will mean more than you ever could know. If you are not comfortable being physically present, maybe the phone is the next best thing to being there.
  • Be silly. The snapping and crackling of Christmas crackers around Mom’s bedside brought delight to her great-grandchildren and a touch of silliness to our surroundings as we wore our party hats. What! Party with the dying, you bet. They are about to embark on the best party ever when they meet their Saviour and loved ones in heaven. We embrace the simple joys of being together in celebration, while there is still time to be together.

This story is not finished. We are waiting for Mom to be released from this world. It is my hope that these few words of our current scenario will encourage you to say the words that need to be said, listen to what you are being told, and embrace the richness of a loving family who is preparing to let go.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

Contact Elaine