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April 4th, 2017

To All,
It has been just a little over two weeks since I lost my loving mom passed away. Although I have had my trials and tribulations throughout her 2 year 8 month residency at Cedar Manor, I chose at this moment to focus on what was good, especially in her final hours. There is not a single thing more I could have asked for nor a stone left unturned to bring her and our entire family comfort.
Rick, who had worked 3-11 and doubled into the 11-7 shift, treated her with kindness, caring, dignity, and respect, never once faltering with any request despite 16 hours of caring for her. Karen, who always made sure her meds for comfort were ready to go even before we asked, who also did all she could to bring our family comfort, having coffee, tea, and snacks brought in by the respectful and kind kitchen staff. This was so appreciated since some of us had remained by my mom’s side for 36 hours, plus. To the wonderful housekeeping staff who worked tirelessly at keeping mom’s room in order as we continuously filled it with empty coffee cups. To Marie her daytime CNA, to Vanessa her 11-7 CNA who would always give me a very early morning report on how mom did throughout the night when I stopped in early to check on her before going to work, and always gave her spoonfuls of fluids, knowing I worried about dehydration. To Novelette, her 3-11 CNA who truly became a part of our “extended family” as this was the shift spent most time with.
My thanks to Sonja, Lavone, Sharon, Sheba, Dianna and Silvia, To Linda, Diann, Jenny and Andrea who were ALWAYS “spot on” when a call needed to be made quickly to Dr. Mathew.
I am certain that there are many I have left out…and for that I do apologize, but to them and all others I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Staff and many family members of loved ones residing there and residents themselves became a big part of both my mom’s and my life.
My mind tells me it was time for my mom to rest…my heart tells me there is an ache which will never go away. I miss her more than mere words could ever hope to convey…I remain lost with what to do especially with the now very empty and sad times of day I used to spend with her. I am thankful she is at peace. I am so grateful I was able to fulfill her request to me of never letting her die alone. I promised her I would move mountains to be there…and, by the grace of God, she did not die alone, and I was not only able to be there, but could lie down beside her, hold her tight and pray I would never forget what she felt like so close to me, and tell her how much I loved her one last time. I am most thankful for those who heard her requests or needs and tended to them quickly. I am grateful the staff who saw her as more than just a “cranky old lady:” How I wish you could have known her before her mind became so confused and her body so weak. She was the glue that held our family together, the wonderful human being that ALWAYS put her kids first which so frequently left her going without things she needed. The woman who was always there to reach out to those in need… the mom who I have a million reasons to love forever and never forget. All of the things I have touched upon about her ARE the reasons I relentlessly pushed for only the best for her. To be with her every day and help her do all the things she could no longer do for herself was a privilege and an honor…and I would do it again in a second.
Having also worked in a long term facility, I absolutely DO understand the toll it takes on staff members and how it is sometimes a thankless job…But my wish for all of you is to always remember despite the way those there may appear today, every single person is someone’ loved one. A verse from a very old Baez song always came to my mind as I walked down those halls so many times and I think I have enclosed it in more than one thank you note.
“So if you’re walking down the street sometimes and spot some hollow ancient eyes…please don’t pass them by and stare, like you didn’t care…Say hello in there.
Because old trees just grow stronger, old rivers grow wider every day. But old people just grow lonesome, waiting for someone to say, hello in there…hello.”

I also wish all of you the very best in everything throughout your life….and I wish that any good you give to some of the most vulnerable and lonely people will always find its way back to you.
I only hope and pray my mom knows just how VERY much she was loved. ANY good that anyone may ever find in me was because of her.
Gratefully,
A.S.

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