Some would call it heroic,
A path for extraordinary people.
But caregiving is really very ordinary.
Three virtues help us along the way:
Compassion, simplicity, and patience.
— William and Nancy Martin in Caregiver's Tao Te Ching: Compassionate Caring For Your Loved Ones and Yourself
Today nearly 50 million adults are serving as caregivers in almost one-third of American households. Many more provide patient one-to-one care in a variety of institutions around the world. Mother is a heartfelt documentary which enables us to witness the healing and transformative possibilities of compassionate end-of-life caregiving.
Pomm works in Baan Kamlangchay, a facility in Thailand that provides around-the-clock care for Europeans with Alzheimer's. She has chosen this profession, even though it means that she has had to leave her own children in a village far away. Two of them live with Pomm's mother, and the youngest is with her previous partner.
Although she worries about her fading connection with her kids, the connection she has with Elizabeth, her favorite patient, is extraordinary. The oldest person at the Center, Elizabeth no longer can speak due to a stroke; she communicates only in clucks and clicking sounds. Still, Pomm carries on an ongoing conversation with her and even confides in her about her own worries.
As William and Nancy Martin show in their insightful book on the spiritual practices of caring for others, compassion is the first virtue of the caregiver. Pomm shows great compassion for Elizabeth, tenderly addressing her needs and treating her with respect. She conveys a look of love whenever she is with her.
This gifted and natural caregiver demonstrates a second virtue — simplicity, which manifests in her generosity and the small but significant ways — brushing hair, massaging a hand — she makes her patients feel better. The last spiritual quality is patience which shines through her radiant smile and peaceful demeanor.
Following Elizabeth's death, Pomm is assigned a new patient, Maya. She is from Switzerland, and part of the film focuses on how her family makes the heartbreaking decision to take her to Thailand and on their final moments with her there. In one devastating scene, Maya's husband tries to talk with her from Switzerland over Skype, but she does not understand what is happening. Pomm is there to connect directly with her and make her feel secure.
After you watch Mother, we are sure you will want to bless those who have healed and helped you — and those around the world who have taken up the caregiver's mantle.