Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

She is never grouchy.


I am at the hospital where my mother has just been brought by ambulance. There is no bed yet in the Emergency area so my sister and I sit on chairs in the hallway where she is lies on a stretcher.

“I’ll get us tea” I tell my sister J. who is there with me. And I head off to find the coffee shop.

I order our teas and when I walk over to the condiments area there is a priest carefully placing a lid atop his tea.

I smile at him, take a breath and ask, “Are you just finishing visiting someone at the hospital?”

“Yes,” he replies.

“Do you visit people in hospital a lot?”

“Not as much as I used to. There is a hospital priest who is assigned here,” he tells me.

“Oh…” I hesitate and then quickly add. “My mother was just brought in by ambulance. She’s not on her deathbed but it would make her really happy and give her peace of mind if you were able to come and say hello.”

He doesn’t hesitate at all. “Of course. What room is she in?”

“She’s not in a room,” I tell him. “She’s on a stretcher in the hallway in Emergency.”

His smile is warm and caring. “Then lead the way. I’ll follow you.”

As we walk I tell him how my mother will be so very happy and grateful to see him. “As long as she doesn’t think you’re coming to give her last rites,” I add, nervously.

He laughs and tells me he will keep it light, happy.

By the time we find the corridor in the emergency area where my mother was placed, it is empty. They’ve already found her a cubicle.

Father Wilbert enters the small curtained room with me, takes my mother’s hand and asks if she would like him to say a prayer of well-being.

Her entire being beams. One hand grips the gold crucifix she wears around her neck and she whispers, “Yes. Please.”

And he anoints her and blesses her and prays over her and my sister and I stand on the opposite side of the bed, heads bowed as he says aloud the words of a prayer we have known since young children when my mother would make us kneel in front of the crucifix above the mantel in our living room and pray the rosary. “Our Father who are in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name…”

It is a moment of grace in a frightening situation.

Earlier in the day, the nurse at the lodge where my mother lives had gone to check up on her. “I think you should take your mother for a chest x-ray,” she told my sister when she phoned. “I hear a rattle.”

The rattle was pneumonia. And an infection in her chest cavity. The doctor’s office called an ambulance. My sister called me and we both met at Emergency.

When the Emerg Dr. came to see her, she took one look at my mother’s tiny body and said, “You are just a wee mite, aren’t you?”

And she is. Her bones protrude. Her skin is sunken in the cavities between the edges.

“She doesn’t eat much,” I told the doctor.

“I can see,” she replied and as she left, she smiled and said, “I think there comes an age when we get to be grouchy if we want.”

“My mother is never grouchy,” I told the doctor. “Just sad. Very, very sad.”

She was admitted last night. Tiny. Frail. She is receiving the best of care.

My eldest daughter and my middle sister arrive next week. They were already booked to come and celebrate mom’s 92nd birthday on the 30th.

“Should I change my flight?” they both asked when I spoke with them.

“Let’s wait to see what happens at the hospital,” I tell them.

The admitting doctor was optimistic. The antibiotics should kick in within 48 hours and she should feel the improvement within a few short days.

She should be home for her birthday.

We will all be together to celebrate.

And she will not be grouchy. It is not who she is. It is not who she has ever been.

She will be sad, and I believe, within that sadness, will be the joy of having her three daughters, two of her four granddaughters, as well as their husbands and boyfriends around her to celebrate her special day.

And in that joy she will be embraced by what she cherishes the most, family.


Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

39 thoughts on “She is never grouchy.

  1. No words suffice, but lots of love.


  2. Read this just before my prayers – which now include you, your mum and family. Blessings and best wishes for a birthday celebration of joy and light.


  3. Louise, I love that the Priest just went with you. I can tell it mean the world to your mom. You are a good daughter Louise. I love this story and I love how your family pulls together. ❤
    Diana xo


  4. This reminds me so much of my mother who had every right to be grouchy but was always so gracious. Blessings for your mom as she recovers and celebrates her birthday.


  5. Blessings and best wishes to you, your Mom and your family. Hugs Marilyn


  6. Sending you love and light…xo Big hugs to Mom, gentle strengthening, healing hugs.


  7. May she heal well and enjoy her girls around her on her special day!
    Val x


  8. I love the reminder that age and difficulty need not make us grouchy. Your mother sounds like a lovely woman full of gratitude, which makes simple sense to me as a visitor to her daughter’s blog – which exudes the same. I hope your mom gets well soon.

    (BTW, Louise, I sent you a couple of emails but I’m not sure you received them. Maybe they landed in your spam folder? Let me know if you get a chance.)


  9. Thinking of you and your family! Sending love and healing to her!


  10. Sent her Reiki. Love hearing about the priest and his kindness.


  11. It’s lovely to hear that your mother has so many people in her life who care about her. I am so touched by your description of her sadness…a small frail body of a woman who’s lived a very long time and witnessed many social changes.

    Sending my love and best wishes to you and your family.



  12. Love heals. I’m so glad that your mom has a group of people who will not give up on her because of her sadness. Many families do. Healing Love and Light to you all.


  13. You are in the thoughts and prayers of many


  14. Please pass on to your mother our love an affection for that lovely lady. We have such good memories and good feelings for you whole family. Give our love to all – wish we could have met up on our trip but it was not to be…….Love to you all, – Mary Ellen & Peter….


    • Thank you ME and Peter — C.C. and I just came from visiting her — she is doing much better today, the antibiotics are obviously already taking effect. Which is good. She will be delighted to know you’ve sent your love — our love to you both as well. Hugs


  15. Hope she’s better and home for her birthday! What a wonderful celebration!


  16. Oh Louise… I have tears reading this. We should all aim to never be grouchy…. wishing you all light and love!


  17. A beautiful post! I was sent here by fr. wilbert who mentioned his encounter with you and your mother… fr. wilbrt is my parish priest and he really is one of the kindest priests I have ever known. I am glad he was there to serve that moment for your mother at exactly the right time. 🙂


  18. My prayers are with you and your family Louise ❤


  19. Sending love, light and prayers to you and yours Louise! Also BIG Hugs!!!


  20. Bless you Louise and you beautiful family. Xoxo


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