Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Gratitude for Mother’s Day photos & the love of a rural Minnesota care center staff May 11, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:46 AM
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I printed this message inside a handmade Mother’s Day card for my mom back in elementary school. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


SUNDAY PROVED A MOTHER’S DAY unlike any other due to COVID-19. A day of mixed emotions—of laughter and of sadness. Of smiles. Of missing those I love with an unexplainable pain that comes from separation and of wanting nothing more than to hold and hug those I love most. My mom, who is on hospice. My daughters and son and two grandchildren. Hugs for the sons-in-law, too.

I began the day with no expectations. There would be no seeing family in person, only in a video chat late in the afternoon. Randy tried his best to make my day special. And I am grateful for his effort. For the brunch he cooked, the delicious pork he smoked and grilled. And for the afternoon drive in the country, which proved joyful and therapeutic.


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2009. Used for illustration only.


But two things stand out from Sunday above all. Mid-morning, my eldest sent a photo of her with my sweet grandchildren—Isabelle, 4, and Isaac, 16 months. Izzy beamed a wide smile with Amber in the background holding an open box of specialty doughnuts. While the girls looked at the camera, Isaac did not. His eyes fixed on those doughnuts. I laughed, oh, how I laughed. The image couldn’t have been more perfect.


My sweet mom, featured on the Parkview Facebook page.


Then hours later, after that delicious supper of smoked pork, grilled veggies and s’mores, Amber texted a photo of my mom posted on the Parkview Senior Living Center Facebook page. It was the most lovely photo of Mom, with oxygen tubes momentarily removed, a slight smile curving her lips and a corsage pinned to her plum fleece jacket. I broke down. Crying. Tears of gratitude. Tears of happiness mixed with sadness. But mostly, above all, thankfulness for this Mother’s Day gift.

To the staff at Parkview, who took the time to pamper the resident mothers and then photograph them, I am especially grateful. I’ve always known them to be a caring and compassionate family in small town southwestern Minnesota. But these images reaffirm that. I am thankful for the extra love given to these moms, and indirectly to us, their families, on Mother’s Day. What a gift. What a blessing.


© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Photo from Parkview Senior Living Center Facebook page


16 Responses to “Gratitude for Mother’s Day photos & the love of a rural Minnesota care center staff”

  1. Norma Says:

    Such a lovely picture of your mother. I know it filled your heart with joy, but sadness also since you couldn’t hug her. Thank God that she has a caring place to stay. There is a place here in Bakersfield that has had a total of more than 70 cases. Counting staff and patients. This particular place has a record of bad reports over the past three years. I’m sure that there will be lawsuits over this.
    God bless you and Randy.

    • Norma, it’s wonderful to hear from you. I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day. I do miss my mama. But I am thankful she is in such good care at Parkview.

      I’m sorry to hear of all those cases at a care center in Bakersfield. We’ve had some widespread infection in a few Minnesota care centers also. The number of confirmed COVID cases in our county is soaring, up to 126 today. More people seem to be wearing masks, but still not enough. Someone sneezed near me in a store on Saturday and, yeah, that is a scary feeling. She sneezed into her arm, but turned in my direction and way too near for comfort. And, nope, not wearing a mask.

  2. What a WONDERFUL Surprise to get a photo of your mom 🙂 How caring of the senior living staff to do that for the families. I am with Isaac in regard to donut love – ha! Life is a precious gift each and every day to savor, soak in, treasure, etc. Blessings and Gratitude . . .

    • “Life is a precious gift each and every day to savor…” You are so right, Renee.

      I mailed a thank you note to Parkview this morning, my second in the past several weeks. They are an incredibly loving team of caregivers who are like to family to residents and their loved ones. So thankful for each of them!

  3. Missy’s Crafty Mess/Missy’s Handarbeid Says:

    Happy Belated Mother’s Day! What a beautiful picture of your mother.

  4. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Oh MY, what a blessing to see this photo of your sweet mom. She looks happy Audrey!!! I’m sorry you cant see her, but maybe soon! I’m glad Amber was able to brighten your day with the photo she sent, and Randy what a great guy to pamper you on your special day. Happy Mother’s day my friend

    • Yes, so many blessings on Mother’s Day. I sent a thank you note to Parkview today, my second in about a month. That team of caregivers deserves so much thanks for their loving and caring ways. They treat residents like family.

  5. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Gee, no resemblance, Audrey! There’s something angelic about aged women of faith, I just pray I fade as beautifully as my mother did. These times are not only bringing out, but creating a personal fabric, or awakened it. I cried at your Mom’s picture. 1999 wasn’t that long ago. Crying tears of love is cleansing. She is indeed with special folks. God bless.

  6. valeriebollinger Says:

    Two wonderful surprise gifts for Mother’s Day. YAY.
    The picture of your mother is beautiful!

  7. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    I’m with Isaac, it is very hard to pull my eyes off the donuts! We can draw much strength through the small blessings of each day. What a lovely surprise to get the photo of your Mother on this special day.

  8. What a fabulous picture of your mom. I absolutely love it. She looks os beautiful and I know it did your heart so much good to see her in that picture. Mother’s Day was indeed different this year but it does not mean that our moms love us less or that we love our moms and kids less, does it? It is just weird this year. Can’t wait till those virtual hugs can be a reality.

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