Caregiving Story

Mary A.King, In Memory Of

Age:79 yrs.
Location:Vancouver, WA
Cared for by:Cassandra Kay Ashbrook
Years of Care:6


I worked in the corporate world most all of my adult life. Then, while driving on the interstate on my way to work one morning, I was struck by another automobile. I sustained some life changing injuries, and would never again be able to work at the level that my corporate position required.

The accident changed my life in many ways, and ultimately for the better. One of the better ways my life was changed, that came about as a result of the accident, was that I was available to care for my Mother when she was diagnosed with heart disease and required an aorta valve replacement.

Everything that can go wrong in a surgery went wrong in my Mother's surgery. I was devastated, but I could not allow Mother to see it in my face. Mother was in the hospital a month before she could be released to go home. Then, within a few hours of being home, she had to return to the hospital by ambulance because she was in complete renal failure and was not expected to survive the night.

Let me say that the partial recovery was long and agonizing for my Mother, but we worked together as a team. I was able to assume all of her personal and health care needs, and had the privilege of serving her at the end of her earthly life. Caring for Mother during the last 3+ years of her life, was the hardest and most pivotal time in my adult life. It truly changed my life. I could never have imagined anything could be so hard! The mental and physical challenges are very difficult and are completely all consuming! I am privileged to know this firsthand, and to know the true joy and complete satisfaction that comes about when one patiently and selflessly serves another’s needs with love and commitment.

After doing hospice at home and laying my Mother to rest, I felt I could meet any challenge! I've always been a very caring and nurturing person, but this level of commitment and care really showed me a lot about myself and my heart, and drastically altered what I had come to believe was really of true value in this life.

I think it is wonderful that my Mother, who always taught me so much and imparted immense wisdom to me during her lifetime, was able, as she was dying, to take me one step further towards discovering another way to minister to others, and to become a much wiser person myself.

Because of my hospital, nursing home, and home nursing experiences, I am 150% my client/patient's advocate. I am a staunch supporter of people (who have a choice) being accommodated so that, should they desire to stay in their own home, they may be enabled to do so. It causes me great pain to know that not everyone has this choice, and that many disabled people do not even have a home, much less the choice to stay there.

It is always challenging but always very rewarding to be a part of making that possible for another person, and playing a supportive role in easing their care and anxiety, as well as that of their loved ones.

With all of my heart,

Cassandra Kay Ashbrook

Romans 12:6 “ Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.”

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