My Mom's Final Wish

My mother has one last wish and, for the first time in 40 years, she is asking for help.

She wants to connect with others and with life again. To be a part of and contribute to a community and relieve her children from their current physical and financial struggles in assisting her on her journey. For 25 years, my mother, Connie, has lived alone in an attempt to hide from her childhood trauma. She is struggling with dementia, breast cancer, emphysema, osteoporosis and, most recently, the death of her sweet 4-legged soulmate Reece. She needs assisted living.

She wants to contribute and be a part of a living community that can help her. Last week she found that place.  A home at a elderly living community that offers the perfect level of assistance. Despite its affordability, we still didn’t have enough. I said, "What do you think? Do you like it?"

She said, “We can’t do this. It’s too much money.” 

I said, “Maybe not. There is a lot of money in this world Mom. Perhaps there is a little extra out there somewhere just waiting for you. Why don’t we ask for it and see what happens. The world is an amazing place full of possibility and gracious people. You taught me that. Can you be open to that? ”

“You really think it’s possible?”

“I do, but not if we don’t ask. Do you want to ask for help?”

She just looked at me. It took her ten minutes to answer the question before she finally said, “Yes. I need help, but what can we do?”

“I have an idea. Can I record you on video? I know that’s hard for you, but do you think you can do that?”

“…Ok. If you think it could help. Who's going to see it?"

"Potentially 1000s of people."

"What?! OMG. Let me wash my hair.”

I love my mom. 

With this ask I am celebrating the last part of her life like it is the birth of another. Giving it everything that I have to try to give her an opportunity to feel alive again. To laugh. To feel accepted. To love and be loved. She deserves it. We all do. I don’t have the finances right now, but I do have the heart. 

Upon touring the community home my mother took to everyone and everything like water to a river. It was like she was born to be there. She was alive. She loved everything and everyone and everyone embraced her like she was family. I have never seen her so happy or vibrant and her physical, emotional and mental health issues were suddenly gone. 

When we left the facility for the third time I took her home and showed her the pictures that I took and the video I was making and said, “What do you think?” 

She just stared at it in disbelief. I said, “Can you imagine living there?” She said, “No . . . its too expensive.”

“Do you want to live there?” 

“There? . . . How?”

“We are going to ask people for help and if we get enough funds that will be your home. Can you imagine that being your home?”

Then her face dropped. She just stared at the photographs, began to tear up and softly said. “That’s my home.”

I'll never forget that moment. Aside from Reece's death, I have only seen my mother cry once in 30 years. I've never wanted something so much for her. 

This year the state of North Carolina has cut all funding to private assisted living programs through medicare. So I sit here today asking the world with her for help. For my mother. So she can have this last chance to connect again. To feel alive and be a part of something.

The apartment is available in August and she needs $2300 to move in.  All size donations are deeply appreciated. 

Our goal of $30,000 would give her the opportunity to live here for a year and for my sister and I to get back on our feet physically and financially. This facility provides everything she needs including all of her meals and snacks, housekeeping, a full social event calendar (there was a singing puppet show when we were visiting a sister site that was hysterical), transportation, utilities, emergency response services, laundry, physical rehab for her osteoporosis, assistance for her dementia and more.

Most importantly, it would give my mom the opportunity to live in a community she loves with dignity, joy, connection and peace.

We humbly ask you to be a part of her last chapter and if you’re in Wilmington, NC she would love to have you over for lunch. I know mom would want to thank you personally and is certain to have plenty of stories she would love to tell you.

Thank you for your kindness.

  • Elaine Hartley 
    • $40 
    • 56 mos
  • Emily Sandack 
    • $25 
    • 56 mos
  • Melissa Daniel  
    • $25 
    • 56 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 56 mos
  • joan van melle 
    • $30 
    • 56 mos
See all


Richard Handy 
Wilmington, NC