Author urges us to 'plant a seed of love which flourishes like endless coloured flowers.'

Author urges us to 'plant a seed of love which flourishes like endless coloured flowers.'

May 20, 2013

All of us are living love stories and some of those stories express tenderness towards the elderly who are spouses, mothers or fathers, friends and soulmates, who have lost their autonomy.

To recognize the contribution of seniors whose names remind us of meaningful moments of love, success, hardship and pride, the Pare Labrecque Centre requested a day of compassion for voiceless seniors.

Since 1994, the mission of the centre has been to promote better quality care.

Over the years, hundreds of students graduated and are now caring with respect and dignity across Canada and abroad.

Lately, it is mostly through conferences that, as the founder of the centre, I meet with health care leaders "in touch" with the daily living conditions of seniors suffering a loss of autonomy to promote unconditional love by creating a bond between caregiver and patient.

The Pare Labrecque Centre started in 1994 when I was journeying with my father suffering from Alzheimer's disease and also with Sister Maria Labrecque who was a close friend and soulmate, suffering also from cognitive impairment.

To turn the pain into a project became the challenge. During her illness, Maria and I had a common activity. I prepared the flowers and Maria coloured thousands of them over the years.

They travelled around the world, have been used for fundraising and also became the cover of my book, The Passion of Loving. The book offers hope, guidance and inspiration to all those affected by loss of autonomy, either directly or indirectly.

Following a conference led by Wayne Dyer on Writing from the Soul this last April, I planned to have The Passion of Loving re-edited in the United States and to include a flower with every copy. Love stories need to travel . . . and to be heard.

The proclamation of May 20, Maria's birthday, as A Day of Compassion is a call to tenderness, a call to recognize the sacredness of human beings.

Nearly 15 years ago, during the International Year of the Older Person, Senator Dan Hays promoted the motion to recognize A Day of Compassion which the Senate approved as a sign that Canada respects its seniors.

Long-term care facilities and groups still join in this celebration. A number of Canadian cities and 120 countries have responded to celebrate our love stories. The centre's logo, the Flower of Compassion, has travelled around the world to recognize voiceless seniors.

I invite all to celebrate May 20 as a Day of Compassion every year as a tribute to our loved ones. You can also colour a flower, share ice cream with your loved ones or create your own way of celebrating.

Together, we pursue our call to be a voice for voiceless seniors who belong to our heart and we plant a seed of love which flourishes like endless coloured flowers.