Politician Hilkka Ahde was her mother’s caregiver for several years. Now there is grief work ahead.
Hilkka Ahteen’s mother, Kerttu Riikonen, has died last week at the age of 87. Ahde worked as her mother’s caregiver for almost ten years.
Iltalehti met Ahti at the restaurant Storyville’s 30th anniversary in Helsinki. The politician says sadness is strongly present.
– I’ve been tired and I’ve been feeling empty. However, life has to go on, that’s what mother would have wanted, Ahde says with emotion.
The relationship between mother and daughter was very warm. It was important to Ahte that her mother could live in her home until the end.
– Death was a relief for him. He was already ready to go.
A caregiver’s day consists of morning-to-evening routines that the loved one needs in everyday life.
– Even though family care is hard, there are an awful lot of good things in it. Just like taking care of a small child is hard, but it gives a lot back, it’s exactly the same in this family care, he says.
Exercise is still Ahtee’s real passion. Many remember him as the star of rhythmic gymnastics when the sport came to Finland in the 70s. Today, the woman enjoys water sports.
– I have emphasized to all caregivers that you have to take care of your own endurance and that is exercise. I have to remember to organize nice things for myself as well, so that there is something to look forward to.
Ahde is SDP’s candidate in this spring’s parliamentary elections in the constituencies of Helsinki. Caregivers’ issues are close to the woman’s heart.
– I haven’t had time to concentrate yet, since time has passed while crying, but next week we will send it to continue at full speed, he states.
During his life, Ahde has watched three of his loved ones fall ill. In 2019, her husband, Matti Ahde, died of cancer. The experiences have made the politician think even more about his own world of values.
– I would hope that euthanasia (initiative) would go ahead. It would have been better for my mother too, if she had gotten help a little earlier, says Ahde.
Kerttu was the first to report Riikonen’s death Evening News.