As I was sitting with Mom today she said, “I’m here. I’m not here for this though.”
I’m not sure what she meant, or if she even knew what she meant. She keeps being more confused. She didn’t know my name today, or her John 3:16 Bible verse, that she could say perfectly not too long ago. She didn’t know her daddy’s name or her mama’s. But she could still name all nine siblings in birth order perfectly!
I cleaned out some drawers while I was there and found all kinds of little treasures. I found a piece of yellow note pad paper with the full names and birthdays of all mom’s children and grandchildren, recorded in her handwriting. She has her own birthday written down as well. I wonder if she was afraid she was forgetting….
I found another page where mom wrote down every teacher she could remember and what grade or subject they taught.
I found report cards and diplomas that Mom still had stored for us kids. And birth announcements of nieces and nephews. And old school assignments and birthday cards. I gave some of the cards to Mom because they are hers and she likes looking at them. She read them for a bit and then started calmly tearing them up. That’s what she does now for some reason.
I found an old yellowed clipping from Dear Abby where she shares “A Parent’s Prayer”. I’m not sure what year the paper was from, but an ad on the back says you could see a matinee for sixty cents at the cinema in the mall.
I found some precious photos, worn out because they were carried in a billfold. I even found my dad’s Air Force discharge papers!
And I’m thinking of all the love and work and tears that are represented by these simple pieces of paper that I’m collecting. What stories they tell!
And meanwhile, Mom is ripping up cards. And Dad is exhausted because he didn’t sleep last night worrying about how he will get Mom off the floor if/when she falls again.
And I think again about Mom’s quote, “I’m here. I’m not here for this though.” And I wonder if Dad ever thinks that himself. And how many care-givers might echo the thought.
None of us would choose to deal with Alzheimer’s, but this is where we are. This is where God has allowed us to be. And this is where we will see His grace as He gives us strength to walk through this.
So I will choose to be thankful that my mom once knew all her children and grandchildren and their birthdays and that she loved us all. And I will be thankful for all the life and sweet memories represented by the papers I found today. And, as a mom, I will pray The Parent’s Prayer myself.
The last sentence of it is…”And fit me, O Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children. Amen.”
What a blessing it is that this is the kind of mom I’ve had.