Sometimes you just need to sit still and hold your loved one’s hand and sing every song you can think of. That’s what I did today.
There was still cleaning I needed to do, but Dad was putting his groceries away and doing some other chores and Mom was getting agitated and feeling alone. So I hung up the phone where I was waiting on hold to confirm an appointment. And I thought about those little sayings that people tell the young mommies, like—the dust isn’t going anywhere, but the childhood is. And I thought… that’s true for our time with the elderly, too.
Looking back at our journey so far with Alzheimer’s, I wish I’d gone out on more mom-daughter dates while Mom could still get in and out of the car fairly easily and was okay not having Dad right there all the time. Because now that door is closed.
And I wish I’d called her more often, while she still knew how to talk on the phone. Because now she doesn’t know what a phone is or how to hold it or how to talk in it. That door is closed.
But I am thankful I made scrapbooks with Mom when I first saw her memory changing. Her long-term memory was still excellent then. I’m so grateful we went through old family photos together and talked about her childhood. We got it in before that door closed.
So, looking to the future, I wonder what I will be thankful for, or regret, when the next door closes. God reminds us, through Paul, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:16-17,NLT)
And I think, someday my mama won’t be able to sit next to me gently petting my arm and saying with surprise and laughter, “Oh, my goodness!” as I tell her stories of her own life.
And someday she may not be able to tap her fingers to the songs I sing and fill in some lyrics here and there and smile brightly at me. Someday she may not listen to me read the Bible and say, “I like that.”
Someday she may get no comfort from me sitting next to her while Dad is busy. But today she does.
And so I pray that I’ll be sensitive to God’s leading and promptings. And I pray that God will help me make the most of every opportunity and that I’ll understand what He wants me to do.
And today I will sit and hold Mama’s hand and sing every song I can think of. With a grateful heart.