This week I held my six month old granddaughter while my son offered her a spoon of her very first taste of solid food. She reacted with eagerness and grabbed hold of the spoon and all around the table her relatives delighted in her. And we laughed and smiled and took such joy in her first tastes of applesauce.
And then this afternoon, I sat close to my mama. And I offered her spoons of food because she doesn’t try to feed herself anymore. And Mama opened her mouth each time and she chewed the food as she stared blankly at me. And my heart was heavy.
I tried talking to Mama, but she didn’t respond. I tried singing to Mama, but she didn’t seem interested. I told her I loved her many times. And she didn’t reply. And no matter what I did I couldn’t get her to smile.
And Mama shouted, “I hate you!”
And I answered, “Well, I love you.”
But Mama did reach out and pluck at my blouse. And she rubbed her fingers gently on my arm, as she usually does when I feed her. And that is about as connected as we get lately. So I savor those sweet touches.
But I long for her smile. And I wonder if I’ll ever hear her say my name or “I love you, too” on this earth again. And my heart crumbles.
And I’m reminded of the Bible verse I read last week, Psalm 35:14b (NKJV), “…I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.” And I take comfort in the thought that King David and God know that there is a special kind of mourning for one’s mother.
It bows you down. It’s heavy. It’s hard.
I remind myself often that the end of the story is good. Because Mama knew Jesus when her mind was healthy and trusted Him with her life. And so I have the certain hope that I will see Mama restored when we meet again in Heaven. And her smile will be more beautiful than ever. And she will know me and say my name and hug me close.
And we’ll never be bowed down heavy again.
And until then, I can look for the blessing moments. I can treasure the tender touches Mama gives me. I can thank God for the loving care givers Mama has and for my son and daughter who are so helpful to their grandparents.
Until then I can hide under the shelter of my Abba Father’s wings and pour out my heart to Him and know the comfort that only He gives.
Until then I can marvel over my beautiful granddaughter and enjoy every first with her.
Until then I can trust that God will give us grace for each day. And I can know that He is faithful and that His tender mercies surround us.
Thank you for this. Somehow I’m helped to acknowledge “…it bows you down. It’s heavy. It’s hard.” Hiding with you under the shelter of His wings!
Thank you, Linda. I know what you mean. So thankful for His wings! Blessings! ~Cheryl
Thank you for your beautiful blog and writing. I know it is probably mostly a personal outlet for you but it has blessed me greatly. I stumbled upon it recently from a friends facebook post but am also a social worker for the Alzheimer’s Association and a Christian and work with families such as yours daily. There is not a whole lot of beauty in this awful disease but you seem to find those glimpses and small blessings and I appreciate the reminders you provide to me as a professional and caregiver. Thankfully the “end” is not this temporary body here on earth but the treasures we have stored up in Heaven that we can look forward to enjoying for eternity. Blessings to you and your family on your journey.
Thank you, Sarah. Writing has been therapy for me for sure. And I am double blessed when I hear from people like you that it blesses them! Heaven is absolutely the certain hope that keeps me going!! Thank you for your encouraging comment. Blessings to you and your job/ministry as well! ~Cheryl
I’ve read three of your posts, now, just today. I saved “What I’ll say…” from a friend’s Facebook post, last week, and I’ve gone from that to “Lessons of Goodbyes” and this one.
My mom is 98 and pushing on to your 99th birthday, in July. She is not sick, but she is old and in a lot of pain from arthritis and other such ailments. And she has some memory loss, but still knows us and very infrequently even calls me. We live almost 500 miles away and are in our 70’s, with very bad backs, so we’re not able to make the trip, often. My sister lives near her, and we have a caregiver in her room 12 hours a day, with another who checks on her every two hours during the night.
That still gives her opportunities to fall, and she fell, last night. She has a large lump on her head, but has still been lucid. One of these days, she won’t fall, anymore, and her mind will work at least as well as it ever did. But, today, I’m feeling the distance of time and space between us, and I know I’m going to miss my mom, when she’s had her last fall. I miss her now.
Thank you for making her therapy available to others. It allows a kind of fellowship of suffering, which is part of sharing our faith in Christ–whose resurrection we are celebrating, today. He is risen!
Vicki, that would be hard to be so far away from your mom.I’m sorry to hear about her fall. I’m thankful you find a fellowship here! I know it’s been a blessing to me. He is risen indeed! ~Cheryl