Some days and weeks and even seasons of life are more difficult. But we can be hopeful. Momma says.
Dad called after midnight last night. Mom had fallen again. Third time this week! He needed help. I was grateful my oldest daughter was spending the night with us and heard the phone ring and offered to help.
We rushed over and found Mom and Dad in the bedroom. Dad had managed to get Mom over to the bed, but her knees were still on the floor. We tried to lift her, but couldn’t. We put a gait belt on her and still were struggling.
At one point Mom went quiet and limp and I was afraid something serious was happening. Then I heard her snore. Her shoulders and head were on the bed as we’d been trying to lift her and she’d fallen sound asleep and was snoring away!
We finally managed to get her legs up on the bed and get her comfortable. Then we had to talk her into staying in bed, because she was wide awake again. My daughter and I went back home and struggled ourselves to get to sleep.
Then Dad called this morning asking for help. Mom had a messy accident and sheets and bedding needed to be washed and the floor checked. Taking a break, while I was over there, I sat down near Mom and asked her, “How are you?”
And Mom answered, “I’m hopeful.”
Hopeful isn’t a word I’ve heard Mom say in years, and was an interesting answer to my question. She couldn’t explain what she meant when I asked, and probably didn’t really know what she’d said. But when things like that happen, I always wonder if God is sending me a word. Especially with the way my weekend had been going.
Yesterday, my husband and I took his mom out for her 92nd birthday lunch. As we were waiting in the restaurant for our order she said, “We used to come here with friends after church. There was about eight of us. We’d sit over there.” She pointed to another section of the restaurant. “Now,” she added, “most of them are in nursing homes or dead.”
Later in the day I called an elderly aunt. I told her who I was and she sounded happy to hear from me. I told her I was visiting my folks. She responded sweetly, “Oh, at the cemetery?” We soon figured out that she’d misheard my name and thought I was Clara, her maid-of-honor. We both had a chuckle.
But during the conversation she mentioned that she used to have a bunch of friends who would come over to have coffee and play cards, and now they’re all dead.
And I kept thinking about these conversations last night. Life is so challenging. And the older we live to be the more loss we’ll experience. The more people we’ll have mourned. As my mother-in-law often says, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.”
But Mama says she is hopeful. And I can be, too. Because we know Jesus, and we know He is preparing a beautiful future for all those who believe in Him. We will see friends and family again. Someday we’ll have a joyous reunion that will never end.
Then there will be no more painful falls or messes. Then there will no more empty chairs and no more sad shadows of things that used to be.
Life is often hard now. But we can hold onto Jesus and tell others about Him. And we can know that He is with us now and He’ll help us through all the painful stuff and He’ll even work it all out for good.
So I’m thankful Mama says she’s hopeful. And I’m so grateful that with Jesus we have every reason to be!
Update: I wrote this post in 2014. Now all the older people I quoted are with Jesus themselves. Mom, Dad, my mother-in-law and my aunt are reunited with their families and friends who trusted Jesus, too. They are having sweet fellowship with Jesus and a joyful gathering with that same “crowd of witnesses” that is cheering us on.
I don’t miss the midnight calls or the scary falls. But I do miss Mom and Dad. I think about them every day. But my grieving is less painful and more gentle these days. I take comfort in the memories we made together and in knowing they are at peace and in paradise.
And I know the saving grace of Jesus will bring us all together again and for eternity. The best is yet to come! And so, as Momma said, I’m hopeful. I hope you are, too.