Where to start…I have a lot of things speeding through my mind and felt the need to begin writing again. I feel that it is something God has given me and a way to share my heart. I wrote quite a bit when my dad was terminal and since then my mom has been on me about writing. I’m not sure I’ll ever accomplish all the things that she would like to see me try, but if I can help even one person in our social media world, I’ll count it as a success! I fully intend to resurrect my blog, but have to find the password. 🙂
As some of you know, my mom’s health has taken a turn for the worse. The short version of her story is that she was diagnosed with an interstitial lung disease at the end of September and has been in the hospital all but 8 days since then. Recently we moved her within our local hospital to intermediate care (long term care is what I have always known it as). It has been a difficult time and we have been busy with all things a family must do when their loved one reaches that stage of life. We have learned medical terminology and things about this condition that we’d rather not know, but is necessary in the journey my sister and I, along with our families, find ourselves walking through. The weakened condition of her lungs has caused damage to her cognitive abilities and we see the person we have always known and looked to as a source of strength fading away. She has good times of the day and not so great times, especially with her memory.
What triggered the need today for me to start writing was something so simple. I was folding towels. There’s another whole reason that folding towels may have triggered a memory for me, but that’s for another day… When we moved Mom’s things out of her apartment, I brought her towels, washcloths, dishrags home with me. As I was folding one of her kitchen towels, I was struck with a moment of sadness. An everyday item that she used, but no longer needed struck a chord in me. It reminded me of a couple of things. One, it reminded me of the saying I have hanging in my bathroom (pictured above). A kitchen towel isn’t really what I have ever pictured before when I thought of that saying, but it (along with any item) can be one of the little things that represent the big things. It represented for me, in the moment, the major life change that has occurred. She no longer needs some of the everyday items that we all use daily. Her time of doing dishes and caring for her home is over. That’s a harsh reality. As I ponder over this saying, it also represents all the things she has ever done for us. The millions of loads of laundry, meals, wiping up our messes both figuratively and literally…the list goes on and on. As quickly as this came to mind, I found myself pushing the hurt away. In all the times I have had a struggle in my life, my innate characteristic of pushing the pain aside and forging on to do the things that need done takes over. My second thought at the dryer, while folding towels, was to reflect on one of the very best lessons my mom ever taught us. That is to enjoy each stage of life God has granted you with. She has lived that out right in front of us. I rarely heard her wish for days gone by (the only exception is having her grand kids young again – not us (my strong willed nature may have made that one of the harder stages of her life 😉) and, of course, longing for my dad to be here – not necessarily reliving the past, but walking through this stage with her. She has always lived in the moment and embraced each stage she was in. Knowing that, I must push forward, not looking back to what was, but enjoying the time in this stage that we still have with her. It is about living in those moments of her humor and strength with her and each other. This last stage of her life, those “golden years that aren’t so golden” (another of her favorite things to say in recent years), has probably been the hardest she has personally had to live out and find contentment in. The first days in the hospital were far, far from easy. The reality of the situation has taken time to process. However, in recent weeks, we have seen her settle into contentment, knowing she’s in the best place for her, with incredible care being given to her. She LOVES her caregivers, as do we!!
This coming month we will begin seeing specialists that hopefully will be able to shed some light on what exactly we are dealing with and what, if anything, can be done for her. Thank you for the love and support you always have and continue to show our family. May contentment be a constant in your life, as it has been and continues to be in my mother’s.