Really, I think it truly is a new season in my life. She has needed help with many things yet, at the same time, she desired to be independent. Whenever I left the house and was going to be gone during a meal, I had to make sure everything was out and opened for her since her hands do not function well. She would do her thing and I would do my thing and we also did "things" together. She hasn't been able to drive since she moved here so I've always had to take her for any of her appointments or when she desired to go shopping. Also, she loved to watch tv, keeping up with all the current news and politics. And, she always stayed up late at night, like maybe to 1 a.m.
There has been a decided change in her. My mom is a different person. The doctors said it could be a combination of things, the infection, medication, imbalance of electrolytes etc, or even a TIA (like a "mini" stroke). They really don't know what to tell us.
Now, she is like a sweet child. She hasn't really wanted to watch tv. Tonight I asked her if she wanted me to turn off her oxygen so she could hear her tv better. She told me that was fine, but that she really wasn't all that interested in tv. I asked if she had a hard time following what was happening or maybe she was having a hard time processing.... She looked at me and said, "I don't know. I just have no interest in it and I don't know why. That seems so different for me."
Trust me, it is definitely different! She sits a lot in her chair or out in the family room, not saying too much. Or she will go back to bed and sleep.
Today I brought her Saturday's paper before we left for church since I knew she hadn't read it yet. When I came home she said she was through with it..."at least all I'm going to look at. But, I can't seem to put it back together in order. Will you do that for me, please?" I brought her today's Sunday paper and she still hasn't opened it.
She is like a child. I've put her to bed Friday and Saturday BEFORE 9 p.m. Can you imagine? I've totally taken over the administering her meds...I've had to out of necessity. I tell her what to do and she meekly accepts it and does it. She has not tried to fight me on anything. Nor has she gotten mad or upset with me because she didn't like what or how I was doing something.
In fact, yesterday on the way to the restaurant, maybe a 10 minute drive, she must have complimented me about 10 - 15 times. Then she proceeded to tell us how proud she was of both of her daughters and her son-in-laws. And, how happy she was to be alive.
She believes she was in the hospital for weeks not over night. There's difficulty processing times and the order of things to be done. And, she doesn't like to be left alone. I believe it scares her to be alone...maybe because she fears what could happen? I don't know.
I just know, that the fiesty, independent, strong woman who could run her home and take care of a teenager and a down's son while her husband was in Vietnam, or TDY etc., is no longer here. It's a major adjustment. A MAJOR adjustment for me. She is now requiring all of my time. I need to dress her, and undress her. Help her in many more areas than before. When I went to wake her this morning, she smiled up at me from the bed, just like Pilot did as a toddler when I would go in and wake him up.
It's never like we imagine it, is it? I've thought many times what it will be like at the end for my mother. When my father died, it certainly was not at all what I had envisioned. And, it was so quick. I felt like I really hadn't had time to say goodbye. But, I know when it is all said and done, even though it wasn't what I would have chosen, it is still perfect, even in it's seemingly imperfections. I know that people pass on their legacy's not only in how they have lived but in how they die.
I guess the important thing for me is to remember to make my Mom feel important. She still grieves for my father and now, she is hearing of more and more of their friends who are passing away. Yet, she still remains.
I can remember thinking that I'll live "forever." Well, forever until I was "old," like 80. Then when I was in my 20's, really old was still a person in their 80's. But, older was someone in their late thirties or older. As I reached my mid-30's my brother died. I remember looking down at his still body early that morning. He made me understand that 30 isn't old at all. In fact, it is a very short time on this dot that we call life. Once again I readjusted my thinking.
When, my father died at 84 I still thought he was too young to die. Oh yes, he looked old and moved much slower but he was still too young to die. After all, we were just beginning on this journey called the "last years." He was the one who would live forever, he was the one who always knew what to do, he was the man who was so humble and gracious, and loving, and kind. And he was gone. He was the one who loved my mother unconditionally.
Losing a parent is the last line of defense between the living and the dead. They aren't supposed to die, yet they do. I can remember how I never thought they aged and then on one of my trips home I saw such a difference. Somehow, we live our lives knowing that God is in control, yet at the very same time, we think we have some control too. Oh, yes, I have free will in choosing how I live my life, that privilege granted to me by God . But when it comes to death, we may think we have a say but God reminds us that it is He that is in control.
As we look at God's ways there is something else. It is only in death that our ultimate legacy can be left. "I tell you the truth," says Jesus in John 12:24, "unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."
That's where life really begins...at death. Meanwhile, I go on, praying that when my time comes, I'll be found faithful to those I've left behind.