Monday, May 08, 2006

For Everything there is a Season....

*Sigh*

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.

16 comments:

Corry said...

I hope she will recover and this is just a temporary thing.
I keep praying for y'all.

God's Grace.

Pam said...

Hmm. Very nice post AC. I'm not sure what to offer. I don't think you were looking for sympathy or answers. It made me think you are doing what you said, readjusting. If we do it right, we come full circle. We end up caring for our parents the way they cared for us as infants and children. I like to believe it is the natural order of things. A balance to life.
Thank you for taking the time to share that with us. I know part of this was to help yourself but it means something to me as well.
Love Pam

Pilot Mom said...

Thank you, Pam. No, I wasn't looking for sympathy. I guess just trying to put my chaotic thoughts into some semblance of order.

I'm glad you were able to get something out of it!

Blessings on you, Pam!

HeyJules said...

I'm just sitting here at work trying not to bust out crying. That was just so unbelievably touching, Claire.

I want you to remember that there are people that can help you with your mom so you can have a break now and then. It's kind of funny that she changed like this overnight but I'm sure its all part of God's plan for your mother - and for you as her caretaker. It really sounds to me like she probably had a TIA - I've heard my friend talk about them over the years and how they can leave a person pretty much in tact but one or two things will just be "different."

In any case, at least she's still with you, still knows you, still can show love to you. I think that's the biggest blessing out of all of this - and I'm sure you feel the same way. It's just so hard moving up to the front of "the line" when it comes to losing our parents and then knowing the next generation to go is....US.

Pilot Mom said...

Thanks, Jules. We really do have a lot to be thankful for. I mean, after all, she could have been taken as fast as my Dad was. So for that I'm glad. She's been funny because she said this morning, "Is that today's paper?" To which I replied, "Yes, and you may read it after you are dressed and ready for the P/T." (I smiled.) She laughed and said to Pilot Dad, "She runs a taut ship, doesn't she?" I then said, "And, just where do you think I learned how to do that?" She laughed...

Hikingalong said...

Wow, what a post. Thank you for letting us see inside your life just a little. I'm dealing with the same thing with my mother and my mother in law. It's very hard to be the only caregiver. I'll lift you in prayer often. God bless you.

Pilot Mom said...

Thanks, Berrymom! I won't ever turn down prayer! :) Blessings to you, as well, as you care for your mother and MIL.

Jackie said...

I haven't been around in a while, I'm sorry to hear that things aren't going well with your mom. I hope and pray that things go well for you.

:)

Saija said...

my dad died at 72 ... i thought he was so young to go ... that was 5 years ago ...

my mom turned 70 last year and i think of her as young ...

i'm 52 and don't feel old at all ...

i guess that is a spiritual thing ... though our bodies are dieing, our spirits are being renewed ...

(hugs) to you dear Claire ...

LJ said...

There are aspects of growing old that I don't like to think of. I can't imagine being semi-to-fully in my mind, and yet my body will deceive me. I often think of my 'independent' mom at 84, and wonder what goes on in her mind each day to keep it full. I will continue to pray for you and your family as this new chapter enfolds.

~Jennifer said...

{{{{{Claire}}}}}}

I don't know what to say, except that suddendly I feel like visiting my parents.

Gina Burgess said...

Claire, I can most definitely identify. Life is good, but Eternity will be so much better. Hugs to you.

Carol said...

Claire, you honor your mother - well, both of your parents - with these words. She is blessed indeed to have you to care for her in this season of her life. May God bless you in return.

Pilot Mom said...

Saija, I remember in some of our other comments around the 'sphere that our dad's died in the same year. {{{hugs}}} to you!

Thanks, Jackie. I hope this are getting back in order from the break-in at the shop.


LJ, we don't like to think about or accept some of those things which are ahead of us, do we? That' why I think it is so important to keep our eyes focused on the One who can bring us through them triumphantly.

Jennifer, I hope you do!! Or, if they don't live close, then call or drop them a card! :)

Oh, Gina, won't it be?! Truly, I believe each day that goes by makes me yearn for it that much more!

Thanks you so much, Carol. It really has been a special time.

jackabug said...

I got a lot from your post. It is Mother's day and my mother is dying
and reading this gave me some comfort.Jackie C.

Pilot Mom said...

Welcome, Jackie. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. It's never an easy thing to go through. One of my other good blogging friends, Gayla, just lost her mother 2 months ago. You may find encouragement on her site. You can get to her by clicking on my sidebar on Journey of the Heart.

I hope you will come back to visit and may you always leave refreshed.
If there is anything I can do, please let me know. For sure, I will begin praying for you and your mother. God Bless...