Thursday, November 05, 2015

In between two worlds

I must confess, a big part of my emotional energy was spent considering how to get my mother close to me, so I could take care of her as she aged. As excited I was to have her here in KS, she wanted to go back to PA.  I wonder if it would have been different if I had the Walden's big house with a spare bedroom for her.  I don't.  She knew it.  It ripped my heart from me. How could I blame her.  "She's a Pennsylvania girl, born and bred." I still wanted her close to me. She seemed to melt when I hugged her and told her how much I love her every day. We worked together, cheered together, but at the end of the day, she felt like she did not belong here. She told me once that when it was time to go the nursing home she'd rather be here.  So what was I to do when after a fabulous weekend in Annapolis she falls and ends up in the hospital? Well really after the beach she was so dehydrated she wound up in the ER. Far away from me, far away. I wanted to sneak back there and kidnap her. But me, on the threshold of the new school and volleyball, Erin's senior year and Alan's first year of junior high....

Then the fall that landed her in the hospital.  The unstable vitals. The news that the cancer has advanced considerably far beyond what we imagined. The insane transfer to the nursing home (have we sued for that yet?).  Wasn't it moving slow before...before she was house bound.  Depressed. Unmotivated. Dam it. Cancer loves depression and hopelessness.

Everyone jokes about the baby of the family. Everyone says how spoiled we are. It' true. I had what none of my siblings had and I loved her for it.  I LOVE HER for it.  She finally had time, she had finally settled down a little. She had dad to deal with, but somehow we had a connection that I cannot explain or apologize for. We both left our home towns and gave up careers for family. Neither of us got to care for our aged parents. I would like to think I have some important differences.  I own my choices and I have had some teaching and training that gave me some strength and assertiveness that she never found in this life. In the nursing home it was creepy.  They said I was her twin. "You look just like her." I never saw it, but wow. People who did not even know us saw it.

What I will miss the most is that she always encouraged me. Sometimes too much, she gave me way to much credit!  She prayed for me and in the end the fact that the woman that understood me and some of my struggles better than anyone has died. She, the woman who cheer leaded me is gone. The woman who trembled when I held her and by holding her and telling her how much I loved her and wanted her with me , isn't.
I miss you mom. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And here's the crazy...

Since returning to KS everyone was full of hugs, but also quiet: "Great mom's home. Life goes on!!" I have a few who wonder and get it and ask how I am doing.  OK, but not always peachy! As I was talking about this weekend when Erin and I will be heading to PA for mom's interment Chris was surprised, "that's this weekend?" Yes, 2 days.
Tonight: volleyball banquet: "yay, we made it to state. yay what a great year!!!"
Tomorrow night: football banquet: I can't even imagine.  What a hard working group of young men that because of injury and circumstance were not able to accomplish everything they wanted. It will be hard....and then SLAM
back to the east coast, family, hugs, love, mourning, sorrow, laughter, singing, sadness, connections, hello's, goodbyes.... I  love     you's    and a huge     gaping    black    hole    that I must enter that brings me back to home where most of them don't have a clue..... I'm not sure what it will be like having Erin with me. Maybe it will bridge these two worlds or maybe she'll be stuck in the gap as well.

Truth this emotional turmoil I know several things to be true.
  • Mom's life and death were not chance or happenstance, she is home with her creator God and she is at rest.
  • HE is my biggest help and encourager, always all the time, never sick, never sleeping, always able and willing to be my help and my God.
  • He is near to the broken hearted, HE is near to me.
  • I can be sad that I miss her, but I do not need to dismay. My God does not disappoint and I will see my mother again someday.
  • He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it in Christ Jesus.
  • Greater is HE that is in me, than he that is living in the world.
  • I can encourage my siblings by the hope I have in being faithful to the Truths of the Bible.
  • I can enjoy this life knowing that my mother loved and enjoyed seeing  her family thrive..

Friday, May 22, 2015


One day I think my son is so far behind he won't graduate and walk the state. Then he graduates and I wonder, will he get a good summer job, will he do all he needs to do to be ready for college?????  But he has graduated and for that I must give thanks, for this is something I have prayed for.  I do thank you, Father God for this mercy for in all his procrastination, he did not necessarily deserve it! On the other front, caring for the aged. I have always had a caretaker heart. If something needs taken care of I will do it until it either takes care of itself or it's taken from me.  It's as simple as breathing an I genuinely enjoy it. It makes my heart happy. So while at times taking care of mom is just an every day thing I wonder, 'how has this happened to a woman so strong, active and spunky?'. One never knows.

We were at an outdoor venue getting a burger and some people were smoking nearby. I asked mom if she wanted to go and visit with them and let them see what lung cancer and emphysema look like. She can't make a bed, get in a car or even a bed without being completely winded. Walking across a parking lot or a room is all it takes. In the midst of everything else every now and then the reality of what she is dealing with hits me, this will kill her. What will that look like? Will she suffer? How long will she suffer? Who will care for her and be there for her? It better be me. I have never wanted to be free of all other burdens just to take care of her, but who knows how long this might take. Trying to figure out what is poor memory and what is stubbornness bugs me. She won't walk to the dining hall, but is she afraid? Kind of.  She does not eat, but did she forget? Ugh! That is why deep down I just want to have her live with us. I want the kids to see both the struggle and the compassion. It is a part of family history that has been lost in our generation. Caring for the aged and by God they deserve it. They brought us into this world and provided for 18+ years can I not spare 2-4 or more? What does she want? Dignity. To be needed. She wants to be home. (I can't really give her that.)
Pray: always pray. Father God you ordain all things and through you all things hold together.  Give me peace as I step out of the way and let you be sovereign in this area of our lives. Would You be merciful to mom. You know her heart and her love for You.  Holy Spirit fill her with Your peace. Light the path before us, so that we know what is of You.  Thank you that this life is not the end and that we have the hope of heaven that is for us for eternity. Flood her heart with peace and speak calm to her as decisions need to be made, give us wisdom to act for her and for You.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


I have heard of this stage of life.  Caring for aging parents while still raising your own children.  I guess I thought I'd be older.  Ha! Here I find myself, with mother near me, dear to me, needing me and me wanting to be there for her. To be her helper.  It is as slow a process. Much like waiting for a toddler to wander down the road, while looking at every sound, calculating every move, manipulating every bite... slowly.  Meanwhile rocketing towards high school graduation is my oldest. This is uncharted territory, it has frozen me since August.  How do I do this next step and prepare for launching a son? There are enrollment dates, things to accept, things to prepare, things to complete.  If he were eager for his future and seemed ready, I think I'd be Ok, but he is one who seems hesitant to launch.  They are both hesitating to launch to the next step independently and I feel in the middle as helper and yet powerless.  "Get that job application in", I say.  "Did you go to lunch with the others?", I say.  "No", they say.  Choices, they each have choices.  Watching them struggle, one wanting independence but needing help. One wanting help, but needing independence.  Ey, the irony!  No wonder I am up at night ready to shed tears for both of them.  For I remember.  I remember feeling scared, uncertain, intimidated, angry at change maybe I did not choose.  Serenity, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. "That's it!", Charlie Brown yells. I cannot change these things, I must surrender to the role of accompanist.  I can do what I can and that is all I can do and I need not accept responsibility for more than that.  Emotional or physical.   I must do what I can do to ensure safety,  but I cannot rob another of the process.  I can set limits and boundaries as needed, but only for myself.  And pray they do the same.

Thank you Jesus for this time, for I feel you in it and I know You hold the ones I accompany in this process even closer than I do.  Your love for them is far greater.  Help me to both embrace and enjoy this time for it is truly ordained and You do not return void that which is ordained.
Amen and good night!