Continued from last week’s blog . . .
For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away what is promised (Hebrews 10:36).
Journal June 5, 2007 I’ve decided to extend my stay another 5 days with my parents in Sebring. Mom is emotionally spent. She’s finally moving from the anger stage to the grieving stage. Slowly she’s learning her way around the house and adjusting to a new kitchen—a major hurdle with her macular degeneration. She’s getting help with handling the finances, and the nurses are assisting with Dad’s baths and other needs. The final challenge is learning how to shop in a new grocery store.
Each day gets a little better, but each day puts me closer to leaving. I played my last Scrabble game with Mom as her eyesight is too poor to continue. It’s not a matter of unpacking physically for my parents, though that’s important, but it’s a matter of unpacking emotionally.
My sleep schedule is off as they keep the house so warm it’s hard to sleep. My mind is racing all the time like a giant switchboard, and all the lights and rings are happening at once. Is this how Mom feels? I can step backwards, out of the switchboard room in my mind, but I still feel the responsibility of having to reenter it. I know there’s beauty behind me, but I’m still facing the room. I can’t seem to turn around. Who will take care of the switchboard if I turn my back on it? How can I turn my back on responsibility?
Like my mother, I can sit on a chair for a while and rest.
June 10. My last day in Sebring, I was awoken by Mom yelling for me. Dad had fallen while trying to reach for his hearing aids, and he cut a two-inch gash in his head. We rushed him to the hospital where I had to leave them in the ER in order to get to my plane on time. I stopped by their house to pack, racing around to get the rooms in order as best I could, including soaking sheets, towels and Dad’s shirt that were all covered in blood.
Planes in Orlando were grounded for a huge storm, and I arrived in Miami just half an hour before my flight to Nashville was due to take off. My connecting gate was on the opposite end of the terminal and no shuttle available. I ran till I thought I would pass out and boarded just as they were closing the doors. I did not want to spend the night in the Miami airport! I arrived home at midnight (my body’s time) and of course my luggage was not on the plane.
This was not the way I wanted to leave my parents . . .
June 14, 2007. As I settle back into a routine at home, all the switchboard lights come on at once. I find I’m still needed—by my husband, by my kids, by my friends, by my parents, by those to whom I minister. It’s nice to be needed—I think. But what if I don’t want the role? Then what!? Have I created that dependency on me, or is it my God-driven, God-given role? I gladly give to those in need, but we all have to take turns. The past two weeks were Mom and Dad’s turn.
People’s neediness manifests in various ways. Physically, my parents needed me to help them get settled into their new home. Emotionally, they needed even more, but only God can take away their pain. What I can do is create an atmosphere by my words and deeds that provide the support whereby a person can be drawn to God.
But what if a person is “unloveable”? What is impossible with man is possible with God.
My prayer today is for a deeper love for people—especially the needy ones in my life. I may be repulsed by people’s attitudes and sin, but I am to love them anyway. Did Jesus love the Pharisees? By His words of rebuke, you’d wonder! He was awfully hard on them. Yet He died for them—His actions proved it.
When is it hard for you to love someone?
Wow, you are so good with words. It is so hard to have aging parents, and yet so thankful that you and I had wonderful Christian parents. This makes me extra thankful that my parents were nearby and I could see them nearly every day. They adjusted well to their moves and that made my life easier. Now we can think of their time with Jesus, in heaven. I hope our children will be as loving and kind and helpful when our turn comes. I’m loving your blog and your wisdom that you share. Blessings!!
My prayer is that I will handle old age with grace! Never having walked through the valley of the shadow of death, who knows how I’ll respond.
Thank you for sharing so much: your pain and confusion and exhaustion. I understand. I think I will walk through that Valley kicking and screaming and asking for one more day, one more adventure, one more day to heal. Then maybe when I’m 150 I’ll be ready to go … but probably not. I hope I age gracefully, but not being very graceful, we shall see.
Watching our parents, who were our support, struggle with age and infirmity is difficult. One of the last pictures I have is of my dad in the hospital bed after his stroke, and just hours before he died. He’s sleeping and it appears as if he could just get up and walk out. It doesn’t look like anything happened to him — he looks so young, even at 91, and I think he should still be here. It’s ten months since he died and I miss him every day. Could I have done more for him, been there more often? I asked, he said no, he was fine. And then he wasn’t. The questions and confusion and pain are normal and okay. This far out I can grieve.
I appreciate how you wrote this. Thank you. It helps clarify something I didn’t know needed clarifying. All things are valuable.