It’s Time

Slowly, slowly, she made her painful way through the kitchen.  Her eyesight dimming, she had not yet detected my presence there in the room, so I could watch unnoticed and register every discouraged sigh.  Then, with sad resignation, these words:

“I don’t know why this has to be so hard.”

Sadly, I realized that it was time to open the door to a different “hard” – a conversation that I was not ready to initiate about a topic that she was not ready to discuss.

“Mum, it’s time.”

“It’s time to find a safe place for you to live where you won’t have to be afraid of falling;

where you won’t have to climb stairs;

where you won’t have to be alone so much of the time;

where the people in charge know how to help you.

Five years ago, recovering from devastating surgery, Mum had asked, and we had said the hard “yes” that started this journey together in our home.  Renovating space to create a bedroom, equipping our bathroom with all the necessary hardware for her safety, embedding her routines into the rhythm of our days, we made the adjustment.  Our rallying cry and our plumb line:  “This is the right thing to do.”

Mum’s television, her word search puzzles, and the entertainment value attached to the daily comings and goings of her four grandsons filled her days to the brim.  As the one who tries to orchestrate all those comings and goings, I barely noticed Mum’s gradual decline.  Two graduations, a wedding, a new baby grandson, and five gardening seasons  whizzed by, and suddenly Mum had become a triple threat to herself:  vision, balance, and mobility all compromised, and all pointing to trouble.

When, I wondered, did she start resenting the guests who came to our home?

“I just want to sit down here and eat!” she grouched, pointing at the dining room table, laden with a buffet meal for over twenty guests.

And then there was the day of flames and popcorn in the microwave . . .


My friends over at Soli Deo Gloria are sharing this article about caregiving, change, and God loosening my roots.  I hope you’ll come on over by clicking here to read through to the conclusion.  Come as you are!  There’s always a welcome, and be sure to read some of the other challenging essays while you’re visiting.

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11 thoughts on “It’s Time”

  1. Michele, I imagine that has to be very difficult to live through and observe. And a difficult decision to make. What I always think of is that it will be me in less time than I’d like to think about. I sure will want to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness. Marlene Bagnull, the woman behind the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers’ Conference just published a book called, “My Turn to Care: Encouragement for Caregivers of Aging Parents.” You can visit her website for more information Thanks for sharing this.


  2. Oh, such tough conversations and decisions. Praying for you and your mother to discern the right next steps and to lean into God’s love through it all.


  3. I have not yet crossed this path with my own parents. Praying for wisdom and revelation for you as you continue walking this path and making decisions concerning your mom.


  4. Yes, the hard conversations of life…headed to finish reading your beautiful words Michele. Mom and Dad just moved to assisted living last summer at 89 & 90. And I was “nominated” as the sibling to initiate the discussion. Hard…

    Hugs. Susan


  5. I’m so glad you’re sharing your experience with this difficult journey – I’m not nearly there yet, but need all the wisdom your generation can give. Thanks for being part of #SmallWonder, Michele.


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