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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