Letting Go

I have to apologize to my readers as this posting is not very spiritual or enlightening.  It’s about my mother.

It’s been about 2 years since my mother passed.  She was the victim of Alzheimer’s.

Around 2006 my step-father passed.  At the funeral I was approached by several members of my step-father’s family.  It was a difficult time, and what they had to say was most distressing.  They wanted us to put mother in a facility.  Well, that was out of the question, for there was nothing wrong with mother, or so we thought.  I thought, at the time, how insensitive it was to confront us with such a possibility at such a time of grief and loss.

But, it wasn’t long after, we began to get the fuller picture of our mom’s condition.  The first step was to keep her from injuring herself, or others, by removing her car privileges.  The car was at first disabled, and then eventually sold to another family member.  All in an effort to keep her safe.  But, it was still painful.

Of course, the time soon arrived where she would have to leave her assisted living facility to move into a full-time care facility.  It was nice, and ‘homey’.  Almost like a miniature home, with a small kitchen, living area, and bedroom.  She was still able to greet visitors and know us.

But, as time went on, this had to give way to a more controlled environment, so another move was required.  This facility had less of the ‘home’ environment and was more clinical and functional.  Still, she seemed ok, just a little disoriented by the moving process.

This facility proved well for a couple of years, and visits were not unpleasant.

Then more moves were required.  Some were necessary because of the increased care, and some were performed out of economic necessity.  I was so grateful that my sister and brother-in-law lived close enough to take on this thankless burden of providing constant care for mother.

Then the hard period began.  Mother did not know who we were, or what we were doing there.  But, she smiled and laughed and we made the best of the visits, as painful as they were.  Of course, the rest of her health slowly deteriorated, as well.  Eventually, she fell and injured herself, which ended her ability to walk around on her own.

She became less engaged, and eventually stopped smiling, and laughing.  She was in her own world, where memory and regrets are long lost.  She had little connection with things, people, or the past.  The room she occupied was stripped of normal home comforts, and consisted mostly of a bed, tiled floor, and a curtain for semi-privacy.

But, she was still my mother.  She was no longer the mother I had grown up with, or the mother I knew as an adult.  She could longer reason or speak, or even remember, but she was still my mother.

I guess the hardest thing to deal with was to witness the slow deterioration of her capacity and life.  But, I had confidence that her faith and devotion to Christ for all of her adult life would bring her the ultimate victory.  Victory over disease, victory over weakness and physical aging and frailty, victory over death itself.

When she passed I had a mix of emotions.  I was grieved and sad, but I was happy and excited, too.  I had lost my mother to a terrible disease that had stripped her mind and eventually her body of all life and memory.  But, I was happy and excited that she was now free, and no longer bound by the limits that human life impose on us.

I was reminded of a story my mother told me when I was young.  She told me, “My mother was very ill, and I was very concerned about her.  But, one night I had a dream.  In this dream my mother was dancing and running and jumping.  I kept telling her, ‘Mother, please stop, you will hurt yourself’, but my mother kept going and saying, ‘Oh, but I feel so wonderful, and free!’.  Only a few days later my mother passed away, and I knew that God had given me the dream to let me know that she would be ok, and not to worry.”

So, to those who suffered in mind and spirit watching my mother slowly taken by this dreadful disease, I have good news for you – She is fine, and is now living free and unhindered by the limits this life imposes on us.

Go ahead, Mother – dance and run, and shout if you want to – you’ve earned it…

One Response to “Letting Go”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    Wow! What a moving and touching blog! We lived through this with my grandmother only my mother was the caregiver until the end (which was really taking its toll on her health). 2 days ago made 11 years now that my very own grandmother has been “free”! Thank you Brother Chuck for such an uplifting blog and reminding us that there is truly hope in knowing the Lord. Blessings!

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