Aging Parents

Life is really hard some weeks.

No, we haven’t been handed a cancer diagnosis…

or have sick kids..

or are on the brink of a divorce.

We’re eating well.

We have a safe and warm home.

I have a loving and kind family.

And most importantly, I am a daughter of The King.

This week I am counting my blessings and trying hard to keep perspective eternal.

It’s really hard.

My Mom has Alzheimer’s. She’s been struggling for years and almost died twice last year.

Her body pulled through.

Her mind did not.

This week my brother and I (and my kids) moved Mom from the nursing home where she recovered from pneumonia last spring to a Memory Care home.

It was terrible.

It is necessary.

I hated almost every minute of this trip.

Hated.

Everything you read, and see, and have learned about memory loss seems insignificant when it’s your parent.

When they can’t remember your name.

Or who you are.

When they are scared and agitated, and there is nothing you or anyone can do for them – except maybe placate… and lie… and enter their reality for just a second….

When one second they say they like their new”home”, and then ask who is taking them “home”.

When they beg you to stay and sleep on their floor because they’re scared and overwhelmed and can’t remember why they aren’t at the Nursing Home that they HATED…and they want you to take them back.

Or help them leave to go live with your siblings.

Or ask for their mom, to comfort them, but she’s been dead for 40 years.

And then you have to leave. Back to your home. Your warm, nice home, with your loving family, and your wonderful life. And your dog. Because, you can have a dog.

And Mom keeps talking as you have to walk out the door.

Talking about nothing, but it makes sense.

And you want to stay.

And you don’t.

And you leave, but you bring your guilt and shame with you. Home. Because you hate yourself for leaving her, but know there’s nothing else you can do.

That there’s nothing else she would want. Really. Probably?

She’s feisty and independent, and a Yankee through and through. and would never want to live in the Deep South. Crazy or not.

And could she ever be safe at a home? A normal house?

And you fear with every fiber of your being that you are looking at yourself in 30 years, and it’s so shockingly painful and scary that I type this through tears.

And you hate yourself for breathing out in relief that you get to leave.

And go home.

Home.

So I pray a lot now. Pray we did and are doing the right thing. Pray for my brother on the front line. Pray for relief for Mom. Pray for a cure. Pray for the return of our King and for a time when there will be no more tears.

And I pray for my Dad.

He’s 98% disabled and mentally also checked out. Both his body and mind are failing. Somehow their failing together seems more humane, but still horrible. He didn’t know who I was either. He’s in assisted living, but “home” in a way. His own space.

Confused but not scared.

Lost but not afraid.

Help, but not lock down.

I pray he won’t have to go there. Ever.

And then I pray more. I pray that God will teach me what this all means…to walk through this with my kids with Grace and not fear…and how to be compassionate…and for strength to be able to go witness this all again in a month… to not fear the plans He may have for me – now or in the future… and to not forget when I’m home…

In my nice home.

With my amazing family.

I can’t wait to be home.

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