Saturday, June 19, 2010

Holding Loosely to Life and Expectations

My mom is trying to leave this world and join the Lord and my dad and countless others, but God seems to be holding her here for some reason that will very probably remain unknown to us on this side of eternity.

She is tired and breathing has become more of an effort and she sleeps more, yet her mind is lucid and her humor intact. Hospice and her caregivers at the home she is now in are all taking care to see that she is comfortable and treated with as much dignity as possible.

Fred and I returned a day early from our vacation because we got a call from the nurse from the facility that she had taken a turn for the worse and the hospice nurse came and saw her and told us "Probably sometime this weekend". I cried and drove and had Fed text people to pray as we traversed miles of beautiful Arkansas and Missouri roads. It was a bittersweet ride home. I was driving because on hilly, winding roads I get motion-sick and it is not pretty. Fred was quite happy to relieve me when we got to I-44.

I spent Thursday evening with my sister and her. Then she told us to go home. She had been in bed all day, with labored breathing, barely eating or drinking, and sleeping for the most part. Fred came by to see her, Erin got by earlier in the day, and one of my sister's sons had come by. We both sort of thought we'd  get a call in the night.

No call. I arrived yesterday morning and she was dressed and sitting in her wheelchair visiting with the hospice chaplain!!! My emoter meter was flying all over the place. My words upon seeing her were at best ungracious. "You're up and dressed? You've put makeup on?!? What is going on?!?"  I do believe the look on the chaplain's face was thinly disguised horror at my greeting. I then hugged her and sort of apologized for my greeting, but explained we had come home a day early the day before.

My sister's response was similar when I called her and relayed the news to her. I had to hold the phone away from my ear for a bit as she absorbed and processed the info.

We both stayed there for a bit, took her to lunch in the dining room along with the hospice aide, visited with her there, and then told the hospice aide so long. We took her outside so she could feel just how stifling the heat was and she quickly wanted to go back inside and then wanted to lie down.

Josh came by and surprised her as she rested in her bed and it was a very sweet time with him and her and me and my sis. We watched the bird-feeders I placed  outside of the window and talked and even watched the drama of a young hawk capturing a sparrow and sitting on the grass with him for a bit trying to figure out how to grasp well enough so he could fly off with it. He finally figured it out. She could not see this drama, but enjoyed our account of it as it unfolded.

By the time we left she was getting ready to eat dinner in bed and was extremely tired.

Up and down that is what this season looks like and I wrestle with myriads of conflicting feelings.

This is what my sweet friend told me that is going through the exact same scenario with her mom.
"Take advantage of every moment she 'rallys' and know you won't regret those times when she was up in her chair and could go on a walk with you or look at other things and talk about them or just sit together. These are all memories you'll never regret having made together."

Anyone who knows me or has read an earlier posting in this blog knows that this season of my mom's life has been used by God to create a new and amazing relationship with her. He miraculously softened my heart towards her and I quit waiting for her to soften towards me and she has responded by becoming the affectionate mom I always craved and never had!!! I have received more hugs and kisses and " I love you"s than I have in all the prior years! At first it felt awkward and a little uncomfortable. Now it is a gift every time we see each other. The response of a heart to grace extended is a powerful thing to behold! I feel that I have trodden on holy ground.

So, I am realizing that this timing thing as far as slipping from this life into the next is best left to God and I need to hold loosely to my expectations and hold  her and others I love closely for the remaining time we have here together. The greatest gifts God is giving me out of this hard time is a redeemed mother/daughter relationship and NO REGRETS!

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