Meanwhile, here at the old homestead, I'm sporting a new accessory. An airboot. I'd take a picture of it, but I'm too tired to climb off the couch and go get my camera right now. I saw the doctor yesterday who informed me my overcompensating right foot definitely has a bone with a stress fracture in it. So for the next four weeks, I'll be quite the fashionista wearing this lovely boot, but I'm here to tell you, as soon as that boot was strapped on and pumped up, my foot began to feel better.
So Beve grabbed a journal for me again this month, and I read quite a bit of it before stopping myself. It was a very stretching time. My mom was still in her home but needed to move because she'd been getting lost around the town she'd been living in for 32 years, our church had an interim pastor who was very troubling (from my point of view) and I was seeing a counselor because I was struggling with paralyzing writer's block when it came to my book. Every journal entry was dripping with desire and worry about these things. Dripping with prayer.
And there's just so much back story to all of it, I hardly know how to pick one out and write about it. But hopefully that gives you the broad-stroke you need to enter in to what I was feeling/writing on a particular day.
I chose May 20, 2006 (Seaside, Oregon)
Mom's Birthday. Well, she's at the ocean. But what keeps going through my head are the words from John 21 where Jesus tells Peter, "When you are old, you will stretch out your hands; and someone will lead you where you do not want to go..." I've never thought of it in this particular context before, but these words could have been said to Mom. She's definitely being led where she does not want to go. She's so much farther down the path than she even knows...she actually has no real concept of how far she's deteriorated. From the outside she seems like a garrulous, sometimes confused old lady who has perhaps always been a little dim. But her brain used to be sharp--at least she had that. And now she's a mess. It's odd to see her so. Not just forgetful but unable to process simple things. This morning she went out for a walk and when she got back she told us she'd forgotten our room number. When we asked how she found us, she said she'd walked along the hallways sticking her key in every door until she found the one that made the light turn green. That was sum-total of her problem-solving ability. It never occurred to her that she could go to the front desk and ask. We'd been so worried about where she was, a couple of us were already out looking for her (she just gets up so dang early!).
And she acted like; no, I mean, she absolutely had NEVER heard about my nerve problems before. She asked if it was the same thing as what RE has. She didn't know RE has RA. All these very fundamental things. But the kicker was that when LD showed up as a surprise and we walked in in our matching T-shirts, Mom didn't react for a moment. It was like she didn't even recognize LD. Didn't know her own daughter. It was the strangest thing.
When I'm writing about this now, thinking of her in the next room, snoring away, she just seems so much herself. And yet so much is gone. How much more will go? And I'm aware that if she's being led where she doesn't want to go, it also means that we (her family) have to go with her. And that's always the hardest thing for me. That I have to go with her.
What is haunting about this is how far I thought she'd already deteriorated. And how much worse she was going to get before she died. And...how much God would teach me, soften me, love her through me before she finished that long, hard journey into dementia. There were still 4 long years of living ahead and there were very hard days to come.
Not light and sweetness tonight, but I will close by saying that God was faithful. It's a hard disease. That's all there is to it. But He is always faithful.