Psalm 85:5-6

Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
asTea they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being led where she didn't want to go

It's Random Journal Day over at Dawn's new (blog) home, and I'm excited to be part of the crowd in her new digs. Should be lively, entertaining and always encouraging. Hope you check it out when you finish reading my post. Check these other blogs or add your own.

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. 
That's all.

8 comments:

Dawn Maurice said...

Hugs and tears...My husband just watched his mother go through the same thing the last two years. Thank you for sharing on RJD--this took me back to those memories and I am thankful she's now at peace.

Dawn Paoletta said...

Oh, it is a hard disease. I had someone say to me when their mother got so out of it...and she just kept saying how drastically she had changed. ANd how hard it was to comprhend this woman who knew so much scripture etc. could not recall any. But even if we foregt Him in these things, He never forgets us. Parying for you, and thank Beve for grabbing that journal! Hugs!

Dawn Paoletta said...

Sorry for all the misspells- I just woke up- need some coffee!
And good that your mom had you as you mention to love her through to theend...thanks for sharing your words, my friend!

kelrohlf said...

I love how your journal gave you space to reflect on such a difficult time of your life...thanks for being vulnerable with us...I also love how God gives us new insights into Scripture depending on our context :) (A new twist on reading Scripture in "context"
Peace-Kel

quietspirit said...

This is a tender thing for me. My dad had to go to a nursing home in 2000. He got angry with me and told a hearing judge that he didn't want my over his affairs. I didn't see him from the time we were told he didn't need a guardian in 2003 until he had passed away in 2009.

A man at our church recently had to go to a nursing home because of Alzheimer's. He hadn't reoognized his wife for sometime before he ws admitted.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a difficult time that was for your family...and you in particular. To lose that sense of recognition from your Mother...that has to be terrible. Knowing that she couldn't help it helps some, but doesn't take away the sorrow and feelings of loss. Our journaling is a wonderful way to cope through these times...it's like writing to a dear friend whom we KNOW will understand and take the time to listen. Thank you for opening this painful chapter up to us. (((hugs)))) to you, even though this happened a long time ago...it still hurts.
Praying for your foot to heal quickly. (((hugs)))again. (we southerners hug a lot). :)

Recovering Church Lady said...

So hard to watch the change take place in a loved one. My Father-in-law suffered with Alzheimer's the last years of his life also. I believe that his wife actually suffered the worst though. To be there, yet not be there has to be the most painful thing. Blessings on you and who you are for your family dear one.
Susie

Sylvia R said...

What a poignant journal entry and post. This is such a shattering thing to go through and no one knows how they may be affected someday. Makes me stop and think. Thank you for sharing this.