I Surrender


I have been watching my mom and it seems that she is slowing down. Is this my imagination? Living with her each day, has presented challenges. Then I wonder, is it similar to my son’s growth? It’s such a constant, that it’s difficult to notice. But then suddenly, he seems to be taller.

My mom, hasn’t been the easiest person to live with. She is very opinionated, and can be mean. I’ve taken the brunt of this, for most of my life. And she’s as stubborn as a person can be. She refuses the help she needs and then when I see her struggle and try to lend a hand, she’s say’s “well, if you want to help, I’ll let you.”

It’s difficult to remember that she’s been this way all of her life. She’s very insecure and I realize this is the reason for her attitude. She’s never wrong. Yet, she doesn’t mind telling someone else that they are wrong.

Yesterday she had watched a commercial and I heard her make a sound of pure disgust, at the use of the word, “Caramel.” “What’s wrong mom?” I asked. “That’s not how you say, “Caramel!” She said. Well, mom, you can pronounce it with a long ‘A’ or short, ‘A.’ “Either way is acceptable.” I tell her. Already knowing that she is not going to believe me. “Oh come on. That’s wrong!” She tells me. “Mom, it’s in the dictionary. Just like the word, ‘often.’ Some people pronounce the ‘t,’ and some pronounce it with a silent, ‘t.’ And like ‘Aunt, which is really pronounced, awnt, but some people have pronounced it, ‘ant,’ like the ant on the ground. I only pronounced it that way, because this is how you referred to your aunt’s and mine.” Now I can see she’s just irritated. “Well, even if it’s in the dictionary, it’s only been placed there recently!”

Oh, this is how she get’s around everything. So I decide it’s time to drop it. “Ok,” I said. “But it’s nothing for you to get upset about.” “I’m not upset!” She says, because she wants to keep the argument going.

I wonder at this. I believe she was dismissed as a child, and it has a lot to do with her own self-image.This is why she is so judgmental, and opinionated. When I think about this, I feel sad.

I ask her if she would like to go out to the store with me. It is my way of getting her to move her bones. Although, after getting into the crazy holiday shopper’s, I become rather nervous.She is eager to come along, because, as she states, “I need to buy Christmas gifts.” I know she loves to buy little gifts for everyone, so I think this is a fun trip for her.

She refuses any help, besides the use of my arm. And as we walk, I feel her grip, loosen and tighten. At times, I clamp her little hand, into my arm, as tight as I can. I am worried that some rude person is just going to plow her down, or her grip is going to slip. I can feel how small she is, and how much slower she is walking. After a short time she proclaims, “Are we almost done? I would like to buy your gift with you. Cause I’m not going out again.” I tell her,”Mom, you don’t need to get me a gift.” “Of course I don’t!” She says, “That’s why it’s called ‘a gift!” As if I’ve just said the stupidest thing ever. I see that she can only handle very short trips now.

I think back to my placement in, The Children’s Home, when I was a child. After her breakdown, we were placed in this home. I believed I would never be reunited with my mother. I would cry at the separation from all of my siblings and my mother. I had already lost my father in the divorce.

A woman nurse, would rock me in a chair and comfort me, with words, of reassurance, “Don’t worry. You’ll see your mother again.” She would say.

Now, I am beginning to experience that same sadness. I’m facing her exit and watching her slowly going through that door. I feel as if my arm can hold her little hand’s to prevent it from happening. I am angry that I have to watch, as a spectator. I would rather she lived all by herself and just fade away. But then I know that I would be too worried to allow this.

I bought her a new calendar. She’s been checking off the day’s since she came to my home. It breaks my heart. Marking off time, like this reminds me of people in prison or hospitals. My brother did this, when he was in the hospital. I still remember the calendar, facing his bed, with the little black x’s, through each day. Until the last two days. Time stood still. He believed he was going to move down to live by me. I had a place for him and my mother, and then he went to his eternal home.

I was trying to imagine why my mother seemed to hate living in Florida so much. And I think that one reason, is my brother’s death. Before this, she loved Florida, and planned to move here. But after his death, she came down to spend some time with me, and she hated being here. I’ve always thought that it was, “empty nest,’ syndrome. And now that she has two son’s, buried in Wisconsin, she has a longing to return.

But now, I am starting to see her appetite decreasing. As I urge her to eat, she tells me she isn’t hungry. I have resorted to giving her supplement drinks. Along with a little food here and there. She’s losing ground. I can’t stand to see this, happening.

The constant reminder’s, that she will be moving back to Milwaukee, are not as frequent. It seems, just a few weeks ago, she went to my daughter, and asked her, if she could fly her back.” “I didn’t know what to tell her.” My daughter said. “Doesn’t she realize once we’ve landed, that she doesn’t have a place to live?” “No.” I said. “She isn’t thinking about that.” My daughter told me, “mom, when you are gone, she tells me that she wishes you would stay gone.” She said, “Your mom, is annoying.” I laughed. “Don’t let it bother you. She needs me more than she’s willing to admit.”

Sure enough. I flew home from my trip the other day. I didn’t get home until 2pm. As I walked into the house, I noticed my daughter’s car, but it was silent inside. I went into the family room, and there was my mom, sleeping on the couch. “Mom, is everything ok?” I asked. She got up in a fog. “Oh, I’m fine.” I realized that the tv, was not turned on. And I know she can’t understand how to use the remote, even though, I’ve shown her, it’s only one button to turn it on and off. It is understood, that this tv, must be on channel 6, for her, when I leave, so she can watch her ‘story.’ Apparently someone, didn’t turn it on for her. Neither, did my daughter make her coffee.

I went upstairs to reprimand my daughter. “Look, all you had to do was make sure the tv was on for her and make her coffee. If you worked late and you’re tired, just get up to take care of this and go back to bed.” Well, I guess, this would be one reason, that my mom was happy I was home, regardless of how annoying I am.

I’m trying to learn to ‘let go.’ My son told me that I need to trust him more. He’s right. It’s difficult, but I’ve been working on it. I realized that my daughter needs a good firm push out of the nest.

But the most difficult time I’m having now, is accepting what is happening with my mother. I am asking the Lord to give me strength for that time. I know that He takes care of everything, but my heart is breaking.

I took a survey the other day. It asked questions about abandonment, and trauma’s. I had to answer that I’ve experienced everything on that list. But it hasn’t gotten easier. I’m trusting the Lord with my heart, and I realize that this is the greatest faith, I can have. It’s a fearful thing to place my heart in His hands. I know He understands the wounds which have caused this. And I know He is helping me to take a step in faith.

Still, when I’m alone, I find myself grieving. It’s all the sadness from my past and my present, enveloping me. And then, I feel Him. Holding me and speaking words of love. Just as that nurse did, so many years ago. He reminds me that He will protect me, just as He always has. And He will do this for my loved ones, as well.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in Him.”

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