Finding Time in the Midst of Chaos


Mom and meWell it has been quite a while since I’ve had a post. I thought it is time to sit down and try to write. It is not an easy task in my life.

Since my last entry, I have returned to work and as you know, the home front continues to become more of a challenge. All through the experience I keep reminding myself that I am not working my plan for my life, as much as I am submitting to my heavenly Father’s plans and purpose for me. Once I acknowledged this; my life seemed to make sense for the very first time. When things don’t go my way, I accept that it is my Father rearranging things. When things fall into place, miraculously, there is just no way I can take credit.

I just flew with someone who told me, “no you need to pat yourself on the back!” Really? Why? I don’t want to pat myself on the back. (First of all, because it is physically impossible) and secondly, I don’t feel I have done anything so great. I know that I handle my life because God gives me the strength to handle these challenges. But I cannot say that I have always been happy about the responsibilities He’s given me. And sometimes, I’ve downright lost it! I’ve had temper tantrums and been filled with self-pity. “Why me? Why not someone else?” I’ve had all of those angry questions. But in the end, He keeps me grounded. He reminds me that I can handle it. He reminds me that His son had those very same feelings.

When I went to Israel many years ago, I saw the huge stone where Jesus had wept and prayed so fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everyone was placing their hands on this stone as if they could feel His anguish. This is what makes me remember that even He asked the Father, “to take this cup of suffering from me.” In the end our Lord knew that it was not His plan He was working, but His Father’s plan. This picture of Christ’s grief is a stark reminder that He did indeed, “Suffer  all things which are common to man.” He knows my fears and my sadness. He knows my joy when I see that this suffering, is worth the end result. “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:12)

Wow! If He could do that for me, I certainly can’t complain about my circumstances. He has chosen these things for me, “to perfect my faith.” Who cares about me more than He does?

I had to keep this in the forefront of my mind when I received a recall notice to work. I had been on a furlough for almost 3 years. Granted, the furlough was another blessing from the Lord. I had just begun to see my mom slipping more and more each day, when along came this offer to take the furlough. This couldn’t have been at a more opportune time. However, I didn’t really know that at the time.

I was really sitting on the fence with that offer, as I was a little fearful of losing an income. “How am I going to make it with no money coming in?” I asked the Lord. I wasn’t sure if this was something I should do. Then He placed people in my path, that I can only describe as messengers on behalf of Him. They encouraged me to take this offer and one person, asked if he could call and speak to me. This was a few nights before the deadline for our decision. He completely encouraged me to do this as he knew my circumstances. He knew that my mother is not going to get better, but she would decline.

I decided to take the offer because of all of ‘the encouragers.’ What a great time I’ve had with my mom, my brother and my children! I took her on a road trip to Wisconsin along with my son and my brother. Though she did not know anyone, I felt rewarded in the fact that her friends and family had the chance to see her. I also didn’t feel the guilt I had before. She has been obsessed with moving back to Wisconsin. In some way I felt I was holding her hostage. This trip was a revelation to me as well. I could see that the Wisconsin she remembers only exists in her mind. She can visit anytime she chooses. My son exclaimed, “We could have driven around the block and told her she was in Wisconsin!” lol Yes, I suppose that’s true, but besides seeing Palm trees everywhere, it wouldn’t have been as effective. As I said, I felt this trip was more for my benefit and those who could see her.

The past 3 years gave me a chance to be completely involved in my son’s life, when he needed me most. I didn’t know so many things were happening until I was present every day. There were people that would have wished I would just return to work, but that was not going to happen! The Lord wanted to expose so many things to me. He knows that I am a staunch advocate for people who cannot speak for themselves, and this is the very reason I have the care of my mother and brother  and a young son.

However, had I not had some of the experiences in my own life, I would not have been as discerning. Now some of my suffering began to make sense to me. I have the ability to see things that the average person may not. I also have the strength to speak up, where most people will not. I find that my anger at such injustice overpowers any fears I may have. If I was not equipped with this righteous anger, I wouldn’t have the ability to take a stand.

Each year that the furlough was almost up; I would ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. Two times, I would receive another offer to take a year off. But this last year it has been different. This time we would receive an offer of an ‘early-out.’ Buyout offer plus benefits. Wow! This must be the answer, I thought! This was a big offer too! As I pondered this offer, I was ready to jump. Thinking that this would help me tremendously; I now heard the Lord speaking to me. “Hold on, don’t be impulsive.” As I weighed out the pros and cons of the offer, I asked the Lord to do what He has always done. To show me His will in this. To speak to me. He did and it was a surprising answer. He spoke to my spirit and He also sent people to me to give me answers. And just like always, the best plan is the most difficult!

As I began to see that this looked good on the surface, but it wasn’t really what the Lord had planned, I now wondered at how He was going to make my return to work possible. I am now mature enough in my faith that I know He will provide; but I still wanted to know how!

Now, I was most concerned with care for my mother. I can’t leave her and 24 hour nursing care is way too expensive. This would hardly make my return to work reasonable.

One day as I was praying and asking God for the answer to this dilemma, a person came to my mind. It was a woman who used to care for another elderly woman in a group my brother was a part of. My brother had a bowling group and this woman had a daughter with Down’s Syndrome. Her daughter was an excellent bowler. I had become friends with her and some of the other older ladies in the group. We used to sit and play cards together as the people bowled. You may remember an earlier post about this, “Kings in the Corner.” These women taught me many things. The woman that took care of her was a sweet, little Jamaican lady. She was so cute.

Marilyn eventually passed away, so the caregiver took care of her daughter. It was only a few years later that the daughter also died. She had a heart problem. I still have a picture of her smiling face on my bulletin board. She was full of joy and the sweetest girl. I remember at her funeral, the sister, coming up to me and saying, “You know Carrie, you and me are the same!” She was referring to the fact that she had taken care of her mother, and her sister after her mother’s passing. The caregiver lived with her and helped her take care of both of them.

As I thought of this, I thought, “I should call her and ask about Marlene! (the caregiver) She was excited when I called her. I told her that I had been called back to work and needed someone for my mom. I asked about Marlene. She said, “Wow! I can’t believeyou’re calling right now! She was caring for a woman and she just passed away about 2 weeks ago. She’s looking for someone else to care for right now.” I was so thrilled. I also knew that the was the Lord’s hand in all of this. He constantly reassures me that if He has called me to do something, then He will also provide!

It was only a few weeks later that I was back in training for 6 days. I had complete security knowing that this woman is experienced with people like my mom and she has compassion. She also knows my brother and is very experienced with special needs too. She told me that if she ever has a problem with her schedule, “her sister is her backup.” What a great thing! God not only provides our needs; He goes above and beyond what we need!

My son has proven to be a responsible and caring person from this experience as well. The other day, I messed up my own schedule and thought that I had given the information to Marlene and I did not. So of course, she wasn’t at the house. At first I thought that my printer didn’t print the trip, or she was reading the schedule wrong. I called her in a panic and she was already on her way out of town. She said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get someone to cover for me.” She did and this woman was her cousin. She was so wonderful and had also been living in the north for years taking care of an elderly woman. In the meantime, my son was able to ‘hold down the fort,’ until she arrived. He was asking me where the chucks were for my mom’s bed and I thought, “Is he really changing the bed linens?” This was just unfathomable, as he doesn’t do this in his own room! He had given my mom breakfast and helped my brother get up for school. I thought, this kind of responsibility is good for him and he will never regret the things he did for his grandma.

So now I’m thanking the Lord for all He has done and is doing to grow us. In the midst of the chaos of my life. I see His hand reaching through and holding me as I walk through all the storms. I’m grateful for the people that He sends to me to encourage me and give me wisdom for decisions. He removes those who have tried to bring me harm and continues to reveal His plans for me as I roll everything over to His ultimate will.

I think that my first layover was when it hit me; hey I don’t think I’ve had time to relax like this in years! Now I can understand the benefits to this decision. I felt refreshed for the first time in a very long time. I’m so appreciative of this time I’ve had with my family but also my ‘alone time,’ now. I also want to thank you people who have been a part of this journey with me. I am touched that those of you (and some complete strangers) have helped me through the most difficult times. I know who you are; and I know who has sent you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

Welcome to my video blog


 

Video

Evesdropping on Mom


Getting a pedicure Getting a pedicure[/caption

Every day brings a new revelation with my mom. I took her to her doctor to find out why she’s losing weight. I have had two blood tests, and now another one.
Next week she will get a CT scan. Nothing seems to stay in her system. She can only eat very small portions of food, and she doesn’t drink enough.
I leave a cup of juice at all times and snacks for her, but she doesn’t touch it unless I tell her. I’m careful not to push her too much, as she will then eat more than she can hold in her little tummy.
I’m a t a loss. Even making her milk shakes with Ensure, is too dense for her. She drinks a couple sips, and she’s full.
The only time I’ve ever seen her this small was when I was very young and she’d had a nervous breakdown. She lost so much weight and at that time, she was only 86 pounds.

She’s not depressed, nor does she feel sick. Unless she overeats. But I’m constantly trying to find new ways to help her.
She has now accepted the fact that she cannot move back to Wisconsin until she gets the weight back on and her blood pressure stable. At least this is what I’ve told her, and she feels she needs an excuse for her not being able to return.
Every season she says, “Oh, I’d move back but there’s too much snow!” Or, “I’d move back but it’s getting too hot now!” I’m prepared now, for what her excuse will be. I once called her bluff when she was fighting with me about her move back. “Go ahead,” I said. I waited and she was so perplexed that I wasn’t saying no, to her. She sat for a minute and said, “Well I can’t yet. It’s too cold.”
“Ok,” I said. “Tell me when you want to go, and I’ll help you.” I realized I had crossed over to the right side. No more pushing or pulling the weight. I just went along with it, and I could see this was all she wanted.

Yesterday she was sitting and watching her show, when out of the blue she said, Oh Carrie is up in Milwaukee. When I move there, I’ll call her and she’ll help me.”
I got that familiar stab in my heart, that I felt, the first time I realized she doesn’t know that I’m her daughter, Carrie.
I felt tears fill my eyes, as I tried to look away and asked her, “Have you heard from Carrie?” She said, “No, but she’s very busy.”
This hurt me. I can’t imagine a son or daughter not communicating for as long, as she thinks Carrie hasn’t called her.
“Then how do you know she’s in Milwaukee?” I ask. “Oh, I know. Her brother, Craig keeps in touch with her.”
I said, “I’m sure she loves you very much, even though you haven’t heard from her.”
“Oh, of course she does!” She says. Very proud and smiling as she seems to speak something that is a known fact.
“She’s off work right now.”
This is where I’m confused in my understanding of this disease. How does she connect the thought that I am, indeed off work, to care for her, and yet she doesn’t understand that I am the person she speaks of?
I long to help her understand that her daughter loves her and I feel a need to convince her that, her daughter wants to talk to her.
“Carrie loves her brother Kevin so much! She always listens to him when he talks and does so much for him.”
Here again, I’m totally perplexed. As my brother Kevin lives here too.
“She has a very big heart!” She says.

Now I’m finding this difficult. I’m stuck between my wish to let her know how special she is to, Carrie, and not brag about myself.
“She sounds like she does. She’s a Christian isn’t she?”
“Oh, yes! She always talks about God!”
“Well, then I’m sure that when she thinks of you, she is praying for you because she loves you so much.”
“I’m sure she is!
I tell her that Carrie sounds as if she kind of managed problems in the family and she agrees. She told me, she called on Carrie when there was a problem. She then said, “She’s so sweet and loving.”
I don’t think she’s ever said that to me.
I tell her that when I talk to Craig, I will make sure he tells Carrie to call her.
“Oh, yes, that would be great! I miss her!”

Now, I leave the room because I’m beginning to cry. My sweet mom, now accepts the fact that her children love her so much, yet this, Carrie cannot even call her mom?
Oh, I’m so mad at myself! What is wrong with me?
I called my son downstairs and shared this conversation.
I said, “It looks as if I’m going to have to make a phone call to grandma. Knowing that she has this respect for, ‘Carrie’s advice, I may be able to take advantage of this.
He reminded me of his call, pretending that he was her doctor and said, “Yes, she will love that. She won’t even know.”
The best part is that she will experience the joy of the love from her real daughter, instead of the imposter living with her now!
I must admit, it is humorous when I think about the whole thing.
Most people pretend to be something they’re not in this life.
I am faced with this peculiar task of pretending that I’m me! Hope I can pull this off!

Dr Jesus Please Heal Me


Today was a hard day. They begin to blend together. One heartache after another. I find myself going off to cry quietly.
Because the flu is going around, it’s easy to pretend I have a touch of something.
My son is home educated, so I don’t have the benefit of hiding.

I’ve had sadness with my daughter. She seems like she’s slipping away from me. I feel as if I’m holding on by a thread.
I committed to pray for my children, and her especially. I told the Lord each morning as I ran on my treadmill, I would commit myself to fervent prayer.
Asking Him to “bring my daughter back from captivity. To do “whatever it takes.” Knowing perfectly well, that God hears me, and I probably won’t like the suffering involved. But I also know it’s my love for her and my responsibility for her soul, that causes me to plead with Him.

I received a sign from Him. Her life is beginning to unravel, and I ended up going to the doctor. I sprained my ankle. Yes, that’s right, on the treadmill.
Never remembering how I twisted it or turned it. I was in pain. I realized that I had been running so hard and pushing myself physically, but also spiritually.
Crying out in anguish and now my ankle is a constant reminder of her. My little girl.

Dealing with my mother is difficult as well. I received a call from the senior facility to ask me if she was going to be coming. They said that they have a spot for her but she would lose it if she doesn’t come.
She went twice, and then adamantly refused to go any more.
I was trying to brainstorm with the administrator, when I remembered how she had responded to her doctor after refusing to take her medication. I told her that I had the idea to tell him, “if he would tell her to take them, she would listen.”
It worked like a charm. He simply looked at her and said, “Honey, listen. You have to take your medicine for me, okay?” She looked at him and said, “Okay, until I go back to Wisconsin, I will.”
The doctor and I both looked at each other and smiled.

When I told the woman this, she said, “Maybe you should try that and have some male pretend to be  her doctor or something.” I said, “Yes, I think I can come up with something.”
I went to my son, and asked him to be the doctor. He was going to have a script which I would make for him and he would call my phone. I would give the phone to her and take it from there.
As I handed him the script, I had to make a few corrections-“oh, have to change that,” I said. It said, “Your daughter,” and she no longer recognizes that I’m her daughter.

I told her that her doctor had called and he would be calling back. “What is it about?” She asked. “Oh, I don’t know. He said he had something to speak with you about. “Oh, I hope I don’t have to go and see him,” she said.
As my son was coming down the stairs with his script and his phone he said, “Oh, I should get time for this under ‘Extra Curricular Activity, called conning the elderly!” At this I started laughing and could barely contain myself as I listened to him calling my phone.

Because I was in the threshold, I could hear his voice in the living room and on my phone. I really had to work hard to suppress a laugh, as I handed the phone to my mom. I looked and also noticed his picture coming up on the phone so, I carefully handed it to her. She had a hard time holding “these new phones,” anyway, so I stuck it up to her ear. “It’s your doctor,” I said.
“Oh!” She sounded excited. As I listened to him carefully reciting the words, I couldn’t help but think how ingenious this seemed. I even put references about her move to Wisconsin.”
“Yes, I noticed that your blood pressure is pretty high, on the tests I have.” The doctor said. “I understand you are planning to move back to Wisconsin and before you do this, we need a plan to get you healthy. I am authorizing one day a week at a center for you to speak with a nutritionist and get some exercise.”
I heard her say, “Oh yes, but I can’t move back yet. I have to wait until it’s warm.”
Now in a normal conversation, Dr. so-and-so would respond to that. But my son, not willing to deviate from the script, continued as if he was an automated phone message.
It did surprise me, however, to know that she really doesn’t want to go as much as she pretends.
At the end of the message he asked to speak to me. As I took the phone I continued on as if he was giving me more instructions. My son just making sounds once in a while.
After I hung up, my mom said, “I like that doctor. He’s so nice!”
I told her that this would be a day available to her to give her the physical and nutritional help to get her strong.
She was actually excited about this.
I called the administrator back and told her what we did. She laughed so hard and said, “And the Academy Award goes to….”

Later, as I was speaking about my grief at the situation with my daughter, my mother said, “It has to be so hard. You love her so much. She’s your daughter. I think that would be so hard, if I had to deal with that with my daughter.”
“Yes,” I thought. It would be hard. But the fortunate thing is that, she has dealt with many heartaches, including these with her daughter. She just doesn’t know it.
She looked so sweet again, as she said, “It will be okay. She’s a good girl.” I remembered her saying that all my life. Every time there was a crisis.”It will be okay.”

I thought of my daughter when she was young. She started getting warts on her feet. My stepson had them on his hands and they are very contagious. When he showed her the surgery he had to remove them, she was terrified.
I made a comment that, “I’ll have to take her to the doctor.” When she heard this she screamed. “No! Please mommy! I want Dr. Jesus to heal them!” She was crying at the thought of someone cutting her. She was so young. About 4 or 5. I felt so convicted at her words.
“Wow,” I thought. I haven’t even prayed about this. So I asked her if she really believed He could heal her. “Yes,” she said. “Okay, we’re going to pray.”
I put some oil on her feet as I prayed along with her.
The very next day, I noticed a miraculous thing, which had me rubbing my own eyes in bewilderment. It looked like little chalk specks on her feet. Every place which had a wart, or one just starting, just turned to powder. I began touching those little feet, and saw them drop off! I was amazed. But I remembered the Lord’s words, that “it is your faith which make you whole.”
My pastor commented, “If she has this kind of faith now, can you imagine what she’ll be like when she’s older?”

I keep standing on His promises for her life. I now feel the incredible pain which the Prodigal Father had felt, when his son went out of his home into darkness.
The hurt and concern attached to his well-being. I’m praying that I will also experience the joy of restoration.
With every painful step I take, I pray, Dr. Jesus please heal us!

The End of the Beginning


Yesterday I was praying about a decision to send my mother back to her home of Wisconsin.

She tells me over and over again, that she’s homesick. But something which she said to the visiting nurse, pained me. I had never heard her say this before. When the nurse asked her a question, she came out with her usual, “Well, I’m not from here. I’m from Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin. That’s where I want to die. She quickly corrected herself, when she said, “Well, I want to live there too.”

But like a jury at a trial, it was already out. I heard it, and it was like a stab in my heart. Of course, I know it is an inevitable end to our journey, however, with her, it is never spoken. Until now.

As I walked out the door with the nurse, she said, “Do you think she’ll really go back?” “I began to tear up. “Well, it’s what she wants, but I can’t see her being able to care for herself. Believe me,” I said, “if I was a wealthy woman, I would put her in a little place of her own, with someone to care for her. Just so she could go back.” As I looked at the nurse, I could see she had tears in her eyes too. She had lost her mother years before, so I think we shared a common understanding of this sorrow. Watching the decline of her own mother sounds difficult. She had a nurse coming in as well.

She argued with me yesterday that she could do all the things I do for her. There is no need of me to help her in any way. I asked her if she felt she could stand on a stool to clean windows, clean the pool carry loads of laundry up and down the stairs, and make the meals. “Well, I wouldn’t have a pool!” She said, as if I was completely daft. I thought that was so hilarious. But I said,”Mom, I wouldn’t want you trying to cook and do laundry. It’s not safe. But she insisted that she needed no help. “I need to do what I can do,” she said. “Yes, I know this is true. But the issue is, that she really can’t do a lot.”

And this hurts me more than she understands. I was reminded of this today. I knew that I was going to have to make suggestions about personal issues with her.I wanted to be very delicate with her. I don’t want to embarrass her about anything, because she is so stubborn.

I went up to get her laundry and bed linens. When I had come downstairs, I decided to do her laundry, and thought, this may be a good time to have a talk. As I tried to be as sensitive as I could possibly be, I suggested some items, when I went out to the store. I couldn’t believe that she agreed so willingly. She almost seemed to be relieved.

But I left the house with mixed feelings about the whole discussion. I had hugged her and told her how much I loved her. She hugged me back and told me she loved me too. I said, “I never want to make you feel uncomfortable or embarrass you, mom. I just want to help you.” She had seemed more like a little girl than ever before.

I guess I wasn’t prepared for her to be so accepting of this change. Every little bit of independence she loses, she fights. So, I was surprised at this. And I felt pain. I wondered at why I found myself crying, as I headed to the store. I realized that this was exactly how emotional I was when I weened my children. After breast-feeding, I knew it was time to switch them to supplement bottles. And when they so quickly responded to a bottle, I was totally unprepared at their willingness to replace me with plastic.I had secretly hoped that they wouldn’t want that ‘false sense of security.’ I was so attached, that this seemed too easy for them to just, ‘let go.’ I realized that the failure of my mother to fight me, represented the same. It wasn’t  her letting go that was so hard, but me.

So today, I feel different about trying to relocate her. A friend pointed out that, my mother is just remembering life as it was 10 or 20 years ago. If she went back it would be miserable for her.He is so right. She talks about all of her friends, back in Wisconsin, but she really doesn’t have anyone.

She has three sister’s. One passed away last year. The other one lives in Arkansas. The other two, live in northern Wisconsin. But one of them has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t recognize anyone.And her youngest sister, lives with her husband. And even she sold her house, to move into smaller accommodations.

I get angry with my family sometimes. I ask the Lord, “Why must I have a ringside seat, to this whole process, with my mother’s most difficult stage of her life.” But then He reminds me of all of the other events I had experienced, with her. I have the most compassion, when it comes to this, and I see that it was not by coincidence, that she’s ended up in my home.

The Lord knew that I was the one appointed for this time. I see this clearly. But it hurts on a daily basis. I felt to keep her with me is denying her last wishes, in her life. Yet, in my more pragmatic moments, I know that it’s quality of life which counts. And there is no quality at all,  if she was live, all alone in a little apartment. If I can’t get her to leave the house now, at least she has my children, my brother, me, and some people coming and going.

A friend told me, I should get an apartment for seniors. Take her on a little plane ride. Come back here, and place her in the apartment right down the street. Tell her she’s in Wisconsin and spray some frost on the windows. She’ll be happy as a clam. I said, “Yea, maybe she won’t notice if the front door opens and there are palm trees out front.”

The thought of that made me laugh. Then I remembered a song I used to hear on Christian radio, years ago. I just can’t remember who did it. If some knows, please tell me the title.

A man was bedridden, in a nursing home. He had no visitors, but one man who would come. He would ask him to describe what he saw out the window. The man would tell him all about the little children playing tag. Jumping rope and kids games. The people strolling by and the beautiful trees and flowers. Birds singing and the wonderful sunsets.

One day he came to visit and the room was empty. His friend had passed away. He walked over to the window to open the drapes. There in front of the window was a red brick wall.

At the end of the song, a new person was in the room, and the man sat beside the person describing the same beauty as before.

That song, always left me emotional. I see the power of the mind and the need to hold on to all that is good and alive. This is what I see my mother doing. I want to help her with those memories. I know the Serenity Prayer, and I was told that this would be good in this situation with my mother. “God help me accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.”

I remember the beginning, with my mom and I’m with her now, in the sunset of her life. I will remind her of the children playing, the birds and beautiful trees and flowers. Because on the other side of, that brick wall, those things really do exist. Because the end of the beginning, is really the true beginning!

I’m just asking for your prayers, for the wisdom and strength I need, for this time in her life and mine.

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.”