Warning – this article is deeper and yields more to a tugging of the heart than most, but getting our shoes muddy in this life is not always nice, funny, nor easily cleaned. But even in this ugly times of MuddyShoes, we see grace and hope and love.
I am not alone in facing dilemmas like this one. Families all over the globe face it, some much worse than mine, some facing it alone. But that doesn’t make this part of my journey any easier. Writing this may be a bit cathartic for me – so I am putting this out there.
She is in pain. With multiple fractures in her spine, even the slightest movements bring excruciating pain. Requests are being made for stronger pain control medication, but requests take time. She is bed ridden, for the pain keeps her from moving for even for the most simple functions. We’ve requested an MRI to see if there is anything that’s been missed from the multiple X-Rays – but the medical situation right now is the relocation to the hospital would be worse due to the pain she is in.
The nurses say the only noise from her room are cries of pain.
She is in the memory wing of the retirement home where she resides. Her long term memory is intact but the short term memory is almost completely gone. She forgets she has had meds, she forgets where she is, she gets confused, and she often is in a state of location and time dystopia. She cries for her husband (both my father and her second husband who have both gone on to be with the Lord.) She fears she is away from home abandoned at a hotel in Dallas or Philadelphia. She gets distraught.
The nurses consistently remind her she is home and try to comfort her. Their patience is a gift from God.
She has tested positive for Covid for the third straight week – thus keeping her quarantined and preventing any visits from her family, her church, anyone. (She is not the only Covid positive resident in the memory wing.) This adds to her stress and her anxiety … and it elevates her memory dystopia.
The nurses, when they come in to attend to her, attempt to feed her, and give her medications … come in wearing full medical garb, this they can not give her the true human interaction that could comfort.
She is alone. Probably the hardest of all of this. She is alone.
We trust God. We know He has her in His hands. We appreciate the staff and all they do with so many during this time. We know our responses are limited. We pray, wait, pray some more.
Some thoughts that keep going through my mind during all this …
- We should do what we can to care for our elderly. Joseph cared for Jacob, Ruth cared for Naomi, and Jesus spoke to John to care for Mary. The Biblical precedent is powerful. It is our way of honoring them and showing love. SO CALL YOUR MOM, PEOPLE!
- We need family. We are not in this alone. My brother (who is geographically closer to our mother) is taking the brunt of this. I am moved by his compassion, his faithfulness, and his expression of love. He has four daughters, they better see this and remember when he gets there. As far as my one and only kid, well he married a farm girl. They’ll probably just put me out to pasture and let nature take its course.
- We need community. My church prays for her. Sends her cards and letters. Covid has limited visitors from her local church, but I hope they are still trying to minister in some ways. DOES YOUR CHURCH HAVE THIS MINISTRY? PRAY FOR MY MOTHER.
- Professional Help is a ministry. The nurses and staff are front line, on the battle field warriors of grace, mercy, and love. Maybe for you, it’s visiting nurses or home cleaning crews or a hair stylist that makes house calls. Don’t under-appreciate what they do and how they are true bearers and sharers of grace. Let them know it.
- Only God will get us through this. Unless one is a complete heartless, law of the jungle person – that thinks this is nothing but randomness in which we live and all of this is meaningless – than we need hope, we need mercy, we need comfort that reaches beyond this muddy world we call life. And that is truly found in God.
- She is alone, but she never really is alone. Even when the nurses are not there, when all others have slipped into the back of her minds, and even when she doesn’t realize it – God is with her. He never leaves her. He always has her in His embrace as a loving Father embraces a hurting child.
- In light of that last one, I always keep my mother’s eternity in mind. She will never be alone … and this temporary madness we live in is far out weighed by the glory of heaven.
Do these make the pain less for her? For me? For whatever you are going through? No. But it makes it bearable.
But only if you know Him. Do you?
If you want to know more about this God of comfort, reach out to me or to a local church in your area.