Not Ready

Wow. I wasn’t ready to hear what Dad said today. I don’t know if I’ll ever be. I’m still reeling…

The visit started out pretty normal. I found Mom looking at the story pages I’ve printed up about her life. I asked her who she was and she promptly said her own mother’s name.
So, a little later when I was trying to get her up for her bath, I said, “Let’s go find Nina Fay!”
Mom hollered back, loud and angry, “Nina Fay is here!” She pointed to herself and shouted, “Nina Fay is right here!” At least she knew her own name again.

Dad told me Mom had been up until 3:30 in the morning talking and hollering. When he woke up in the morning he found his pistol in bed with him. He didn’t think Mom could reach it on the shelf where he kept it. Thankfully it was unloaded and just a BB gun anyway.

The hard part came when we were opening the mail. We had a letter from her long-term care insurance company. They offer a 5% increase in coverage every year to cover inflation, with a correlating increase in payment if you agree.

Dad said, “We better check out prices of good nursing homes, and see if we need to increase the insurance. I think Mom will need to move to one sometime here.”

I felt weak. I felt shocked. We had spoken of it in the past, but Dad has been so determined to take care of her at home as long as we could. I thought it was still working. I’m guessing Dad is just planning for the future, when things get harder. But I was too emotional to even discuss what he was thinking.

I know there are good nursing homes in the world and caring, competent professionals. I can even believe that someday that environment may be needed and best for her.

But I am not ready for it now. It crushes me to picture her in a strange environment with people who don’t really know her and love her. It’s hard enough to know how agitated she gets when she has all the comforts of home and her husband right with her always.

As I was opening the rest of the mail today, Mom suddenly blurted out loudly, “I’m a good person!” Dad chuckled and took her hand and said, “Yes, you’re a good person.”

I don’t know what motivated her to say that. I know we are all sinners and only God is truly good. But Mom loved God and loved others. She was a thoughtful and caring person and everyone who knew who were would say she was good.

But I think of how Mom is now, and she’s so different. Yelling and swearing sometimes and resisting what needs to be done. She can’t help it. But it bothers me that people meeting her now don’t get to see the same sweet, wonderful woman that I know. That all her friends and family knew.

My mama is a treasure, and I don’t want anyone ever taking care of her who doesn’t realize that. And so I weep just thinking that she might someday be in a place where I can’t control who is caring for her.

I went home as soon as I could after opening the mail with Dad, and talked to my husband and cried. He said, “You know your Dad likes to plan ahead. We need to trust God and just take one day at a time.” And I know he is right.

God is worthy of our trust. He is always with us. So, with His help, I’ll keep praying and counting on Him to guide and provide. I’ll hold His hand tightly and rely on His tender mercies. I’ll hide under the shelter of His wings, cling to Him as I cry, and then press on in this journey held up by His grace. One day at a time.

He is good. He is faithful. Always.

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