The Urgent Call and the Clever Mama

Dad called last night and his voice was urgent. “Get over here quick! Mom is sitting on me!” he said.

My husband and I jumped in the car and made the quick trip around the block to their house. But as we were going I kept wondering how she got out of her reclining chair.

I’d been over to feed Mom supper about an hour or so earlier. And when she was done with her meal I’d used the switch on her power recliner to ease her back into a reclining position with her feet up and tucked her in with a cozy throw. Because her walking is so unsteady these days, we only want Mom walking when a caregiver is right there to assist her.

This chair has been a great blessing in keeping her comfortably in one spot for awhile and also in rising her up to an almost standing position when we need help getting her out of it.The power switch mechanism is attached to the chair with a short cord, but on the floor where I didn’t think she could reach it.

Did I leave the chair in the sitting position, I wondered? But I could so vividly remember reclining her. How did she get out?

Jeff and I let ourselves in and saw Dad straining to keep Mom from falling off his lap. We also noticed Mom’s chair, across the room. It wasn’t in the reclining position or the sitting upright one. It had been moved to the up position, which would have had her close to standing!

Jeff and I each took one side of Mom and her gait belt and eased her up to a standing position and then to her wheel chair.

“What happened, Dad?” I asked.

“I was sitting here, and I saw a shadow go past my light. (He’s almost totally blind.) And then I heard Nina say, ‘Can I sit on your lap?’ And she did!”

I must confess I couldn’t help marvel at her ability to get ahold of that switch somehow, raise herself up, and get out of that chair! And since no one was hurt I couldn’t help laughing.

Dad however was not amused. And now we turn the wall switch off to keep power from the chair when we leave.

Such a clever Mama I have!











Dimming To-Do List

I needed to leave. I had a list of things to get done. I’d already fed Mom lunch and washed her up and changed her. And I’d tucked her into bed for a nap.

Dad usually lies down with Mom for a nap himself, but he was still busy, so I had stretched out beside Mama myself. And she had cuddled up close to my back and put her arm around me. And her fingers had flutter tapped my back. And Mama was quiet and content and so was I.

But after a few minutes I thought of my list of things to do, and I reluctantly sat up and kissed Mama’s cheek to say good-bye. And then Mama quietly took my hand and held it. She didn’t say a word. She didn’t yell. She just gently held my hand.

And the importance of my to-do list dimmed and faded. And I put my feet back up on the bed and snuggled warm next to Mama.

And I stayed there until Dad came in and wanted his place. And then I got up with no regrets and with a fuller heart.

What I Miss Most Because of Alzheimer’s

A few years ago in this journey with Alzheimer’s, I used to ask Mom, “Do you know who I am?”
And she would usually answer, “Well, you’re Cheryl. Aren’t you?”
And knowing that she knew my name comforted me.

And then I gradually stopped asking her if she knew who I was. Because she almost never did. Instead I’d just tell her, “Mama, I’m Cheryl.”
And very often, her eyes would shine, and she’d smile brightly and ask, “Cheryl Lynn?” And hearing her remember my middle name would make my heart soar. And I would feel known.

And now, pretty much every visit, I sit down close to Mama, face to face, and I look right into her eyes. And I say, “Hi Mama. I’m Cheryl.”
And her eyes don’t light up.
And she doesn’t smile.
I try again, “I’m Cheryl, Mama. I’m Cheryl… Or Sherry… …You used to call me Sherry… Sherry Lynn…”

And Mama just stares at me. And her eyes and face look blank.

And I miss the smile. I miss the knowing.

But I hold fast to the truth, that this is not the end of the story. Mom knew Jesus and trusted Him for salvation, and He will never forget her. And someday Mama and I will be together again with Him.

And I can imagine the first time we see each other again in heaven. And I can picture Mama seeing me then. And I can hear her saying, “Cheryl! Cheryl Lynn!” And her eyes are bright and shiny again, and her smile is beautiful. And the warm hug we share doesn’t have to end.