Lessons of Let it Be

Reading this lesson from a couple years ago, and it’s even more precious to me now as I see Mama changing…

God's Grace and Mom's Alzheimer's

Learning lessons of life and letting it be from my mama…

I went through the normal struggles with Mom’s bath tonight. Then I sat with her and helped her eat her supper while Dad took his shower.

After her meal, Mom looked at one of her story pages. She was only able to read a couple of the words. And she didn’t recognize herself or me or Dad in the photos. I told her, “Mom, that’s a picture of you and me!”
She smiled and said, “Oh, my goodness!”

She didn’t know John 3:16, or name her sibling’s as she usually does. And she only sang a few words of familiar songs I tried to sing with her.

I don’t usually ask her anymore, but for some reason tonight I said, “Do you know who I am?”
She looked right at me and said, “You’re Cheryl, aren’t you?”

Such…

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Be Happy

I tried to talk to Mama as I fed her the Easter dinner I’d brought over. But she’d mostly either holler or speak gibberish.

It reminded me of the time we’d just had with my six-month old granddaughter. She seemed to have whole conversations with my husband as she stood in his lap and very expressively spoke garbled words.

And Mama would do that, too. She’d look at me and speak. Often I could tell she was asking questions, but I couldn’t decipher enough of the words to guess at what she meant.

Except for a few exceptions. “I hate you!” still came out clearly. I answered Mama, “But I love you. Do you love me?”

“No,” she answered.

And yet we had a couple sweet moments. My daughter and husband came over to help me get Mom up from her nap, because her walking is so bad these days. My daughter and I changed her and got her in a fresh dress. Then my husband came in and helped us get her into the wheel chair.

As I was rolling her out of the bedroom Mama said, “Thank you.” Which is pretty much unheard of these days.

I was so pleased and said, “Mom, that’s so nice that you said thank you!”

“Yes, it is,” Mama answered. And I chuckled.

And then later, as I was cleaning up the dishes, after Mama’s meal, she said, “Be happy. Be happy.”

And that made me smile.

Alzheimer’s is such a tough road. There is so much to be burdened and sad and stressed about.

But today I can rejoice that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and because of that all who believe can be forgiven and have a relationship with God and eternity with Him in heaven.

And today I can take joy in the time I had with my children and granddaughter. And I can smile because Mama said thank you.

Today I can be happy, because my mama told me to be. And those sweet words bring tears to my eyes. Happy tears.

I hope you have some today, too.

He is risen!

 

 

Manna Moments

Sometimes I need to review the lessons God is teaching me. It helped me to read this today…

God's Grace and Mom's Alzheimer's

Learning lessons of manna…

I was struggling with depressing thoughts last night. The news these days is so heartbreaking and life has its struggles. Sometimes God seems far away. I tossed and turned and thought of the Israelites in the wilderness and how God gave them manna to eat every day and led them with a pillar of cloud during the day and gave them light with a pillar of fire every night.

I wanted to feel God’s presence that real and that obvious every day. I wondered how the Israelites could doubt God’s existence and ask for an idol and disobey Him and complain when He was providing for them daily in such obvious ways. He was sending them the miracle of manna every morning.

I’m not even mentioning all the miracles He did to get them out of Egypt. But if even all they had was the manna…

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Until Then

This week I held my six month old granddaughter while my son offered her a spoon of her very first taste of solid food. She reacted with eagerness and grabbed hold of the spoon and all around the table her relatives delighted in her. And we laughed and smiled and took such joy in her first tastes of applesauce.

And then this afternoon, I sat close to my mama. And I offered her spoons of food because she doesn’t try to feed herself anymore. And Mama opened her mouth each time and she chewed the food as she stared blankly at me.  And my heart was heavy.

I tried talking to Mama, but she didn’t respond. I tried singing to Mama, but she didn’t seem interested. I told her I loved her many times. And she didn’t reply. And no matter what I did I couldn’t get her to smile.

And Mama shouted, “I hate you!”

And I answered, “Well, I love you.”

But Mama did reach out and pluck at my blouse. And she rubbed her fingers gently on my arm, as she usually does when I feed her. And that is about as connected as we get lately. So I savor those sweet touches.

But I long for her smile. And I wonder if I’ll ever hear her say my name or “I love you, too” on this earth again. And my heart crumbles.

And I’m reminded of the Bible verse I read last week, Psalm 35:14b (NKJV), “…I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.” And I take comfort in the thought that King David and God know that there is a special kind of mourning for one’s mother.

It bows you down. It’s heavy. It’s hard.

I remind myself often that the end of the story is good. Because Mama knew Jesus when her mind was healthy and trusted Him with her life. And so I have the certain hope that I will see Mama restored when we meet again in Heaven. And her smile will be more beautiful than ever. And she will know me and say my name and hug me close.

And we’ll never be bowed down heavy again.

And until then, I can look for the blessing moments. I can treasure the tender touches Mama gives me. I can thank God for the loving care givers Mama has and for my son and daughter who are so helpful to their grandparents.

Until then I can hide under the shelter of my Abba Father’s wings and pour out my heart to Him and know the comfort that only He gives.

Until then I can marvel over my beautiful granddaughter and enjoy every first with her.

Until then I can trust that God will give us grace for each day. And I can know that He is faithful and that His tender mercies surround us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons of Good-byes

I found an old tape my dad had made of my grandpa–telling some stories of his life in Sweden and singing some Swedish songs. I’m listening to it as I type this. It is so precious to hear his voice and accent and laugh again! And it reminded me of this post. And it makes me think of how wonderful heaven will be–when I hear Grandpa’s voice for real. And when my Mama will be restored and know me again! I’m so thankful they believed in Jesus when they had life and clear thinking. What a blessing to know we will be together for eternity!

God's Grace and Mom's Alzheimer's

I learned lessons of life and good-byes tonight. I sat on the sofa, with my parents, as Mom read the little stories of her life I had typed up for her about her childhood and young adulthood and then her courtship with Dad.

At one point she read out loud, “Ray and Nina got married.” She turned to Dad and asked in a strong, surprised tone, “Did you get married?”
Dad teased her back, “Did you get married?”
Mom laughed and half shouted, “I don’t remember!” Then she suddenly turned and looked at Dad and seriously asked, “Who are you?”
Dad, unfazed and accustomed to the question, calmly replied, “I’m your sweetheart.”
“Oh,” Mom said contemplatively. “You’re my sweetheart.”

Dad and I sat and visited, while I continued to comb Mom’s freshly washed hair with my fingers. I asked Dad some questions and he told me stories of his own…

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Such Love

I was over at Mom’s today as a new care giver was being trained in. She’s a refugee from Kenya and has been in the United States for seven years. I fed Mama while our regular care giver showed “Ruth” around.

After lunch Mama is helped into the bedroom and changed and freshened up before her nap. It took awhile today because Mama was pretty messy. And the whole process is a bit stressful for her and she hollers. And the whole time Dad waits on the bed, ready to hold her up if she tries to flop back before they are finished.

But once she was cleaned up, they tucked Mama into bed. And Dad cuddled next to her and put his arm around her and said in soothing tones, “I’m here for you, Nina. I’m here. I’m here for you.” And Mama calmed down as she nestled warm and close to Dad.

I met up with Ruth in the kitchen after this and saw that she was choking up and blinking back tears. “Oh the love he has for her!” she said. “Such love!”

And I blinked back tears and nodded in agreement. They’ve been married over sixty years now. And I am blessed to see their love lived out in sickness and in health, in good times and bad.

Such love! Such precious love!

P.S. This is a photo Daddy carried in his wallet for I don’t know how many years. Maybe until his eyes got so bad he couldn’t see it anymore. I wouldn’t restore it if I knew how, because the worn look of it speaks so well of the faithfulness of the man who cherished it.

There Was a Little Girl

Mama has less to say these days. She mostly hollers or talks gibberish. I can’t remember the last time she said my name. And it’s been awhile since I’ve heard her say, “I love you, too.”

But today, as I cuddled her on the love seat, she wrapped her hands around my arm. And she said, “There was a little girl.”

“Yes, Mama,” I said. “I was your little girl. And you were my mommy. I love you so much.”

She patted my arm and gently rubbed it. She said, “I hoped so.” And then she said some things that didn’t make sense. And then she started counting, “Four, five, six…”

And the moment was brief. And I’m not sure what she meant, or if she was just speaking her random words. But I want to believe that a part of her knows that there was a little girl. And that it was me.

And I hope she always, always, always knows how very loved she is.