The Time Has Come

The time has come. In just a few days, I will move my mom to a memory care facility.  It’s something I prayed would not have to happen. My emotions are all over the map.  One minute I feel relief to be getting some of my life back. The next minute I feel guilty for putting her into the care of strangers.  It  feels like “I give up – I can’t look after you.”  She will be hurt and angry at me. She won’t understand it.  She may even give up wanting to live. I feel joy over having cared for her well but also sorrow over those times that I lost my patience with her.  In all of it, God has graciously carried me.  He has wrapped me in His compassionate arms even when I have fallen short. This journey is filled with memories. As I take her through old photo albums, I too remember her before Alzheimer’s began to destroy her brain.  I remember her vitality and her charm.  I remember her “never give up” mindset and drive. I remember a time when she would have laid down her life for me rather than now expecting all of my life for her.  I remember when we were close. Now she needs daily reminders that I am her daughter and not merely a caregiver who prevents her from being independent and doing what she wants. I know it’s the right decision.  I love my mom and I will still spend regular time with her – but as her daughter and not her caregiver. That will be better for both...

13 Reasons

Dear Readers, I was recently made aware of the Netflix series sensation “13 Reasons Why, ”  which takes the viewer through thirteen recorded messages left behind by a teenage girl who commits suicide.  I have not watched an episode.  I did not even know this series existed.  However, I gained important insights from Kat Cannon, who watched the series, with its very mature content, with her teenage son. Below are her 13 reasons why she joined him in watching “13 Reasons Why.”  I encourage all parents, especially those of you with middle and high school age kids, to become aware of the content in this series.  If you kids are watching it, make sure to stick around and watch it with them. Thank you Kat, for sharing this important information and for being a guest blogger on my site.  I have included your full blog below.  You can find Kat at blog.katcannon.com.  She is the Director of Small Groups and Women’s Ministry at Austin Oaks Church. 13 Reasons Why I Watched “13 Reasons Why” April 26, 2017 My teenage son asked me a few weeks ago to let him watch the Netflix series sensation “13 Reasons Why”.  All his friends watch it, he says, but with a “mature content” rating, he needs my permission – and my passcode. After a quick consultation with my husband, I agree to sit down with the boy and screen the show with him. The series walks through thirteen recorded messages left behind by a high school junior girl who commits suicide.  And when the ratings police label this content for mature audiences only, they...

You Don’t Understand Me

“You don’t understand me,” my mom said as she began to cry. The words stung. I knew they held some truth in them. I want to be gentle with her – and be lovingly compassionate with her. I can do that most of the time, but then there are those times – when she begins to accuse me falsely or when she goes into a complaining mode – that I get worn down and snap at her. Rather than seeking to understand, I react to the words that spill out of her mouth. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13 I read these words the other day and immediately knew they were meant for me. Sometimes I am too quick to answer before I hear what another person is really saying. Because of Alzheimer’s my mom struggles to retrieve words. Often what she says is not really what she means at all. Thus, I am getting lots of opportunities to practice listening to her intentions rather than her words. She may want butter and ask for cream. She’ll say her glasses are foggy when she feels dizzy. She’ll say she does not need to shower when what she is expressing is that she needs help in the process. Living with my mom grants me many opportunities to grow in listening to the meaning behind words. When I do that, my responses connect with what she really is trying to express rather than what bubbles up out of her mouth. Conflict between any individuals is best addressed by sincerely trying to...

Little Will: A Brave Mindset

My grandson, Will, fell down and hurt his head again. He has a knot the size of a lemon on the back of his head.  A large lemon. I went over to Will’s home to see how he was doing.  Each time Will falls and hurts his head, I grow anxious. I know the concern about concussions and Will has had his share.  At age 5 this little guy’s head has endured more bumps and bruises than I dare count. This time, while playing basketball with his dad, his feet flew out from under him as he raced backwards to catch a ball and he whacked his head on the pavement. Hard. The decision was made to watch him and not panic.  His parents had been through this before. But around 11 PM, they were on their way to the ER.  Will was in serious pain.  Throwing up.  His eyes were not tracking. Will does nothing halfway.  He is one of those kids who has no fear. But I saw the fear in his dad’s eyes as he carried Will out to the car. I heard the fear in his mom’s voice as she called to say they were hurriedly doing a cat scan to rule out bleeding, a life-threatening emergency. I lay awake in bed fighting fear in my own heart. The updates were frightening.  They suspected bleeding or a fracture. It turned out to be swelling of the occipital lobe due to a concussion.  (A fracture has not entirely been ruled out yet however.  It’s too hard to tell with the swelling.) Will is not cautious. He...

The Illusion of Time

We lost an hour recently due to daylight saving time. (Unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii!) This time adjustment was first implemented during war times to conserve fuel and signed into common practice under the 1966 Uniform Time Act.  As with anything else the benefits are debatable.  Some studies suggest that people have more headaches, heart attacks and even more accidents in the week after we “spring forward” in March. To be sure, losing an hour leaves me feeling a bit groggy but I think of how regularly I can lose time by simply not being wholly present in TODAY. When I am tempted to wish time away – to long for a day or a season of life to end –  I am reminded of a poem in Linda Dillow’s book, Calm My Anxious Heart.  This powerful poem was written by a 14-year-old boy: It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors. It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air. It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season. It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect. I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated. I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit. I was retired but it was middle age that I...