This past week I had the pleasure once again of going to visit my mom who is almost 96, this time to see her new home where, hopefully, she can spend the rest of her life enjoying the loving care of the sweetest Christian ladies I’ve met in a long time.  She has a calming view of the back yard and can watch the leaves of the trees swaying in the breeze, one of her favorite pass times.

Her previous domicile, a skilled nursing facility, though recommended, turned out not to be what we’d hoped and therefore, the need for a better place.  Mom was extremely depressed, wouldn’t eat, and in trying to get attention, ended up hurting herself in the process.  Her personality became like someone I’d never seen before — angry, beligerent, speaking as if there was a conspiracy going on around her.  I was curious as to whether her new home would yield better results and a more cheerful disposition.  It did!

Happy, smiling, for the first time in a long time!

Our first visit was a little “scattered” as we woke her out of a sound sleep, so her thoughts and tongue just couldn’t quite get organized together to say what she wanted to say.  But she was receptive and pleasant all the same.  The second visit was much shorter as she slept the entire time I was there, and on up to near supper time I was told later.  I filled out papers, got to know the owners a bit better along with a couple of the other residents (there are only six), met the hospice nurse who happened to visit during that time,  and enjoyed my time in this lovely group home that is now my mom’s new residence.

My third visit was much more jovial.  First of all, she recognized me right off the bat and called me by name!  She has not done that in quite some time.  Mom was in an amazingly happy mood, giggling whenever she realized she’d blurted out the wrong words.  For instance, her good friend was with me and when Mom took her hand to compliment her and say how much she has meant to her, she called her a “fried chicken”!  Mom covered her face with her hands, burst into laughter, and so did we!  From there it was all down hill.  The laughs just kept coming, especially after I told her I thought she’d swallowed a silly pill!  At the end of our visit, Mom still recognized me and said “Goodbye Honey” just like she always used to do whenever I had to leave her mobile home to go back to my home to Phoenix.

My final visit with Mom for this trip to Sacramento was a little too short for me and a bit more subdued on Mom’s part, but still a few laughs and giggles just the same!  She didn’t seem to recognize me this time and still wasn’t sure who I was when I left, I don’t think, but she has always had a way of letting you feel like she’s known you for a long time, even if she hasn’t a clue.  Although Mom’s thought processes are a little scrambled now, she still seems to be coming back to and retaining her sweet spirit and kindheartedness…something I attribute to the gentle love and nurturing that she has experienced by the ladies at her new home.

By all accounts, they did everything together as kids

A side note:  The day she slept until suppertime, right through my visit and that of the hospice nurse, was the day her twin brother passed away.  She had always been worried about him and there has been a deep sadness in her heart realizing she could never see him on this earth again, I think.  Perhaps while she was sleeping she experienced some sort of a supernatural knowlege being given to her that let her know he was now ok.  She woke up happy and has been since then, so I’m told.

I know that many of you will not be interested in my little story in the slightest, and that’s ok.  I realize she isn’t your mom and I don’t expect you to be more than mildly sensitive to the subject matter.  But, I share my experience with you just in case you are going through something similar, or will in the future, with your parents.  If you are anything like me, perhaps you’ve been in denial for years (in my case, about 59) that anything could go wrong with them, or are blind to indications that their mind or body is not in tip top shape anymore.  It’s worth paying attention to because at some point, they will not be as functional as they once were and will need your help.

Sadly, I have been more absorbed in my own life than that of my parents, and am finally coming around to realizing, not only how much they sacrificed for me, but now, I must do the same for them, something for a long time I was not capable of, or willing to do.  Not only that, but God’s Word is so plain on this subject that we are commanded to “Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother — this is the first commandment with a promise — That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2, 3  The Amplified Version  (reference Exodus 20:12 — Ten Commandments)

So, for those of us who have had a hard time looking past ourselves in order to minister to others’ needs, consider your parents at the top on your list of to-do’s!  God will bless you for it, things will go well for you and your life with be made longer as you minister to and honor your parents.  I’m trusting that God will have mercy on my self-centered, selfish life, and be gracious to me as I learn how to bless my little mommy in her final months or years.  I’ll pray for you if you’ll pray for me!