It's A Good Day

August 29, 2022

Minute Read

A Sunday in our life while caring for my precious Mother consumed by dementia.

It is a beautiful Sunday morning. My husband has left for church, and I go to Mother's room to start our day. As I lean over to kiss this lovely, silver-haired angel who has become completely dependent on me, I cannot help but feel sad. It is Sunday, the most important day of the week for her during the 30-plus years of pastoral work she shared with my dad. By this time every Sunday, she would have the family groomed, pressed, and polished; the house neat and orderly; lunch prepared; her Sunday School lesson studied; and would be on her way to teach or support, play the piano, sing, worship, fellowship, and encourage. On and on the list goes of the many roles she filled so well. But today, as it has been for some time, she does not even know it is Sunday. Like any normal daughter, I wonder why. Why her? She was the example of faithfulness - faithfulness with loving service. No complaining, no shortcuts, just doing what must be done, being what she needed to be through Christ. She carried the responsibility shoulder to shoulder with Dad.

As I proceed with our daily morning routine, an occasional tear slips down my cheek. "Let's brush your teeth." "Open your mouth." "Spit." Short, simple directions are given for each move. This now for Mother, who had handled life with such mastery, from whose lips came such wisdom. I remember how she would rise early every day to make our home (the parsonage) clean and comfortable, singing God's praises as she worked. I recall how she and the Ladies Ministry group would prepare plates in the parsonage, and how hungry I would get with the smell of that good food. I remember the greasy bags of doughnuts made and delivered every Friday to homes and factories, and how the smell of the cinnamon glaze would still linger in the house on Saturday morning when I woke.

I remember the pride Mother took in all she did. Whether it was taking a banana pudding to a church dinner or making sure Dad and we kids were well groomed, there was a Godly pride to offer her best with every occasion. I recall her reputation in the neighborhoods where we lived as the woman who sang while she hung out the laundry. And I remember that the only thing that kept her from all her Sunday church duties was caring for her invalid mother, shortly before Dad's retirement and several years following.

I have so many memories of seeing Mother and Daddy totally trust God for our basic needs and of how God provided.

I remember times I would accidently find Mother crying as she cleaned up almost unlivable parsonages, transforming them into immaculate dwellings. BUT I DO NOT REMEMBER HEARING HER COMPLAIN.

We have managed the sponge bath, dressing, and transferring to the wheelchair. Now we are off to the kitchen for breakfast. It is a good day when she picks up her fork and starts to eat without coaxing.

Sometimes she calls me by my name; other times she calls me mama, or by one of the names of my siblings or her siblings. One name she remembers is Jesus. Occasionally, I hear a prayer go up. A simple, "Oh, help me Jesus!" assures me that He is still her source.

On good days, she hums songs and sings words that she remembers from them. Although every word is not sung, the song in her heart remains. When we get to the piano and I start to play and sing the old songs that she and Dad used to sing together, or an old hymn, the tears well up in her eyes, and I know there is a connection in her spirit.

Every moment spent with her is a gift from God. Just the sound of her voice is a blessing because as this disease progresses, it may take away her verbal skills completely.

There are times when I say, "Mom, I wish you could tell me what you want to eat." She just laughs. There are times when I pray, "God, Mother would be happier in heaven with You and Daddy than she is here with me." There are days when I want to hold her hand, look at her face, and imprint every detail into my mind so I will not forget when she is gone.

But most days, I just pray to be faithful - faithful to God in the responsibility He has given me, faithful to appreciate the opportunity to serve a true servant of God, and faithful to the one who lived the Christian example before me daily.

It is a good day. Mother is smiling.

More Stories