Sunday, September 19, 2010

Down a different road

I must say as my mom gets older this road we are now traveling on is more than new, it is scary. Yes, scary. As changes come to my mom, they too reach me. I am not quite sure what to do with all these changes.
I usually call my mom on a daily basis. If nothing more than just to check on her. Sometimes we chat and others we just seem to make sure one another is doing okay and that is it. But just that one call allows my mom know she is being thought about.

This past week has been a rough one. I had not spoken to her all week. Why? Well, at her last doctor's appointment she hurt my feelings terribly. As she is walking this new road, she is experiencing all these new character traits and some of them are not the nicest on the heart. Her words can bite and her looks can sting. I struggle in this. I tend to take on this hurt and give it a name all of it's own. This week I allowed this hurt to turn into anger. It seemed the longer I went without speaking to her the worse the anger grew. I was expecting my mom to call and say, "I'm sorry Rob." But that call never came and those words never touched my ears.

I called my mom today. I opened my heart and shared everything. Every feeling and hurt. She cried and I too cried. But my heart was emptying all that anger and was gaining a new peace. I did not speak with an angry tone. I spoke in love. I felt it needed to be said, right? Here I was spilling my feelings and then I asked my mom, "Mom, if there is something on your heart, just always please be honest with me." Turns out, mom is fearful of the unknown. See, her mother, my grandmother is in a nursing home. Alone. She suffers from dementia. Most of the time she doesn't even know her own children. Mom is terrified of being like her mother. She is afraid of not seeing well. She is scared of being alone. All those little moments she took for granite just yesterday are gone. She now has to have help with her bills and those everyday things. Her mind is just not what it once was.

See, she didn't want to listen to me and I wasn't hearing her. We were talking, but we were not communicating. We were not understanding one another. I think to a point I didn't want to hear my mom. I am just as fearful as she is. I don't know what the future is going to bring either. We always expect our parents to just be there. We expect them to be healthy. But my mom just isn't. I now, am watching over her as she once did me. I am driving her to doctor's appointments and speaking to the doctor as she did for me so many times.

Just as I am not use to this, she isn't either. She is losing control and I am taking on this role of care giver. The doctor's now look at me when they speak. They check with me and ask my opinion. Little by little my mom is losing a piece of her independence. That is a heavy thing to lose.

Things are happening that I do not understand. There are days I can give my mom 100% and others, well, it might be 30%. I have those days in which I can barely care for myself. The more stress in my life the worse my fibromyalgia is and those migraines just love stress. So, what do you do? What do you do when your mother is counting on you and you are afraid you can't deliver?

See, when my mom hurt my feelings last week, I should have just walked her in the house and sat down and shared with her. But I was afraid. I was afraid to hurt her feelings. But I ended up doing it anyway by not calling her. I just needed to share with her then and not wait. I ended up thinking, "What if something happens to my mom?" I want to care for my mom in such a way that each night when I go to bed I know I did all I could, even if it wasn't much, it was all I had to give that day. I want her to live in such a way that she can talk to me about her fears and frustrations. Although she is a grown woman, she cannot think as she once did. Her thoughts are a little slower and her fears run a little deeper.

Growing up we just didn't share our emotions at home. Mom and dad just didn't open up like that to me. We didn't hug and we didn't say, "I love you." I didn't hear, "I love you", from my dad until he was ill and dying with cancer. It was just the way they too were raised. I am much different. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hug my son or tell him I love him. It was the same when my girls were at home. Maybe that came from what I did not have. But even so, I knew my parents loved me. I knew I was the life of my dad. I knew I was his princess. I knew my mom would give her life for me. She still would.

I am learning no matter what road we are walking down, God has us covered. He has those rails up so we don't fall off. He shines His light so we don't stray off the path. We might get close to the edge, but like today, He brings us back around.

Just like raising our children was a learning experience day by day, sometimes moment by moment, so is taking care of my mom. I don't know everything. I am going to make mistakes. It is one of those things you learn as you go. But to learn we must have communication. We must open our hearts and share. She is learning humility and it is not an easy thing for her to do.

I cannot expect anymore from my mom than what I myself am willing to give. She is not perfect. As her care giver I see things she doesn't. And she has things in her heart she has not been willing to show.

This is one of those roads that is not easy to travel. We take so much for granite. Just those little things that make us smile. Many of those little things my mom can no longer enjoy. She now has a hard time reading. That is a hobby she fell in love with and now she is losing one thing that brought her comfort.

So, why am I telling you my struggle? I have a feeling I am not the only one. Until we are honest about our feelings and fears we are never going to grow. It's okay not to know everything. It's okay to falter. We are not perfect. It's okay to be angry about what is going on. It's what we do with that anger that is important. We must give it to Jesus. We must hand over all those feelings so He can sort through them and return our hearts to peace. Peace will not come until we are ready to give up all those feelings we are holding on to. I think sometimes that anger is a protection for us. I know this week it was for me. I was afraid to see my mom that way. I was fearful of seeing her talk to me the way she did. But today I reminded her of when she too cared for her mom and her mother hurt her feelings. Grandma didn't know she was and my mom didn't know she was either. She was stuck in her frustration. I was stuck in my fear of losing my mom. Isn't that what it comes down to? Losing my mom, or even losing some of my freedom? Hmm. That is hitting home now. See, the more my mom needs, the more I must let go of.

It is a struggle, but I know on this new road the Lord is going to lead us. He is going to provide us with new blessings. Sweeter moments and memories to last. I am learning patience. I am learning to stop and remember IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. Right now, I need to make the Lord my focus and when I do He will give me all I need to care for my mom. When change comes we can't run the other way. We must face it head on. Not with fear, but with a faith in God, trusting Him each step of the way.

She isn't wanting my sole attention. She is wanting only my love. She knows I live with a great faith. She sees me travel a road of my own and she admires me. That stirs my heart with such emotion. I need to pray with my mom. I need to reassure her with God's promises. I need to surround her with positive attitudes of courage and strength. I know the Lord has a plan. I just need to tune myself into Him more and He will fill my heart with encouragement and grace.

Wherever you are today my friend, know that He is with you. You are not on any road alone. Reach out and ask for help. Don't allow yourself to get rundown. Get your pick me up from the Lord. Get on your knees and don't get up until you are refreshed and renewed with a positive attitude and one that you can share with others. I need to share more of that with my mom.

Lord, thank You for my mother. Thank You for today. Thank You for my daughter who opened my eyes today to help me see I needed to let go of my own hurt and find the truth. Help me to remember today is all we have and I need to make the best of each moment. I can make a difference in this world and in my mom's life just by being a willing vessel and allowing You to live through me. What a gift just this one phone call was today. Forgive this stubborn girl and help me to always see there is always a better way, Your way!

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown."

1 Corinthians 10:24 "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being."

1 Corinthians 10:31 "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Hebrews 13:5-6 "Let your c0nduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

1 Peter 6-7 "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

1 John 3:11 "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
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