I am in the sandwich phase of life. Though my children need me less each day, my mother’s care continues to grow. I recently wrote a post about her fall and hip surgery: 86 and Laughing. Her recovery continues and hopefully she will return to her apartment soon.
I sometimes wish my mother had made some long-range decisions before her dementia restricted her choices. She had always wanted to die at home in her own bed, but living alone became less and less an option as her dementia grew. My siblings are scattered from Atlanta to Kodiak, Alaska, and we knew we had to do something but no clear choice arose. We talked to Mom about moving, but she resisted any conversation on the topic. Her local neighbors and friends in Washington State kept telling us she should not be living alone. But anytime we suggested a home health care aide, she adamantly refused. Mom knew she was losing control but did not want some stranger to enter her home. Who can blame her?
My siblings and l wrestled with the fourth commandment: Honor your father and mother. What did honoring meaning in this situation? How do we love mom and make her final years happy, significant ones? There was no simple solution.
Finally in the summer of 2010, my sister flew with mom to Minnesota for an extended visit. We had Mom visited a gerontologist, lawyer and financial planner. After three months in our home, my wife and I found a memory-care assisted-living apartment in Woodbury, near Resurrection Lutheran Church. With considerable reluctance my mom moved in and began the adjustment. We hung her family pictures on the wall, and made sure she had plenty of crossword puzzles to enjoy. Within a couple of weeks Stonecrest became her home. Her recent fall and surgery may only be a temporary set-back.
I am still unsure how to honor my mom, other than to visit, pray and remind her that she is loved by all her children, grandchildren, friends relatives and God. Fortunately, she still honors me with a smile and a hug. And I smile each time I am so honored.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the blessings of family.