1043. Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same… ~Pearl S. Buck

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but
 the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.
~Rajneesh

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If in the passage through the final doors of life gallop dark storms of senile dementia, we who are its witnesses and victims must view the damage as a sickness in and of the flesh and not a failing of the heart nor its love. For it is not what is in the mind or flesh of those who have to endure uncontrollable, internal storms which ultimately rage, worsen, and extinguish their lives that matters; the important thing is the inextricable cords of love that once connected us to them. Mother and child bonds are as strong as our connection to the Maker of all life, and so maybe that’s why on this rainy, winter’s day, my mom has visited my thoughts again. Or it could be the recent passage of her birthday or the gloom of the day that triggered memories of the disquieting breach of peace that caring for her became during the last 7 months of her life. When I invited my mom to come live in our home, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But what I didn’t realize was that our merged footsteps would upon occasion painfully lead us, partially because of her worsening dementia, to moments which were not our finest hours. Nor did I envision the treachery of steep climbs when we had to cross over slippery, rocky ground into new and challenging territories. However, even though there were terrible moments when we would go up and down as well as in and out of hellish, emotional roller coasters, we coped better at times than we had in the past and with more tolerance of our individual differences. My mother loved her children, but in her newness to motherhood I don’t think she ever really did know how to accept or handle me, her strong-willed, out-spoken, and highly sensitive first born child. Nevertheless, by the Grace of God, we made it through those trying days, and there were even a few of them along the way when we traversed some unexpected, joyful paths. So it is in the quiet grayness of this day that I give thanks for her and for God’s mercy. Mary Catherine and I had long been and would probably always have been enigmas unto one another, but despite our dissimilar traits an abiding love was strong in the sharing of our intertwined lives. Thus I try now to focus not on our differences, inabilities, and disagreements but continue to seek and remember the inherent goodness in the child of God that was my mother. And I pray almost every day for acceptance and forgiveness of her limitations which remain an unsurrendered source of occasionally festering, life-long scars. Forgiveness is, at least in my way of thinking, the miracle of all miracles, and I’ve long believed in miracles.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. ~Isaiah 58:8  ✝

509. How we treat the vulnerable is how we define ourselves as a species. ~Russell Brand

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength –
Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more!

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It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion -none.

It is -last stage of all –
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Matthew Arnold

Echoes, echoes of the past–voices, so many familiar voices gone, now silenced by the closing of their life’s doors–memories, memories mingling with the present, all bringing the dark clouds that move in across her brain where the fury of raging storms begin on unfamiliar shores. The echoes, the voices, and the memories become scrambled in her dementia so that things and people once cherished create anxiety, anguish, and at times torment. Her mind, once sharp and clear, is now befuddled as she becomes more and more lost inside herself and her fears. Her family raised, her labors done, there is nothing left now but the lonely silence of her worsening deafness and the rapid waning of her vision. Soon she will be ever so far away from me, the one in whose womb my life began. Will she then still know my face and the feel of my touch? Will the skies ever again clear in her head and cast her weary, but back on familiar shores? Or has she begun the final journey of her dreaded aloneness? Please Lord, be with my mother as she struggles to navigate these dark passages of uncharted waters. Bring her comfort and peace, and if not mine, then let her recognize Your touch and know Your face. Let the child she has again become blindly trust as she once did that all is well with her soul and that You will care for her always. And let Your sweet benedictions steal into her senescent heart and fragile mind that’s becoming so profoundly confused, wounded, and betrayed by her aged, earthly body.

One of my followers commented yesterday on my memory post about the sadness of dealing with an aging parent who has Alzheimer’s, and I know that others of you are caring for elderly parents whose memories are failing. In those situations there are two or more people affected by the circumstances; both the aged and their caregiver(s) are profoundly impacted by this passage. So I decided to share the above with all of you.  It is something I wrote in my journal during a long, hard night when I was caring for my 92-year-old mother before she passed away.

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4   ✝

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Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4 ✝