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.
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 ✝