My father left a little before midnight to take some amish out to Ohio. I checked on mom during the night (they sleep in a wee camper behind our house until their house is finished) but at 5 she was crying. She thought everyone had left. So after getting her dressed, i brought her into the house, annoyance clawing at my insides. I was tired, having gotten up with both her and Jacob during the night, and i couldn't help but think about how exhausting it is to take care of someone with dementia. I don't get the full brunt, since my father is around most of the time, but when he leaves for short trips i realize the emotional exhaustion that comes with it, although i gladly let my father have those times to get away and refresh. You forget what that person used to be like, and all you remember is someone who can't remember what you told her 5 minutes ago.
I brought mom into the house, found her a sweater and put her socks and shoes on. It was then she looked at me and asked me if i wanted to go back down, meaning back to bed. I told her no, i'll stay up, and then she said that she is sorry for making me get up early. My heart melted and my annoyance disappeared. I assured her it's no problem and i walked away with an ache in my heart.
I talk rarely about my mother on this blog, not because she isn't a big part of my life, because she is. I rarely talk about her, as i want to respect who she was and who she still is. Older people, especially people with some form of dementia, get abused very quickly by family members. I understand why and my heart aches for all those people out there trying to take care of parents like mom, without the grace of Jesus Christ in their lives. I love my mom, but she is no longer the same woman who raised me. She will ask the same question 20 times a day, she worries about things that never mattered before, and the time is quickly coming when she will no longer recognize my face. So how does a person carry on graciously, perfoming all those menial tasks for someone who is no longer capable of doing the simplest thing? How do i continue with love towards her, truly serving her out of love and not out of duty? I'm still walking through all those things, learning as i go, but there is one thing i don't question. God's grace is sufficient. He has clearly called me here and here is where i want to be. The last several months have had some incredibly hard moments, and yet i've never been happier and more fulfilled. My life is so rich and i'm learning that some of that richness is a reward for a life of service. This world promises happiness if you only serve yourself, making sure that YOU are taken care of first. Jesus says to lay down your life and to pick up your cross, and i can assure you, it's worth every tear streaked second. Forget about what you think you need to be happy, forget about the world and pick up your cross. Meet Jesus every morning, cry out to Him, walk in the path He has called you, and you will find a life full of richness. You will find your heart bursting with gratitude, praising Him that He is walking with you in every detail of your life. Surrender your wants and desires to Him, being willing to walk the lowliest stations of life, and you will truly discover happiness. Lately, when i had Jacob grabbing at my skirt, wobbling to hold on while i worked in the kitchen, and my mother was hovering nearby with some questions that were worrying her and i had the twins begging for mama, i realized something. I don't have to wonder if i'm truly wanted, needed, or loved, and instead of complaining and feeling stressed (which is how i usually feel at moments like that)i thanked God for the gift of being needed. Every time i serve, i am crucifying a bit more of my flesh, filling it with the Holy Spirit and His power. It's not easy and i have to constantly guard my heart against envying people who seem to have lots of free time, but i would have it no other way. Jesus has called me here, His presence surrounding me, and there is no place i'd rather be.