My Aging Mother
Tomorrow is NOT Promised.....
I sit on the blue and creme floral couch, adjacent to, but just out of reach of my aging mother's chair. She loves to "post-up" in that old chair with a small T.V. tray on her lap.
She swivels back and forth, positioning herself, just so. When she finally settles, she leans back, looks intently into my eyes, and asks, "How are things going with you?"
It doesn't matter that I have answered that question upward of three times today. What does matter is that today, we are together, today we have fellowship and share memories. Today is a gift from God that was not promised but has come. Today is a day to be enjoyed as best we can for as long as we can.
The Past is Behind You
I look at my mother... trying not to see the prominent, vibrant, animated woman of power that guided me to adulthood in the figure before me. I command myself to see who that woman she has become... the once sized 16 woman has shrunken to a size zero. Her clothes are pinned together so they will remain on the sallow flesh of her undernourished frame.
Has she been mistreated? Has she been denied food or nourishment? No, she has not, but what she has done is fallen for the deception that plagues many older people. Regardless of what time of day it is, she already feels full. That "already full" is based on a lie. For surely, how can you feel, "already full" when you have eaten nothing but cold cereal and yogurt that day?
I remind myself that everything MUST change. The past is behind...whatever was may no longer be... I temporarily comfort myself with this knowledge and continue o enjoy my mother as she is today.
Love is an Action Word
I continue to gaze at my aging mother. I look at the silver-grey, shoulder-length hair, once red-brown and always impeccable. Now, a scraggly mess, disheveled from mane to end. I take a comb and brush and, with permission, begin to style her hair, making jokes about the past and inquiring about the "now". I don't ask about the future as it too is not a promise, but a gift, if it comes.
Stepping Down From the Throne
My aging mother...once queen of her era, commander of community decisions, keeper of the calm between opposing factions, defender of the ignorant, teacher of all who would listen; now although still living, breathing, and articulate, she has stepped down from her throne and relegated her past into the category of old memories...
Forgotten by all who hailed her courage, neglected by all who rallied her cause, not spoken of by those who themselves are forgotten.
It is a graceful descent accomplished with the smoothness of turning a page in a book and with the swiftness of the batting of an eye. No turning back, just moving forward....on the next life event.
My aging mother, her current state is a bitter-sweet reminder of what fate may hold for us all - but for the grace of Almighty God. Or, perhaps it is His grace to allow us to see as many fruitful years as my aging mother has seen. Perhaps it is the grace of God to age with grace and dignity. Perhaps it is the grace of God that allows children to glean at the feet of their aging parents long past the age of their puberty.
I resent the reality that my mother is aging past the point of being able to do things for herself as she had in the past. I resent it because it means that in due season, she will leave me. Leave me to have no one to look to, leave me to hsve no one to complain about, leave me to face my own mortality.
Yet, I rejoice in the reality that she is moving closer to the presence of the Lord, our Savior and King. Closer to the joys of our Heavenly home and the absence of all sorrow, pain, and fear. Yes, it is bitter-sweet and irreversible.