We had my mom’s bi-annual care conference the other week. I met with mom’s nurses to discuss her progress and plans for future treatments. We were told that she would not benefit from anymore physical therapy sessions in hopes of her walking again. So I made the decision to “wean” her from therapy, as insurance no longer covers the sessions. It was a final “letting go” moment in regards to letting go of the hope that she would ever walk again.
Although I feel sad that mom will probably never walk on her own again, I try to focus on all of the many gifts that God has given us throughout this difficult journey. I suppose that is a primary struggle of life. To pray for the eyes to see the blessings and angels that God mercifully sends our way in order to make our hearts lighter and our journey brighter, especially when it feels very difficult to do so. To continue to pray for the faith to see that sometimes He gives us things that we need for growth, rather than things that we think we need or want. To pray for trust to see that our trials in our life are perhaps, in certain ways, blessings in disguise.
A very huge gift was how mom ended up getting into the place that she is in now. I had initially hoped that she would get into Waverly Gardens, but that center and others that I interviewed would not take her, mostly because of her addictive behaviors. I finally got her into a place that had a locked memory care center floor, which agreed to take her after many interviews and reassurance gained that she would not be a flight risk. Within 6 months, I knew that this was not the place for mom. I began to fervently pray for God to help us find a new place for her to live. Within 3 months, mom ended up needing to have surgery again on her right hip, as it had never healed properly.
Amazingly, the Care Center the hospital set up for her to do her rehab in was Waverly Gardens. It was after mom stayed for a few days that they began to see that mom was not going to be a flight risk, so we signed her up long-term. It was a huge relief and burden lifted from my shoulders. I should add that a huge gift was when I immediately got her into the brand new beautiful wing of the Center, which usually has a wait list!
Another gift in this difficult struggle has been the fact that my mom is now totally and completely chemical free, except for a few prescriptions for depression and anxiety (and who isn’t on those these days anyway?!) and for other minor health issues. She is so much less anxious, nervous, and irritable than she used to be that it is like night and day. I no longer dread our visits. Instead I look forward to visiting her with my kids. And my kids love running around the place and getting their ice cream in the deli!
Some days, like this week in particular, I struggle with pronounced melancholy when I remember all that my mom was and could have been. I think it is partly because my two daughter’s birthdays are in the next few weeks, and celebrations always remind me just how much is missing in our family. The start of the fair reminds me of all the fun times mom and my family had going to the State Fair every year. Some years we would go 2 or 3 times. Of course, we enjoyed gorging on all of the greasy goodies, just like almost every one else.
It helps to remember all of the gifts, or the “silver linings” in the dark clouds of loss…no matter how dark things are or not. Those bright spots are God’s grace shining through…guiding us and loving us. I think of Psalm 94 “When I said, “My foot is slipping!” Your loving kindness, God, held me up.” And it is prayer that helps us find those bright spots. It is prayer that breaks open the dark clouds for the bright spots to find us! Those are the true blessings in disguise.