Tag Archive | Angels

Ascend

 

Our treetop hearts

bend and sway

in these strong winds.

 

Yet, our faithful roots

are sturdy,

strong, and deep,

and have no end.

 

We’re lined up,

row after row,

straight and tall

sustaining

lifelong friends.

 

If one should fall,

we hold her up

and help her stand

stable again.

 

Our prayers unite, 

and bind up the hurts,

lifted up

and upon the winds,

they ascend……

This was a poem I wrote today while admiring the trees in the park ūüôā I was thinking of all of the friends God has blessed me with in my life, and how He holds us up in so many ways. The following is a very beautiful song with amazing pictures of the Scottish lankscape. Enjoy and God bless ūüôā

Love is a Gift

Anna and Nana

 
Authentic love is not a vague sentiment or a blind passion. It is an inner attitude that involves the whole human being. It is looking at others, not to use them but to serve them. It is the ability to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to suffer with those who are suffering. It is sharing what one possesses so that no one may continue to be deprived of what he needs. Love, in a word, is the gift of self.
 
~ Blessed Pope John Paul II
 
 
 
Grandparents
 
Grandparents bestow upon their grandchildren
The strength and wisdom that time
And experience have given them.
 
Grandchildren bless their grandparents
With a youthful vitality and innocence
That help them stay young at heart forever.
 
Together they create a chain of love
Linking the past with the future.
The chain may lengthen,
But it will never part….
 
 

Fall in Love
Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907‚Äď1991)

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/prayers-by-st-ignatius-and-others/fall-in-love/#sthash.nTKtSwvu.dpuf

 
 

See Me

I am sharing this beautiful poem in honor of Muriel and all of the sweet old men and woman who live with my mom at her Care Center. Muriel eats each meal with my mom and tries so hard to carry on conversations. She is losing her memory and words no longer come easy. She often forgets words that were once easily recalled. Her face lights up when she sees me and my kids though, and she loves to express how wonderful it is to see young children.

¬†The other day, we were decorating pumpkins with my mom, Muriel, and a few of the other residents. As I was helping some other residents, Muriel rolled herself back in her wheel chair to her room forgetting to take her new pumpkin. My daughter and I then rushed to bring her the pumpkin. We visited with her in her room for a bit, admiring all of her pictures of her kids and grandkids. When I brought over a picture of her daughters, she teared up, and said, “It’s nice to see this, I am losing my vision, so I can’t see these pictures very well”. She continued to express how she was told by her doctor that she is going blind and that she wishes it wasn’t true. She could not remember what it is that she has, but I told her I understood anyway.

I could sense that she was so relieved and happy to be able to share this, her story, with someone who would listen. She, and the other people who live out these quiet days and nights often shut up inside themselves, just long to be seen and heard. They long to be validated, understood, and loved. They each have a story, a history, hopes and dreams. Above anything else, they just want to be loved. They want to know people still care about them and remember them.

It is a very rewarding thing to know that perhaps I was one of the few people who gave Muriel any concentrated sincere care and attention for that day, or maybe even for the entire week. God’s grace is palpable in these moments of sharing His love and compassion with someone who¬†desperately needs it.

Muriel with Lauren

This poem was written by an old woman living in a nursing home in Ireland. It was found among her thing when she died.

 What do you see nurses, what do you see?

 Are you thinking when you look at me?

 A crabby old woman, not very wise, Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try.”

And forever is losing a sock or a shoe.

Who unresisting or not, let’s you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you think, Is that what you see?

Open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,

As I rest at your bidding, and eat at your will,

I’m a small child of 10, with a father and mother, Brothers and sisters who loved one another,

A young girl of 16, with wings on her feet, Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.

A bride soon at 20, my heart gave a leap. Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At 25 now, I have young of my own, Who need me to build a secure, happy home.

A woman at 30, my young now grow so fast, Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At 40, my young sons have grown and gone, But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.

At 50, once more babies play around my knee,  Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead. I look at the future and shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known,

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel,

Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.

There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,

And now and again, my battered heart swells,

I remember the joys and I remember the pain,

And I’m living and loving life over again,

I think of the years all too few…gone too fast,

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

Open your eyes, nurse, open and see.

Not an empty old woman, Look closer….see ME.

Honor your father and your mother,  so that you may live long in the land the  Lord your God is giving you Ex 20:12

Blessings in Disguise

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.

 

Fly Away Angel Friend

Good friends are our angels on earth…helping us along, supporting us, and loving us for who we are, with all of our strengths and our shortcomings. This week my mom’s best friend in the Care Center is going to lose her battle¬†against a fast acting cancerous brain tumor. Three weeks ago, mom’s friend, Signe, started to act out with anger and other uncharacteristic behaviors, so her daughter brought her in to get a MRI. They found a huge brain tumor, that had grown so fast and big, that there was no longer any hope for a successful surgery. Signe became an angel for my mom in many ways, and I know mom was one for her, as well.

Mom got to know Signe¬†well early¬†last fall when mom began to start eating out more in the dining room with the other residents. She clicked with Signe¬†right away, as they were both very personable and friendly. Signe¬†was closer to my mom’s age.¬†She had strong conversational skills and was very inquisitive¬†and cheerful, much like my mom. When I talk with¬†mom about her friend passing soon, she sadly says, “Now who am I going to be friends with?¬† She was the only one who has their wits about them!” A funny quirk was that my mom thought her name was Sydney, instead of Signe, even though I tried to correct her many times! Signe never seemed to mind mom calling her by a different name ūüôā

Signe’s¬†friendship was very instrumental¬† in helping my mom get acclimated and comfortable there. They ate 3 meals a day together, and often spent times in between meals sitting at the table talking and sharing tea together. It got to the point where if we were with mom taking a walk, and it was close to dinner time, she would get anxious and say, “we need to hurry and get back, because Signe and I are eating dinner together, and she will wonder where I am if I’m not there!” I would sometimes get annoyed that she seemed to want to be with her friend more than me, but I also thought it was sweet, and I was very grateful that she was finally¬†finding some happiness there.

My young kids and I got to know Signe well. She loved to see their joyful spirits and talk and visit with them. In many ways, my kids have become like grandkids to her and the other residents. They all just light up when they see us coming down the hall. I think we remind them of their own kids and grandkids and it helps to cheer them up. It is very rewarding to spread that kind of love and energy to people who desperately need it. 

Yesterday I talked to Becky, Signe’s¬†daughter, who told me with much emotion how grateful she was that my¬†mom came in to her mom’s¬†life, and what a good friend she was to her. She said that my¬†mom was like her mom’s¬†guardian angel, & that she was always so friendly and sweet to Signe.¬† Signe¬†was up sitting off in the living room¬†when my daughter Anna & I got there. She was unresponsive, yet awake¬†&¬†¬†staring off.¬†¬†I told her that¬†we were praying hard¬†for her. ¬†Becky said that her mom wanted to get out of bed to see Donna (my mom).¬† I felt so sad for her and her family, yet very grateful that my mom was able to be that kind of friend to her during her last¬†months on earth.¬†

I thank God for sending Signe into my mom’s life.¬† They were both so blessed to get to know each other when they did. I truly believe that God sends people into our lives exactly when we need them the most. We will miss you Signe‚Ķ.our special, one of a kind angel friend.

Hide and Seek!

(written on Sunday, January 23, 2011)

I usually go visit my mom twice a week. ¬† Today Mom was wearing her hot pink robe again and had messy hair with no makeup on as usual.¬† I find myself often hoping that she will be dressed when we come on any given day…but once again I am learning to let go of my hopes and¬† expectations a little bit at a time.¬† Mom has always liked to be comfortable, and¬† getting dressed is not at the top of her list of comfortable things to do.¬† She often says, “What’s the point? I just sit in this chair all day anyway.”, whenever I ask her why she doesn’t get dressed.¬†¬†¬† It is such a humbling site to see my once beauty queen of a mom be consistently¬†wearing her robe, and in a wheel chair.¬† She is so vulnerable .. and yet. ¬†she is no longer very anxious or angry.¬† She is always very happy to see us come.¬†¬† She is always very thankful that we have come to spend time with her.¬†¬†

¬†I believe mom has reached a resignation stage in her disease.¬† She no longer asks about home or talks about how things used to be at all, which is surprising to me at times.¬† I often wonder how much she actually remembers, and I am mostly hesitant to ask her any of those questions.¬† I am afraid of upsetting her with remembering things that can no longer be a reality for her.¬† She never talks of Florida…which is odd, because it was such an important and special home to her.¬† But, I think that her world has become so much smaller that there may be no room to hold those once treasured memories.¬† She is getting further into a non conversational state, where she just sits and enjoys just simply being in our presence.¬† It is hard for me to take it in some days, as I still remember well, the once vibrant and outgoing personality that was once my mom.¬† She always had many questions for how and what was going on in my life.¬† With me, it was a give and take with our conversations.¬† We rarely ran out of things to talk about and she often had many helpful insights and advice on a variety of issues.

¬†As we were coming down from the top floor deli today, the kids hid from Nana in the living room area situated next to mom’s room.¬† The kids had a blast hiding out and waiting expectantly for us to come search them out.¬† As I rolled mom along she enjoyed playing along saying things like, “oh I wonder where the kids are…they must be behind this chair!”

¬†Hearing their tiny joyous giggles made her grin with glee each time we searched one out.¬† They then proceeded to hide in her room over and over again, even when there were no longer places left to hide.¬† It didn’t matter to them, they just loved the thrill of the chase , like all little children do with hide and seek!¬† It makes me happy to see that she can still enjoy a basic game like hide and seek with my kids, even with all of her limitations‚Ķ.Yet again, God’s grace found a way¬† to show us how the true love and joy from children has no limits in warming those around them.

¬†On the way out it was very touching.¬† An older daughter was wheeling her mom past¬†the nurses station when I heard her say‚Ķ”oh, it is soooo nice to see little kids around here!”¬† Donna the nurse in charge, said in reply, “I know!¬† They just brighten everyone’s faces around here‚Ķ. we just love when they come around here!”¬† Hearing that really made me feel proud and happy knowing that our love and bright spirits really do make a very real¬†difference…it¬†was a very¬†uplifting and affirming thing to hear!

For anyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.  Luke 11:10