Tag Archive | Waiting

Lifeline

 

How do you let go of someone who is still here?

How do you make peace with all the lies and fears

that have persisted all these years?

 

The bed bugs are all just in your deteriorating mind.

It’s just the very slow progression of this disease,

so very cruel and unkind.

 

The extreme dryness sets in

as you tear at your tender skin,

frantic and in pain.

 

You’re still searching for a Savior, or someone to blame.

On most days, it all just looks the same.

 

Afterall, if we focus long enough on the external,

we’ll never have to look within.

And we’ll still be stuck wondering

what could have been….

“Lifeline”

You’re watching everything you ever held on to
Slip away from you
And all you’re running from
Well it’s catching up to you Got you looking for a lifeline
Swimming in the high tide
Waiting for the daylight
To bring you home The world is too big to never ask why
The answers don’t fall straight out of the sky
I’m fighting to live and feel alive
But I can’t feel a thing without you by my side
Send me out a lifeline You’re watching everyone you ever belonged to
Walk away from you
Maybe all along you’ve been running from the truth Got you looking for a lifeline
You’re swimming in the high tide
Waiting for the daylight
To bring you home The world is too big to never ask why
The answers don’t fall straight out of the sky
I’m fighting to live and feel alive
But I can’t feel a thing without You by my side
Send me out a lifelineThere’s nothing I would change, I’d give it all away
For you again and again and over again
Everything I own is in your control

I’m looking for a lifeline
Swimming in the high tide
Waiting for the daylight
To bring me home

The world is too big to never ask why
The answers don’t fall straight out of the sky
I’m fighting to live and feel alive
But I can’t feel a thing without You by my side
Send me out a lifeline
Won’t You send me out a lifeline
Send me out a lifeline

“I will hold on hope, and I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck….I will find strength in pain” ~Mumford and Sons

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The Long Goodbye…

I love poetry. I love it for its simplicity and depth. I love rhyme, metaphor, and alliteration. So often, poetry can capture thoughts and emotions that other types of writing can not. I love the idea of using just a few words to say so much.

Dementia is often called “The Long Goodbye”. That is because hour by hour, day by day, month by month, and year by year, we watch our loved ones with dementia very slowly fade away before our eyes. There are so many moments of letting go, deep grief, and also countless opportunities to embrace the “now” of those moments. A person with dementia primarily lives in the present moment. They have no choice. They can not remember specific experiences from the past, and when they do, they often get the realities of those moments confused or misplaced. Sometimes, the act of remembering hurts them, as they forget long-held, precious memories. On the other hand, not remembering certain painful moments can be a nice relief. I wrote this poem a few nights ago.

The Long Goodbye

You reach out

your frail hand

unsure

alone

on this unforgiving,

precarious land.

 

Wishing you had built

on sturdy rocks,

instead of unsteady

sinking sand.

 

Your synapses

fire at random.

At times, there is sense.

We never know what

we will get.

 

Your illusions

confuse you

“Is Nana still alive?”

“Did we have a funeral?”

“Did Bapa go before her?”

 

I answer the best I can.

“Nana passed 12 years ago, mom.

She had a beautiful funeral.

I spoke part of her eulogy.”

“You did?”

You seemed surprised by this.

I wonder why.

 

I will hold tight

to this frail

hand and mind.

Leading, as I try,

through the darkness,

on a road slowly fading,

a bitter-sweet journey

The Long Goodbye…

The following clip is of Bono, the lead singer from U2, reciting a poem titled “The Mother of God” written by William Butler Yeats. It is beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Somebody’s Baby

I wait for weeks,

months,

to fill out your annual guardianship renewal forms.

Almost to the point

where I’m forced back to court

for you.

Avoiding the hurt and the official proof

of just where

all of your dark desires

have brought us to.

 

I don’t give you a copy.

Maybe I should, but I don’t.

Because I know you won’t understand.

 

Somedays I feel stuck in this mud

of thick, dark

suffocating despair.

Wondering where we would be

if you had just held on

to the hands

reaching out to help.

 

But then I crawl up

and remember all that I have gained

despite all of the darkness.

 

I cling to His promises of

Hope

Comfort

Love

Mercy

All of which can never be taken from me…….for they are eternal……

“Do not abandon yourself to despair.

 We are an Easter people,

and Hallelujah is our song!”

~Blessed John Paul II

]

 

A Different Kind of Motherhood

August 2008,after the birth of Anna (Our third baby)

Sunday was a feast day in the Catholic Church. Feast days are holy days when we honor Saints and Martyrs who have gone before us. We look to Saints as inspiring examples for how to live  holy and virtuous lives. On Sunday we honored the holy sacredness of the Motherhood of Mary.  We honor Mary as the Mother of God, who was chosen  to nurture and be a loving mother to our saving Lord.

All throughout that day I thought of my own gift of motherhood and of how my life has been blessed and enriched in countless ways because of it. Tonight while looking through my oldest daughter’s scrapbook, I saw a sticker that says: “When a child is  born…..so is a mother.” It made me think of how precious a gift motherhood is. Next to that sticker, I had placed a picture of me kissing the top of my daughter Lauren’s head, who was giggling happily.

When I first became a mother, my heart grew in ways that I never thought possible. The love my husband and I shared seemed to grow exponentially, and when I first held my daughter in my arms…well, there really is not a word that can describe that kind of love. It felt like I was finally viewing the world in full color, and not just in black and white. My heart bloomed with intense gratitude for this precious,warm, plump, perfect little baby who I would be forever bonded to in my heart and soul.

I have had a deep love for Our Blessed Mother for much of my life, but it was when I first became pregnant when my respect and love seemed to grow enormously for her. I began to realize what an intense sacrifice motherhood truly is. I thought of the intense courage and trust that Mary had in saying “Yes” to bearing the Christ child, and of the enormous sacrifice and faith it took for her  to raise Him up in those harsh conditions.

Right from the start, the Holy Family underwent persecution from those around them. They weren’t welcomed in any respectable place to give birth, and afterwards they had to flee to Egypt to escape being killed by King Herod’s men. I can not even begin to imagine the fear and worry that would grip a mother’s heart in those situations. Mary is a perfect model, after her Son, for what it looks like to completely trust in God’s plan for one’s life.

All throughout the day Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the beautiful white porcelain Hummel statue of Mary that my mom has adored since receiving her for her First Communion 60 years ago. That statue has stood on her dresser drawer for as long as I can remember, and has been a comfort to me since I was a very small child. As a young girl, I remember running into mom’s room and gazing up at Mary’s peaceful face, with her head bowed lovingly and her hands gently clasped in a prayerful pose. Looking at her, I felt more at peace and secure, as if she were silently saying to me, “Don’t fear, my child… all is well…I am here”.

I have become quite attached to that statue of Mary, as I have had to repair her 2 or 3 times in the past 3 years since mom has lived in nursing homes. She has had her halo glued back on twice, her hand repaired twice, and her head glued back on once. Despite all that, she still looks great! You can hardly tell she was glued together, unless you look at the back of her hand (which is missing!)

I make sure that the mom’s Mary statue is always near her, as I know it is a comfort to her, and helps to instill some loving peace into her tiny room. When I picture mom in her room at night, I almost immediately think of Mary standing watch over her, guiding and loving her, and it helps to bring me some needed peace and reassurance. My faith and love in Mary and her Son will never fail to provide me with that trust I will need in caring for mom now, and into the future. I know that we are being guided and given the strength we will need to persevere through this tough journey.

 The following are the lyrics to my favorite Marian song….Ave Maria (Hail Mary). I like Celine Dion’s version, because it is the original, and she sings in beautifully. I also added the Ave Maria sung by Josh Groben. That version is the one most typically sung. The lyrics are in Latin, and they are the words of the traditional Catholic prayer Hail Mary, which are:

Hail Mary! Full of Grace!

The Lord is with You!

Blessed are you, among women,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us, sinners,

now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

 

AVE MARIA (The original composed by Franz Schubert in 1825)

(Based on the poem “Hymn to the Virgin” by Sir Walter Scott which was a portion of his Epic Poem “The Lady in the Lake”)

Ave Maria! Maiden mild!

Listen to a maiden’s prayer!

Thou canst hear though from the wild;

Thou canst save amid despair.

Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,

Though banish’d, outcast and reviled –

Maiden! hear a maiden’s prayer;

Mother, hear a suppliant child!

Ave Maria

Ave Maria! undefiled!

The flinty couch we now must share

Shall seem this down of eider piled,

If thy protection hover there.

The murky cavern’s heavy air

Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;

Then, Maiden! hear a maiden’s prayer,

Mother, list a suppliant child!

Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! stainless styled.

Foul demons of the earth and air,

From this their wonted haunt exiled,

Shall flee before thy presence fair.

We bow us to our lot of care,

Beneath thy guidance reconciled;

Hear for a maid a maiden’s prayer,

And for a father hear a child!

Ave Maria.

“But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives…It is like when you throw a stone into a pool and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end?…But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.”

~ C.S Lewis

Hope in Waiting

All of us are waiting for something. Right now, someone may be anxiously waiting for an anticipated job offer, or for a long-awaited medical test result. Or perhaps, someone is joyfully waiting for a child to be born, or sadly waiting for a loved one to peacefully die.

I think of Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, who is the ultimate example for how to endure deep fears, doubts, and pains, while waiting with a completely grace filled heart. She consistently put her complete trust and hope in God for leading her and her family through their trials and darkness. This hope was rooted in a promise. It sustained her and gave her tremendous courage, which allowed her and Joseph to wait patiently.

 In his book, “Finding My Way Home”, Henri Nouwen talks about the secret to waiting. He says,

“If we wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun it changes the way we wait. Active waiting implies being fully present to the moment with the conviction that something is happening where we are and that we want to be present to it. ”

 “A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patient” implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us….Waiting, then is not passive. It involves nurturing the growth of something growing within.”

Like Mary, we can sometimes get frightened when our waiting becomes hard to bear. Yet, our faith helps us to realize that we need not wait in this darkness all alone. We have the everlasting bright light of Christ to guide us and keep us focused on His promises. We have the gift of community with our close friends and family, who sustain us with their friendship and love.

I waited for more than 20 years for my mother to fully love herself and choose sobriety, until her body inevitably began to give out on her about 10 years ago, when she was in her mid-late 50’s. It began with multiple broken bones (the dog was always to blame from her “tripping” over him).  Then it was  Gull Bladder surgery, Colitis, Pancreatitis, Osteoporosis, bleeding on the brain (twice), Hydrocephalus (with brain surgery to have a shunt placed), Dementia, 2 broken hips, and now Kidney failure.

For most of that time, I struggled with waiting with hope. I desperately tried to trust that God was leading our family towards healing. The problem was, I held on to tightly to what my vision was of what that healing should look like. I held on to the false notion that I could control certain situations that were very much beyond my control.

It is only within the last 6 or so years, that I have begun to more deeply understand what this surrender of trust truly looks like. I have slowly come to see that God never takes us where He cannot lead us through, and that there are very large lessons and spiritual gifts to be gained within our painful journeys.

I have learned what true forgiveness requires, and how to practice compassion despite my deep fears, anger, and anxieties. I have learned how to have obedience seeped in love. A love for my mother, who was and is a close friend, and who gave me life. I have learned that I will never stop learning, and that is a beautiful thing.

This Advent, I focus on the hope that my trust in God’s promises will allow Him to dwell in my heart, not just on Christmas, but everyday. I have hope as I wait, knowing that where God is leading me, is filled with goodness and gifts that are better than I could ever possibly dream of.

 “To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear.”  ~ Henri Nouwen

 

 

The Dig

I dig and dig

to get to the deep roots

of my brokenness

and deep hungers,

without severing

the young fruit

growing strong in the

shadow of Your wings.

My soul is parched

in this dry and weary land,

“Come to me all who thirst.”

Yearning for Your living waters

Open this heart

saturate and fill in

these crevices

created so long ago.

Cover these wounds

with Your pure and healing waters.

Help me yield

more lasting fruits,

renewed and nourished

by Your saving grace.

I rejoice because

You alone

Satiate.