She is okay. We are still being tossed about in the waves of a grief that is going on 7 years now.
Mama is as okay as anyone with Alzheimer’s dementia can be. She is being cared for. She lives in a safe place meaning the doors have alarms so no one can wander outside without alerting staff.
She is clean because staff sees to her well-being.
She is visited by family and friends and she still smiles and laughs at times though she sleeps more.
She is content and we have come to value that word, that state of being.
The grief is more gentle these days. It’s felt strongest on birthdays and mother’s day. The cards that won’t come and cards sent to her and signed “your daughter” still carry a whisper of a hope the words will have meaning.
Tears come more on these days. Tears for dreams once held of more time spent together with her. Tears for a mama who is more gone than present.
I find myself talking about her in the past tense at times, as though she has passed. The part of life where we knew each other as mother and daughter has passed. And it is sad.
For a moment I will allow myself the sadness of that loss but I want to remember more what she doesn’t. I want to remember the time we met on her side of the country. When we drove a little Nissan from Ft. Lauderdale to Yellowstone National Park packed with two kids in the back seat in the days before electronic entertainment devices.
Or the other time we met in the middle, them driving from Yakima, WA and us again from Ft. Lauderdale to meet at a house outside Branson, MO.
There would be more cross county trips for us and even more flights for her to be at graduations and weddings and just to be with her kids.
Her sacrifice for us was always there. She is my Proverbs 31 woman. The one who was up before the rest of us to cook breakfast, and serve it and clean up after.
The one who sewed dresses for me and patched many a knee on my brothers jeans.
The woman who made sure the family money was spent wisely, shared generously and saved something when there should have been none left.
She loved people and her life’s work was to help those in need. She was living the calling God had placed on her life to serve and this is what brought her joy.
Mama would be the first to tell you her limitations. She didn’t like being overweight and she could have a harsh tone if warranted. She suffered a broken heart when daddy divorced her but she found love again, much to her surprise I think.
Knowing her imperfections, we still praise her and recognize the depths of her love for God.
What she doesn’t remember we proclaim and celebrate.
These words from Proverbs describe her well. A woman who never set out to charm or to be anything other than “neat and clean”. A woman whose beauty was heard in her laugh and shared with her smile. A woman who loved and served God above all else. Thank you, mama.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.