My favorite blog writers all seem to be talking about spring, about seasons and the cycle/seasons of life. As a pastor thinking each day about this Lenten season we are in, I think about the seasons of life as well. A new season, a new part of our lives is beginning as we look at extended care for my mother. There is anxiety about this. There is guilt. There is relief. There is fear. All understandable. All probably unavoidable. All very, very human.
For the most part, change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. The seasons change. People die, babies are born. Flowers bloom and then they die. Some are reborn in the spring; others become compost for the earth to help nourish the new flowers. It is all a very complicated and daunting thing to think about.
When a change is made, especially a big change is made, the fear of the unknown can triumph over the knowledge that God is in control. Normally each day, I see the “God-things” that make life worth living. But during a time of fear- it is easy to let them slip away unnoticed.
One of the members of my congregation asked for prayers for her father today because he is facing the truth, the truth that he will die-probably sooner rather than later. Not an easy truth. Not for her father, nor for the daughter. As my dad and I talk about extended care for my mom, we are both hit with that truth as well, and with the fear that goes along with it.
At the ages of 86 and 81respectively, I know that I will not have my Dad and my Mom with me on this earth forever. And we don’t know the day or the time…but we do know life doesn’t last forever.
The “what ifs” bother Dad. “What if she goes into a nursing home and dies two months later?” “What if she hates it and hates us for placing her in extended care? What if…?”
Truthfully- I thought she would hate adult day care, but I was wrong. So I am hopeful she will adjust well to extended care.
Today, we went to a Chinese Buffet for lunch. After lunch, Mom opened her fortune cookie and it read, “Now is a good time to finish unfinished projects.” Mom read it out loud and very matter-of-factly said, “Maybe this means I am going to die soon.” Dad looked down at the table. I wasn’t sure I heard her right, so I asked her what she had said. And she repeated it.
I don’t want Mom to die soon. I don’t want anyone I love to die soon. I also don’t want to see Mom live another 15 years, slowing losing everything that made her who she was… As some have said- Alzheimer’s is a bitch. It’s unfair. It’s like living through the worst nightmare of your life. So Lord- it’s up to you. It always was and still is. There are worse things than death. We who have seen Alzheimer’s know that.
So- this new time in our life, this new season, this new phase will bring with it uncertainty and surprises. Just like every other part of life. I pray we can see the blessings as they occur.
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Lord I wanna go to Heaven, but I don't wanna die.
Well, I long for the day when I'll have new birth, but I like livin' here on earth,
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die