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Wednesday quotes on enduring life's trials

Thursday, March 10, 2011


As we were sitting in the waiting area of the nursing home, I wondered what my mother-in-law would look like now. I wondered what toll the Alzheimer's, strokes and Parkinson's disease had taken on her body. I also wondered why such a sweet and truly gentle Southern girl, who was always just that, had to go through this triple whammy of health problems.

I could ask the why questions all day knowing there really isn't one good reason or any type of explanation as to why other than God's will is His and we have to go through life taking what comes our way with grace.

That's what I felt Jon's mom always has; grace.

I knew that was on Jon's mind too. He has always been a momma's boy. Not the kind that couldn't let go and move away, but one who truly loves his mother and has a reverence for her.

We sat quietly waiting and couldn't see around the corner to the hall. Occasionally some of the kids would jump around and run down the hall. Reese exclaimed that she was coming with Grandpa. I noticed that the excited look on his face quickly faded and he looked a little nervous. She wasn't the same grandma anymore it seemed...

When my father-in-law steered her wheelchair around the corner, I was pleasantly surprised. Although more frail, she still looked like herself, just tired but nothing like I had expected. Her skin still flawless and fair at 72; her hair still soft with curls falling about her face. It's length showed off her ears beset with lovely diamonds. Her clothes were nice, a blue striped sweatshirt and matching pants, thick comfortable socks and purple fuzzy slippers. Trae touched her feet and said, "I wike your shoes." eliciting from her a smile and laugh.

Jon's dad told her that we were all there as if introducing us for the first time, I suppose it was to help jog her memory. But she hadn't forgotten and upon seeing us, began to cry. She looked directly at me and I knew she absolutely remembered. It was as if I could see it "click" within her and her tears flowed.
We connected as mothers, knowing that more than anything all she wanted was to get up and be with her family, to have her grandchildren next to her and grant their every wish of what book to read to them and what favorite food to make. Just like before. That is what mothers like to do.

But she doesn't complain, never has - and when you ask her what she's thinking about, she just says, "I think about Jesus a lot."

Jon recounted memories with her, most of which she remembered. While holding hands and with moistened eyes, he told her he loved her and that she was a good mom. She responded by whispering she loved him and "You're a good boy." Then she saw all of our kids and couldn't believe how big they were and how time had flown.

At times I could hear the old Joyce's voice before it trailed off to a whisper. Because of the heavy fatigue, it is impossible for her to keep her eyes open very long but she listens and her sharp wit made appearances. Reese was sporting a fake mustache and when Jon told his mom that, she giggled and in a faint Texas drawl said, "Oh, he's too young for that." When she asked what our plans were for the day, Jon replied that I wanted him to take me to "Garden something.." Smiling, she finished his sentence by saying, "Ridge. Uh huh, Yes, you'll like that."

After a few days of visiting with her the time came for us to go back home. On our last visit Jon told her one of his most favorite memories was going to church when he was little and letting him rest his head on her lap during the sermon. It was so hot in church that he would get tired so he lay down on her lap as she stroked his hair. He told her that it made him feel so loved. Softly she said, " I'm glad to hear that because that always made me the happiest. It was my job to make sure you kids knew you were loved." A tear fell. Reese moved in and tenderly dabbed her eyes with a tissue and placed some in her hand. That is the real him.

Shortly after, Jon and his dad went down the hall for something and I moved into Jon's seat at her right. She turned slightly toward me as I took her hand. "It's been a good life." she said.

I bowed my head and squeezed my eyes shut to let the tears fall down my face. I held my breath so she wouldn't hear me cry and then I was able to quickly compose myself and respond, "Yes, it has."

Upon entering the house that she loved setting up, pictures are perfectly placed on every wall. Photos of grandkids at birth, then at ages 2, 5, 6, 9, 15...there are pictures of her children in cribs and then pictures of them with their own children in cribs...there is a grouping of wedding portraits of all of us and pictures of great-grandparents, graduations, family get-togethers, snapshots of when they were young, places they lived, all snapshots of a life well-lived.

And it has indeed, flown by.

We were saddened by all that she has to endure. We take comfort in thinking that in relation to how quickly time has flown, that enduring doesn't seem so long either.

I'm sure every one of you can look around and ask yourself where the time went. You're already sending that baby to Kindergarten, your youngest is getting married, you've been out of school 30 years now, your first grandchild is already 3, your baby just got his driver's license, you've just hit your 5-year anniversary at work, you only have 2 more years until the car is paid off...

That is not to say that enduring is easy, but it's not forever. Some do have significantly more challenges than others so it may feel like forever. My heart aches for those people.

But really, it will be just for a moment. The human spirit is strong but you have to be willing to exercise it and put out all your faith to go forward. That decision is a personal one which takes time.

But with the love of family, we endure.

7 comments:

  1. What can be said after reading such a profound glimpse into a priceless moment of your life? You literally have brought me to tears as I can relate to this scene. But more so, I believe is the reality of the event and overall multi faceted meanings that can be derived from such a powerful, loving and embracing retelling of your life's moment. With awe, I thank you for graciously sharing with us all.

    xoxo,
    Ellen

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  2. That is beautiful. Your words are so poignant.
    She truly does sound like a wonderful woman. It is such a blessing that there are glimpses of clarity for these times.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Laura Lynn, this is a beautiful tribute, actually to your whole family. A perfect picture of your love for each other and the Southern lady at the center. Love does endure above all things. Love from Michigan too.

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  4. I came from another blog that follows yours. Your story was so touching. Made me think of my sweet mother in law who at 86 yr went home to the Lord. You write beautifully!

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  5. Oh, Laura Lynn, recounting this visit and your feelings and observations shared is just so tender and beautiful ! I had some of these same experiences visiting my Mom recently. Wiping the tears from my eyes now...

    Hugs.
    Nonna

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  6. Thanks for sharing. I have had similar experiences and I agree family makes it easier to endure. Blessings to you and yours! Melody

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