And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. Genesis 3:15
Happy Monday to all! Loving the daylight savings time yet? Yah, me neither. My workout this morning felt like I was carrying a camel on my back. What a difference an hour makes when you are on routine and I am a true creature of habit.
Speaking of habit, I was just thinking as I slogged on the treadmill (dreadmill) about mom’s parting words she used to say as we would talk on the phone. (Backtracking) I used to talk to mom (and still try to talk to dad) every day by phone on the way home from work. That is a good time with nothing scheduled and it lets me keep up with what is going on in their respective lives and this chat has always been a habit…a good habit…that I have enjoyed. Please hear me out on this sentence if you hear nothing else of this blog before relegating it to your digital bird cage liner: talking on the phone is great, but talking in person tells more of the story. Why do I say that you may ask? Mom hid her dementia masterfully for better than a year because it is hard to see non-verbal cues on the phone. When I would ask her a simple question that took too long to answer, I could blame it on the busyness of the house, hearing challenges, car noise, multitasking (maybe she was cooking?), etc…and just deny my brain’s inquisitive lobe of the pleasure of worrying. BUT, if you are in person and ask “Where do you keep your salt?” and she doesn’t remember and scrambles, you see it immediately. Call a lot, but visit a lot too 🙂
But I was just thinking about the end of calls and the novelty of them. Two people’s calls come to mind. Mom’s dad, my grandpa, who has been gone for well over 10 years now, would just hang up when he was done. No bye, no passing Go, no collecting $200, just <click>. He really didn’t mean it rude. I think it was just his thing…I don’t know. However, mom’s final words were different. Mom would almost always feel like she was intruding when I would call her (or she would call me), and she would laughingly say “Whenever you hear me stop talking, just hang up” and she would laugh. I expect she told me this 200-300 times.
Maybe I overthink everything in life (probably true regardless whether this is an example), but I feel like this was kind of a pre-grace that she was giving me to let her go some day when it is time. Mom was big on wanting us to not grieve hard decisions. She wouldn’t steer us away from the hard thing, mind you. We went to the funerals, the hospital, the cemetery, but she was concerned that we would learn and grow from these life events, but that it wouldn’t devastate us. She is probably where I got my poorly-timed humor trait as mom always wanted to lighten the burden and move on to the happy of life. So can we learn from this? I think so:
- Grieve for a season, but remember to not linger there. Mom really struggled with the loss of her parents not long before she was formally diagnosed with a few problems including the nebulous “a mile form of dementia” and didn’t seem to have many places to go to share this burden. She never wanted her burden to be our burden, and I feel like that contributed to her dementia. If you have loss…sadness…share that burden with your Lord and with friends, counselors, loved ones…don’t bear it alone. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
- Treat every conversation as important. I have told you before and will again: life is too short to spend it bickering on social media, to not forgive, and to take relationships for granted. Talk more. Do life more. Share more burdens. When it is over, you can’t fix it.
- Don’t deprive Christian brothers and sisters of the opportunity to pray for you. If mom did anything “wrong” throughout this decade of dementia, sheltering us from being able to pray for her was it. Do I have prayer completely figured out? Nope. God is sovereign and does everything according to the counsel of His Will. But prayer matters. He ordains the means and the end of all things, and how this plays out I will never know until I can ask face-to-face some sweet day…but until then I/we accept it and pray. We were told to and beckoned to pray. (And a note to gossips: if someone shares a prayer request that is really just gossip, rebuke them (verse and verse).
- End your conversations with something endearing and loving when you can. I am already forgetting many things about mom in this two-step mourning that is dementia, but I will always remember how she ended her conversation: with comfort and with humor. The New Testament (especially) Bible writers utilized greetings and goodbyes beautifully. Read the first few and last few paragraphs of books of the Bible. Colossians is a good example. Where did greeting and exiting with grace and love go? May we be like them…
- You never go wrong with loving someone. I miss the old mom. Bringing up little things like this make me sad at best and mad at the disease at the worst, but I am glad I have this memory of her. She truly loved us…and still does. That is my takeaway from thinking on such.
Update: We had a really nice “visit” Saturday at 11am. Mom slept through 99% of our visit, but the nurse let us use hand sanitizer, then hold mom’s hand and give her a hug. That is part of the new loosening of COVID requirements and it was a welcome part of the visit. Mom squeezed our hand when asked to and responded with squeezes to “I love You’s”. That spoke more than words anyway… I get asked how she is a lot and I am thankful. She is about the same. She has levelled off since recovering from her seizure and from COVID and her vaccines. She is doing poor, for certain, and is having more and more trouble swallowing, a fact that will likely be her cause of death (along with pneumonia) someday. But she is still happy and not in any obvious pain, and we are thrilled to see her. It is getting close to time to take down the Shawshank Re:Dementia subtitle down, as soon as we can visit without tremendous hoops. What a day that’ll be.
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple update: We broke $1,000 dollars donated as of this weekend! Here is the donation link. There are several more large donations in the works. I would like to get to $2,000 by April 1st and am still shooting for $5,280 by June 19th. We have over 10 orders placed for an unknown quantity of shirts as of now. 🙂 I need to place the rest of mine and I know a dozen or more who plan on ordering a shirt too. Here is the order form. As far as the training goes, it was a mixed bag since Friday. I had a great run on the dreadmill Saturday morning. I did 14.25 miles and still had more left in the tank, but ran out of time before mom’s visit appointment. This morning daylight savings time kicked my butt. I was exhausted. I only ran about 4 miles, rode a stationary bike 6 more, and did some leg presses…and left pooped and semi-defeated. However, tonight I will sleep earlier and will be more prepped to dominate the treadmill. I am hoping to have some outdoor running time soon. It is soooo much easier on my body. I weigh in tonight at WW. My last weigh in was 2 weeks ago today was 249.8. I would like to think I have lost a little these two weeks, but, frankly, who knows? I have built a lot of muscle running/walking 1,368 minutes in the last 2 weeks. I would love to drop another 20-25 by run day. Every pound is that much easier to slog along. 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement and prayer and donations and friendship and…………..! 🙂
Believe it or not, she was awake for these two, but barely. She sleeps 20+ hours per day these days, and 11am wasn’t a good time for a visit. We are reverting back to morning visits this week. 🙂
Last thing: Tomorrow night at 6pm CST is our Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Support Group. If you would like to attend (virtually via Zoom) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an invite in the morning tomorrow. 🙂