We lost another of the Sweet 17 yesterday. She was in the third or fourth wave of ladies entering mom’s facility (not one of the original band…). Sadly, they seem to come and go very quickly, either by changing facilities, by moving into the general population when they cease to be a flight risk or when they pass away. Yesterday one passed away and the mood was sad and quiet for all in the facility.
Somberly, it sure seems like everyone in the facility is on either Team Tortoise or Team Hare as far as the speed at which the condition becomes more serious. Mrs. D, who passed away yesterday, was pretty angry and distressed when she arrived and was sent out a few times to have her meds regulated, then came back for good a few weeks ago. Things seemed better for this princess until she started falling again and again. These ladies have zero tolerance to falls and the devastating harm they can cause, and this poor damsel in distress was no exception.
So, how is the Tortoise/Hare racing team you are on get decided? Make no mistake about my side here…I am a Christian. I believe (completely and plainly) Job 14:5 that says “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;”. But I also do not think it is a contradiction to believe that God is Sovereign (in charge/the boss) in a way that He works within and through circumstances in a unique way that we simply cannot understand. He perfectly and sinlessly ordains the ends of everything and the means of how the ends happen. We are not puppets…we do things how we want according to the inclination of our heart, however, He is the boss of all. Example: We pray, not to change God’s Sovereign plan, but because He beckoned us to pray, because He loves us and loves hearing from us and because He works within that prayer to show himself faithful and to encourage and build our faith. Another example: God ordained that sinful men would crucify the Lord of Glory (who was “slain from the foundation of the world”), but He didn’t force them to and wasn’t the cause of them doing this terribly sinful thing. They wanted to do it very much and He let them, then used it tremendously for the greatest gift in history: our redemption.
Given these basic truths of the Christian faith, why is it that some have a stronger “will to live” than others and why does that seem to make a difference? Are they extending their life with this will or does it just seem so? Again: He ordains the ends and the means….this is one part of the puzzle. Another part of the puzzle is our self-centeredness in our thinking by default. Not everything is about us. In fact much of what happens isn’t truly about us. We care more about some things because they directly affect our lives, but the primary intention could very well have not been about us at all.
I find it interesting and sad that search engines are cool with listing some orthodox Christian teachings about life and death, but when you search for “will to live” it points directly to psychology to instruct us. They are probably a reflection of mainstream church members’ beliefs and, thus, will get plenty of hits and affirmations. The Sovereignty of God is uniformly pushed away in exchange for the sovereignty of us and our wills.
Regardless, what are we to do when our loved ones stop fighting? Should we fight for them to regain the will to live? Do we feed them against their will? Medically speaking, there are red and green stickers next to every name signifying last directives/whether they want lifesaving measures to be used to save them. Lots of red stickers in the ole memory unit…maybe all of them? We want our loved ones to be here with us, but are we being selfish given their condition? The Apostle Paul thought the same about himself in Phil. 1, but was resigned to the fact that God was in charge. Are we resigned to let God be what He already is: Soveriegnly in charge?
It is hard for me because I am a fixer. God is slowly but surely showing me that I cannot fix everything and that He can, in His way.
What say you on these topics?
Update on mom: She was happy yesterday. Not very communicative and didn’t even really realize I am in her tribe yesterday, something new and kind of hard to take. The good news is whether or not she recognizes me as her’s I recognize her as mine. 🙂 Someday, in heaven, maybe we will have a chuckle over it?
6 thoughts on “Tortoise v. Hare”
My brother and I have a situation of slightly different bent. Dad has ALZ and begs God on a daily basis to “go home” to heaven. Mom has already gone ahead and he just doesn’t want to be here any longer. He knows there’s something wrong and he can’t fix it. He still knows us, but has difficulty remember much of anything else. He lives with my brother and sister-in-law and is not yet at a point that hospice should be involved, but quality of life has deteriorated tremendously. He prays every night and asks repeatedly why he can’t just go and often raises his hand to heaven and says, “I’m here, Lord, don’t forget me”.
So hard. 🙁 So sorry…
One of the hardest parts of this journey I am taking with my mom is that sometimes she doesn’t know I’m her daughter. She will tell me she is looking for the “other Lori” and that Lori is her daughter. She tells me I am someone she wishes was her daughter, but sadly, I am not her daughter. She tells me she likes it when I call her Mom though. Having said that, she will also tell me how much she loves me. To that end I have decided that it really doesn’t matter what label Mom puts on me, as long as she knows she loves me then that is enough for me. Coming to that level of peace with my mom forgetting me has taken time, thought, prayer and many tears. The tears still come sometimes, but at the end of the day I have peace and I know that I am doing everything for my mom that I can and that I am here for her no matter who she thinks I am. The heart remembers, even if the brain has forgotten.
My mom hasn’t used my name in around a year now and not consistently in much longer time. This, though, is the first time she didn’t know I was in her group. I did shave recently, but I honestly thought that would be better since much of my life I didn’t have a beard. Apparently not.
No worries…I know her just fine and won’t give up. 🙂
Making our wishes known early on is one of the kindest things we can do for our family.
So true! I knew 10-15 years ago that mom was ok with living in a nursing home should it be necessary. We held off as long as we possibly could with the help of SeniorAge, but it became unsafe. We also knew her wishes on advanced directives….a very hard thing. Much easier on family to know and be sad than to guess and be sad.
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