I wanted to write this jubilant post about the new year, and yes, there are so many things I’m excited about. God has been so doggone good to me, it definitely surpasses my understanding, and I don’t like being down – it’s not me and if you don’t want to read my Eeyore post, I understand. It helps my soul to write this and just being frustratingly human, I have to remind myself that sometimes things don’t make sense.
I don’t know what’s been wrong with me this Christmas, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve obsessed over how many presents were under the tree, not the money aspect of it, but the sheer madness of it all. The night we opened gifts, I was grateful, without a doubt, but for some reason I felt suffocated and overwhelmed by the massiveness of it all. No, we didn’t do too much, and yes, we’ve given to others, but it was all in my head, a scary place to be.
Dave’s sister being gone I’m sure has its effect on all of us. She was like another mother to me being 20+ years older than me; his brother being too sick to come home for Christmas; his Mom being gone just one Christmas ago, all of that certainly affected what we did with that side of the family. We got together, those of us who could, but yes, it was a different kind of Christmas, it will forever be a different kind of Christmas.
And then there’s Mama.
As we gathered at Mom and Dad’s as we always do, things there are changed forever too. I’ve cried thinking about Mama and all she used to do, the presents she’d hide and forget about, the cooking she’d do with no recipe, it was all in her head (which is why I can’t cook:), the gifts she’d wrap, the over the top stacks of things for the kids and for the adults… how we’d always joke about her getting the biggest stack as we always tried to find things she’d like and were rarely successful, bless her heart. I even cried thinking about that one necklace she gave me from Avon, bought it again and tried to give it to me again a couple of times… one of the signs that things were changing.
How could we have known when the last Christmas was going to be the last Christmas that she cooked or wrapped or laughed, let alone the last Christmas she’d know who we were. I want to go back to that Christmas, to see her in the kitchen, I want to hear her laughing, I just want to hear her voice, her real voice, not her Alzheimers voice, just one more time. I don’t want to see her sitting, not laughing, not knowing why we are there or who we are. I want to go back just one more time, God how I want that, and it frustrates my spirit to no end knowing I can’t have it.
As I’ve gone through some of my down times this season, I’ve prayed as I always do. I’ve asked God what’s wrong with me. I’ve asked God to give me joy. I’ve asked God to fix me. And yes, I’ve thanked God for my blessings, so many undeserved blessings. But on Christmas Day night, after coming home from Mom and Dad’s, I was getting ready for bed and it’d just been a hard day in my heart. I looked in the mirror and usually it’s a passing glance, going through the motions of makeup or brushing teeth, but not really looking into my own eyes..I avoid that a lot for some reason. But Christmas night, I did, and I began talking to God in my head asking Him again what was wrong with me, asking His forgiveness, feeling so ungrateful. Then I had a startling thought that took my breath. How many times did Mama look in the mirror or lay in her bed or sit on the deck she loves so much and cry out “God, what’s wrong with me?” or “Why am I doing this?” or “God, help me.” In our case, we never knew what she knew because she absolutely refused to talk about it so we were never privy to her fears or her thoughts. To know she was lonely in that battle tears me up as I think about it now. She never talked to a soul about it so I can only know in my heart she had to talk to Him.
Again, as we never know when the last time is the last time for anything we do, it became clear that Mama couldn’t have known when the last prayer she said was the last prayer she’d say. When did she lose the memory of who her Savior is? How could she know the last time she cried out to her Savior that it would be the last time she’d know how or that she even could. If she’s forgotten all of us, can this disease take Him from her memory as well? Oh, I have no doubt He has her in the palm of His hand daily, and He needs no words, but the sadness of knowing that she doesn’t know how to cry out to Him as we are all so blessed to be able to do every minute we need Him tears at my soul. It makes me want to cling to Him more than I’ve ever clung to anyone.
Well, I’ve got to pull it together, find my bootstraps as I always tell myself. While this sucky disease can take so much from my sweet Mama, it can’t take the warmth of His touch from her or the peace that only He can give her. It can’t take our family and those of you who love her, it can’t take our prayers. He knows we lift her up because she can’t do it on her own and for you I am grateful. No matter how lost she may seem, I know the Shepherd is keeping her in His watch and will lead her when its time to be restored and He will tell her she didn’t have to say a word, He already knew and was already there.
I know that so many of you are going through this and worse, much worse, in one way or another. I pray for joy for all of us in the coming year, for peace that surpasses all understanding, for the warmth of His touch to be felt on our heart and of those we love just when we all need it most. Love you all.