Sometimes even in the midst of spring and summer, some darkness falls. Personally I have seen the death of my father, the decline of my mother, and the decision for her to enter an Assisted Living Facility during this season.
Needless to say it has been an emotional journey. Unknowingly I had let myself think that I was in charge of my parent's care. I ordered and administered all their medications, I took them to all their doctor's appointments, I visited often, and I even bathed my Dad since no one else could or would. I became indespensible, or so I thought. Maybe it is the nurse in me, the one who takes charge when others fall apart; or maybe it is the youngest daughter in me, the one who feels responsible; or maybe it it is just being part of a large caring family who always looks out for each other no matter what happens. Maybe it was all the above.
On July 11th, God reminded me that "we don't know the day or hour" when he took my Dad home to be with him. No acute sickness, no premonition, no warning, just a peaceful death while he slept. It was truly a blessing as my Dad had dementia and his life had become very sedentary and I am sure confusing from his perspective. As my Mom stated "he would have been a terrible patient." How right she was.
One day later, while staying at my home, my mother fell and fractured a vertebra in her back (her 7th). She endured excruciating pain throughout my Dad's funeral week and for weeks that followed with surgery and rehabilitation. My Mom returned, not to an apartment that her and Dad had shared for six years, but to an Assisted Living facility that Dad had only known for a week. Herself having dementia, she returned to a place full of strangers, a room that was unrecognizable, and a routine that was totally unfamiliar.
If I had any illusions that I was still in charge, they vanished during the weeks that followed. Pain, both emotional and physical, and confusion became my mother's daily burden. Unable to help with either condition was truly frustrating, and humbling. Today, Mom says she is happy with her living conditions and we all try to visit and engage her as often as we can. We really have no insight to her true feelings as her thoughts are forgotten as soon as they appear and stories are repeated over and over.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall; let go of feeling that you are in control of life and are responsible for everything. Trust that God has a plan for you and all your loved ones, and live like there is no tomorrow for only God "knows the day or the hour".