December 2, 2010

Finding the Familiar

Living with the fact that Mom and Dad are old and ill and not much longer for this earth has been much harder on me than I would have ever thought.  Perhaps I never really thought about it, and that is why it has taken me back a bit.  Being the youngest, I suppose there was some part of me that felt I would be an innocent bystander, taking directives from my older siblings and watching and waiting, but that isn’t how it is.  I’m in the thick of it and have been for quite some time now. 

Today is a significant day in Mom and Dad’s life journey.  Enough belongings to make a 1 bedroom apartment a home have been boxed up and moved to the transitional living community where they will live.  They will be spending their first night there tonight.  So with this being the first day of the rest of their lives, I think it a perfect day to start documenting the journey I am on with them in the winter of their lives.  So today I begin this new journey of finding the familiar.  I’ve chosen this title because this process truly is about finding the familiar.  As we sort through the stuff, I find familiar items from my childhood. As I see Dad’s memory decline and he becomes less the Dad I knew and someone strange to me, I look for and find familiar moments in his personality and the memories we share together.  As Dad’s abilities deteriorate and the brilliant doctor he once was easily confuses the simplest of things, he finds the familiar when we surround him with photographs, old stories, and objects of affection from the former days.  Mom can look in his eyes and search for that old familiar beau . . . and find him there.  As she becomes weaker and weaker, that old familiar faith keeps her strong enough.  His grace is indeed sufficient for her.  Familiar faces and voices are all the treasure she needs now and she knows it.  The new is easily forgotten now so it is important that we continue with the old and the familiar.  The treasures of earth so pointless.  The love of family and friends and, most importantly, Jesus are breathtakingly priceless. 

Sweet Jesus, be present tonight and give Mom and Dad peaceful rest in their new beds.  Thank you for all of it.  In your palm, it is all good.  Amen.

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