So you let things sit while you catch up.
I’ve let the box sit in our bedroom for a long time. 1½ years. Jeff never complained, even though it had to be in his way.
I hadn’t planned on going through it this week. But it happened. It held records of hospital visits and oxygen levels and medication lists. Papers from hospice on how to prepare for death. Newspaper clippings and notebooks and even steno pads from the 1950s of my mom’s shorthand notes.
And my mom’s jewelry box.
I gingerly handled the pieces that had been on her fingers, around her neck, on her wrist. All when she was breathing, caring, loving down here. Jewelry that wasn’t worth much in money, but was worth much in memories.
After Daddy died on Valentine’s Day, we took turns staying 24/7 with Mama. Her Alzheimer’s was already too progressed for her to stay alone.
But she hated it. Hated it with a passion. My sweet, non-confrontational mother would tell us we were treating her like a baby. That she wanted us all to go home and leave her alone. That she didn’t need us there.
She didn’t want this change.
So we’d hide out in the living room for awhile. Or disappear into a back bedroom. Or take a walk outside. Give Mama her space. Let her feel independent. But not leave her alone.
Because things had changed. She had changed. We had to change, too.
I have to change still.
I can’t keep my mama’s jewelry and doctor reports and high school notes in a box front and center by my dresser anymore.
I place the remaining pieces back in her jewelry box and set it in a bag by the front door. I will pass it back to my sisters and they can decide what happens to it next.
I’m still catching up.
But God never changes.
I’m forever holding on.
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My blogging friend Sandy—whose husband has Early Onset Alzheimer’s—wrote this post “Ugh”. If you’re currently loving someone with Alzheimer’s, do what Sandy is doing: distinguish between the person and the disease.
And hold on to God.
Everything Moves But You
When I was a child, I held to my mother tightly
Then I grew taller and left to follow my dreams
I went after my dreams, and some of them brought me delight
But they didn’t bring me everything I hoped they might
I fell into love like a skydiver in the clouds
It wasn’t enough, no, we couldn’t sustain it ourselves
All the things I pursue
Well they stay for a season
Then everything moves
Everything moves, oh
My towers fall
But you aren’t leaving me
‘Cause everything moves but you
I trained my body to run and not be weary
I worked and I read how to raise a better family
Then I bought a good house on the safe side of town because I could
And as long as my life stays like this I’m feeling good
Until my bones become brittle against my will
My heart is home, oh, to make the earth stand still
You…I never outgrow you
You are a tree always in bloom
You are a hall of endless rooms
A living fountain springing up
I’m satisfied but never done
I’m never done
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