Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tucking Mom Into Bed

It has been a very long time since I tucked anyone into bed. Since my mother has been living with me, I get to do it every night. Sometimes, if she can't get to sleep, she turns on her lamp and reads. Many times I will walk past and see the light under the door and check in on her. 

Often times, she has fallen asleep reading with her glasses on. I thought this was so cute the other night that she had the glasses pushed up her face asleep with her hand over her nose. I had to go and get the camera before turning out the light and taking off her glasses and removing the open book off her bed. 

She always wakes up just enough to tell me "thank you" and "I love you" as I take off her glasses and turn off the lights. 

My mother is slowly slipping into her last stages of life and I am so proud of the advances in her personal life she has made over the past few months. She went from not remembering anything to remembering most everything and as she has gone from getting two units of blood a month, to every two weeks and now every week, I can see her getting more tired physically but it has been really interesting to see her go from fearing death and regretting what she didn't do in her life that she felt she "should" have done to really facing the hard truth to the things she did do that maybe she shouldn't have done. 

She has called most of her children in the past two weeks and apologized for things that she did that she now regrets and has focused on forgiveness of those that she blamed for things in her life or withheld forgiveness for that were so long ago but in not forgiving them, she got stuck in that moment and wasn't able to move forward. In not forgiving that moment, the offending person could move on but she was stuck. It reminds me of one of my favorite bands song, U2 sings a song called,  "Stuck in a moment you can't get out of."

"Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of"

I'm not afraid
Of anything in this world
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard

I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company

I never thought you were a fool
But darling look at you
You gotta stand up straight
Carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it

Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

I will not forsake
The colors that you bring
The nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing

I am still enchanted
By the light you brought to me
I listen through your ears
Through your eyes I can see

And you are such a fool
To worry like you do
I know it's tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don't really need now
My, oh my

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

Oh love, look at you now
You've got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep

I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if our way should falter
Along the stony pass

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It's just a moment
This time will pass 
The highlighted words touched me when I first began to love U2. She was always singing as I grew up. My earliest memories are of her singing "Somewhere over the rainbow" as I went to sleep most nights. I love music and I gained that through my mother as she was in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for ten year and taught us to sing, play instruments and enjoy music. I inherited her musical instrument collection a few years back. I have always felt that I am searching for "my own melody."  
The next highlighted verse words were how I felt about life as I grew up seeing life through her eyes, I would see things as she saw them. She would always try to share her light with others and lift them up. She taught me how to meet others and be friendly and not judge others by what they wore, even if they were unkind to me, she taught me to look at why they might be acting that way. She brought the "light" into my world.  The last highlighted verse is about how my mother has a love of "things" and "stuff" and it made her "stuck" in the moments of life as she remembered the moments of her life by the things she purchased or acquired at those times.

Today my sister came to sit with her while I took Princess Five to parent teacher meetings and when I arrived home, I found them talking. My mother used to just watch movies but in the past few weeks, she has been turning them off when someone is around. That is a huge deal. In talking with my sister, I asked my mom if she had anything she wanted to say before my sister left. The exchange was beautiful. My mother broke down in tears for the first time about her children. She usually has cried about her things, or losing her independence but today, she told my sister she loved her and how proud she was of her and asked for her forgiveness for certain things. The exchange brought me to tears.  

She has been able to accept responsibility for things she has never been able to face before. The song, "Live Like You Were Dying" comes to my mind as for many years my mother has felt guilty for things she felt she should have done. She always wanted to write a book about her days as a national beauty queen and we have heard for years that she didn't want to die and have to face God not having done what she felt she should have done. 

For the past month or more, we have talked for nearly two hours daily about things she wished she had done differently, spent her money on rather that "stuff" or doing more for others in her later years rather than focusing on herself. The line in the song I mention above "I gave forgiveness I'd been denying" is truly what she has been doing.

I am SO proud of my mother facing those demons. I don't know that it made a huge difference in the lives of those she has called to apologize but I can see the difference it has made in my mothers life having let it all go and having time to "make amends" for things in her life. She smiles more and is more happy and doesn't freak out when talking about dying or her death now like she did when she arrived two months ago. 

It does make me wonder what things I need to face before I die. We never do know when it will be our time to go as evidenced by my dear friend Ruth who died alongside her husband in a car accident leaving her family behind. I can see my mother slipping away but now she isn't as fearful and I ponder on why I felt so strongly that she needed to come to my home. I don't think it was so I could save her life like it was when I was prompted to help her a few years back. (Click here for a post about that.) I think it was so that I could clear her mind enough that she could think through the things needed for her to be able to die without the fear she attached. God really is a loving Heavenly Father but I think the fear we have about dying is that we don't want to have to face ourselves and what we may have or have not done with the time we were given.

I am sad my mother is dying but I am happy that she can now smile in the face of that rather than cower in fear. I hope I can be at peace when I am faced with my own mortality. I LOVE you mom and am SO PROUD of who you are and what you have done with your life! Thank you for giving me life!

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