Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Love Like This

I cried last week.
Not all-out-weeping mind you, but tears of both hard reality mingled with thankfulness.

Last week was the last time I will visit my grandparents in their present home.

Over a year ago, they both required extra care in order to live as independently as possible. My mom, their passionate care giver and advocate, found the best care possible at the time, worked endlessly to make the move (which was significant) all come together. And, for the first time ever, I found myself living in the same community as my grandparents.

With our learn-at-home lifestyle last year, it was much easier to scoot over for a 1/2 hour visit every few weeks. I treasured these times, though it wasn't always easy!!, because I knew that they were limited.

My grandparents are in the minority - they are both aging (and forgetting!) things at the same time. Typically, one spouse goes through this process much sooner than the other, requiring the two, who've spent the majority of their lives together, to be forced to live apart. Even though it's hard to watch them forget, at least they are in it together!!

Grandma and Grandpa are still so affectionate with each other. Every one I talk to who has seen them comments on this. The trials and lessons of life have, over the years, brought them even closer. Both having been widowed early in life, they blended families, careers, interests and love for God and family. These days, they often sit side by side on the couch, holding hands, still enjoying each other's company. Their camaraderie is evident, even when the fog of hazy memory sets in.

The other side of this love story is my own mom, who has devoted much time and energy to their care. To anyone who finds themselves caring for aging loved ones, I pray for you. Yours is not an easy task. It hurts to remember when others forget; it can be painful to care for those who once cared for you.

And yet - you remember. You serve. You care.
And how often in our fast-paced world do we not care, not serve, not remember.

These are the examples I have before me, and I am thankful.

I came home from that last visit and called my mom. I am so thankful she took the time to care for my grandparents. They are now at a stage where they require even more care, and instead of separating them (which is the standard procedure is), she has advocated their situation once again and now they will move on to more supportive care together. This is "never done"because "it goes against policy." She didn't take "no" for an answer. How grateful I am.

Once the hub-bub of christmas life passes, we will go and visit them in their new space. I will continue to share the stories of our times together with them and my girls. They no longer remember, but I do. We will laugh. We will say "I love you."

And when we leave, their minds may forget that we've even been there, but their hearts won't.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Creating Quiet

It's been a while since I posted.
I could blame full days, sleep-lacking nights, trying to fit as much as I can into one day.

But, I don't think that's it.

I've created posts that are stuck in draft mode.
I've sat down to type, and experience the frustration of writers block. Ack!
I've mentally written as I move throughout the day, but none of it clicks.

Every so often, I think, you move into a place that words just aren't adequate for.
I'm in that place.
I can't say it's a bad place; stretching, often perplexing, a bit lot disorienting maybe.
But it'd not bad.

It's at times like these I wish I could take pictures.
Like GOOD ones :).
Using images instead of words for expression.
But alas, that is not my forte. :)

I often turn to music; allowing the prayer and poetry others have set down to bring clarity and focus when my own feels lacking.

And sometimes, I think, it's just quiet I crave.

Our world is so full of noise - internet chatter, media, little ones needing attention, the hum of the activities of life.
And there is internal clutter as well - not knowing what to finish next :) (I don't usually have a hard time starting something, it's finishing something that feels like such a challenge!). Wrestling. Waiting.

It's in the stillness, when we move beyond words, that we can hear what is going on behind this sound.

When I used to "work outside the home," I would sometimes come home after a full full day, and say when I walked in the door, "no one make a sound." Funny thing was, I was home before Jon, this was a day and age before puppy and kids :), and there WAS no one to make a sound :). I would walk as quietly as possible, leaving radio off, AND it was a day before we had internet at home (can you even imagine!???). And I would just soak in the silence until my ears stopped ringing and my heart felt settled again.

This fall as been about new adjustments, new routines, new anticipations.
It has also been about learning to listen again; and for me, that seems to be taking some time.

In the meantime, these are some of my favorite quiet sounds...
- the sound of the coffee maker finishing it's job
- the sound of snow falling
- a sick baby finally sleeping
- the delight of a whispered thank you
- the sound of a friend laughing
- the settled sigh of the only puppy I've ever loved :)
- an unexpected time of quiet to just be

I'm curious.
What images, words, songs, or lack of all the above is quieting for you ;)?


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