A few years ago my mother’s failing health made it impossible for her to continue to live independently, so we found a suitable home to share. Her continued decline has meant that she requires increasing amounts of assistance. Fortunately, my two younger sons are now living with us while they finish their schooling and they are able to be with their grandmother while I continue to work full-time.
Even with the boys’ help my mother’s care falls more and more onto my shoulders. She is also increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with her failing strength and abilities. Knowing how hard it must be for her, I try to be understanding of her frequent criticism and complaints, but I have to admit that some days are more difficult than others.
While doing my annual New Year’s clear out I came across a box of old papers and found a Mother’s Day card I had made for Mom over a decade ago, while living in a distant state. With the card, I had included a packet of slips of paper. On each one I had printed a happy memory of times spent with my mother going back to my early childhood, on into adulthood. The slips were meant to be put in a container on the breakfast table or bedside to be read, one per day, as a reminder of my love and appreciation.
It was obvious that my mother had read them all, returned them to the packet, tucked it into the card and packed it away.
I pulled out the slips of paper and read them one by one. As I read what I had written all those years ago I smiled, laughed and occasionally felt a lump in my throat as I remembered my mother in the years before age and strokes reduced her to her present condition.
God knew of the growing resentment I had been feeling toward the increasing demands of caring for my mother. I am sure that it was his nudge that led me to decide to clean out just that particular box today. I am so glad that I responded and took the time to read those memories.
How much lighter I feel without that load of growing hostility. It’s a new day, it’s a new year and a new attitude for me.
I put that packet of memories on my bedside table and plan to read one per day, every day that I am blessed to have my mother with me. I hope it will help me to honor her with my emotions as well as my deeds.