As my mom’s health has slowly declined early in 2014, it has become my job to escort her to the car after any family event. My dad, on the other hand, mostly prepares to drive away as soon as he can. Because they have 55 years together my mom will just roll her eyes and shrug. My mom is also incontinent so Dad spreads out a couple of trash bags to cover her car seat. I help her in and give her the standard kiss/hug and say “I love you.” A few months ago she replied to me, “I loved you first” and that was her tag line ever since. It was so awesome to hear that it floored me!
Long story short, she was placed in a nursing home and last week my family was called in for a case conference with their staff. I’ve sat in on many, many case conferences but it sure is different when you are on the other side of the table! This experience with my mom has changed my thoughts and feelings regarding these conferences. I will now feel more deeply for the patient and connect more emotionally with the family. The person in the bed is not identified by their room number but really by the fact they are a person, and they have a family who loves them deeply. They are with us for only a short time to receive the very best care we can manage.
Once on a tired Sunday afternoon my mom and I were on rocking chairs in front of the bird aviary at the nursing home. Fluttering about were over a dozen different birds of every rich color of the rainbow! They flew in and out of nests, two lovebirds nestled a new baby, and this one ol’ guy full of yellow, and some weight, just sat there and stared at us through the black mask around his eyes! This is my mom’s favorite spot and I find her here often.
She liked to “doze,” where she is kind of sleeping but also communicates with me. I’m used to this because it happens every Sunday when I preach (ha-ha!). So I got out my devotional booklet that I use and read her some Bible passages, reflections and prayers. Whenever I paused she would say, “That’s right” and agree and we kept rocking. She has never attended church nor been a woman of prayer or Scripture as far as I know. A few visits ago she told me that the nursing home had a Christian musician come sing hymns. She said he took requests so she raised her hand and requested her favorite hymn “Old Rugged Cross.” I had no idea.
So I told her of God’s love for all of us, of Jesus dying on the cross on Good Friday and rising from the dead at Easter. I told her about grace, forgiveness, and that God is with us no matter what we are going through. Then I said, without really thinking about it, “God loved you first, Mom.” And she said “That’s right, hmm, hmm that’s right.” And we kept rocking.
My mother passed on to Jesus a year ago and let us all remember God loved our mother’s first! I send this to you who are Mom’s right now as a reminder that you still have time to tell your kids and grandkids that God loved them first and so do you!!
Happy Mother’s Day!