|Mom & me|
THE LULU CHRONICLES
I stood outside in the dark while a warm, wispy breeze kissed my cheeks. Overhead a quarter moon hovered while its reflected beam drenched me in soft light. Stars fluttered against the velvet sky vying for my attention. Atticus sniffed the Bermuda grass tracking smells and textures as only a puppy can. All was quiet. My mother was asleep. The day had been long, especially for an 86-year-young woman who had spent the afternoon visiting her husband of 68-years. Dad now lives in a nursing home fifty miles away.
I’m in Memphis again. In a few days I’ll be bringing my mother back to Wisconsin with me for a visit. She has reluctantly agreed to the trip. She is uncomfortable leaving my dad for too long, even though they no longer live under the same roof, and even though he is well cared for when she is away. But, she needs to come with me. She has grandchildren and great-grandchildren who need to love up on her awhile. While they will delight her, I know her heart will be here... with her husband.
As I stood outside the other night I thought about how much my mom and I are going through right now, and how similar our journey has become. Under the protective glow of the moon, I laid the comparisons out before me as if they were two columns on a sheet of paper. I lost my husband in October of last year. Dad was put into the nursing home a month later. My husband died. My mother’s husband has late-stage Alzheimer’s. I miss Gary’s presence, his voice, his laughter, and his touch. I miss our conversations. Mom misses all those things about my dad as well. While he is physically still here, and she visits him regularly, her husband is not. They have not had a real conversation for quite a while now.
I always thought when my parents grew old Gary would be here to help me. He loved my mom and dad and made his feelings very clear. Never in a thousand years did I think I would have to do this on my own.
The other night I felt the stars wanting to encourage me. As they blinked and twinkled they conveyed a wonderful rebuke and reminder, that silly girl that I am, I was not doing this on my own. I was not doing this stage of my life as I had planned it, but I was here and now as our God ordained it to be. I don’t want to get into the discussion of what God knows, or what God allows, or Yada-Yada-Yada. Those kinds of conversations hold no meaning for me now. God is. He is the Beginning and the End, and everything in between. Cancer killed Gary. Alzheimer’s has taken my dad. And, neither one of those diseases can bully God.
I sat outside the other night for a long time. Atticus thought he was quite the lucky pup to be allowed to roam the yard (and the neighbors’ yard) without restraint. In the quiet something dawned on me: God knows what He’s doing. I’m going to relax now... or at least try. I’m praying my mom can too. She’s been through so much. She loved Gary. She loves my dad. I want my love for her to be something she can now rest in a little bit and visa versa.
I stared at the moon for quite awhile. I want Gary to be up there somewhere. I want heaven to be between here and there. I want it to be as lovely as a dark night, a bright moon and sassy stars.