I was angry with her and didn't allow her to voice any grievances. She saw my upset, and succumbed without much comment to my order that she return to bed. As she shuffled off toward her bedroom she said, sounding so much like my mother of old that it just made me madder: "I can see you are angry and I suppose you are right not to give me compassion, it would probably just make me worse."
But then in an aside (evidently to the cat) she muttered, "...but a little compassion would sure be nice."
I took her robe, gently helped her to bed, but did not speak to her again except to bid her a detached but pleasant goodnight. I then returned to my own bed and lay awake for two hours. This heart-stopping response to being awakened from a sound sleep by the phone is even more acute of late, probably because in the past three months we have received three middle-of-the-night calls from other family members that were legitimate emergencies. Something about that phone jarring me from a sound sleep sent adrenaline through my system that lingered, and when I finally did fall asleep I tossed and turned for the few short remaining hours of the night.
I was angrier still when tonight I felt the Lord telling me to ask forgiveness for my lack of compassion. I listed my legitimate grievances toward my mother, many dating back years before Alzheimer's shaded her thinking and actions, but to no avail. I felt led to the following Scripture passages:
My mother doesn't appreciate (or know) how much I have done for her the past ten years since her diagnosis. Alzheimer's has caused her to become self-focused, and the resentment she holds toward me for wrongs real and imagined only becomes more bitingly apparent as her disease progresses. She still expresses love and gratitude, but I never know when dark thoughts will gain control of her reasoning; many times now the triggers are internal rather than from any real time event. And so Mom is sometimes what I call a beloved enemy; someone I love and who loves me but treats me badly. But this does not justify my responding to her harshly."Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves....Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse...Live in harmony with one another...Do not repay anyone evil for evil...do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink'...Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:14, 16a, 17a, 18, 19-21 The Voice).
So ok, Lord, please forgive me for barking out angrily at Mom at 1:00 a.m. I forgive her because You've forgiven me. I entrust my rights into Your hands.