After twelve years of taking care of Mom in our home we will begin the work of transition to nursing home care within the next few months. I remember a line from a favorite movie that I'll probably misquote but the thought is intact: People say change is a good thing, but all they really mean is that something you very much did not want to happen, has happened.
I did not want to ever have to go through the process of putting Mom in a nursing home. After the years of challenges my husband and I have accepted in providing care to Mom in our home, I felt I'd paid my caregiving dues. I assumed the Lord would not make me entrust Mom to the care of others when He had so obviously assigned me the responsibility of taking care of her. But now, here we are, feeling the Lord's unmistakable nudge to move forward to preparing Mom for nursing home care (a specific set of steps have unfolded for this process, and I will share these here in the months to come in hopes that others can be helped).
I am unexpectedly bereft over Kitty's absence. Those of you who read this blog regularly know there has been no love lost between Kitty and me, but I feel her absence keenly. I've fed, brushed, transported to the vet, and changed the litter in the box for this cat for her entire life. I have taken care of her, and caregiving leads to attachments whether one intends it or not! Her leavetaking causes a minor bout of grief-fueled heartache that is a harbinger of the much greater grief I will feel when my mom is no longer here.
This morning, recovering from my own cold, tired from long bouts of middle-of-the-night caregiving, discouraged, and feeling alone, I came to the Lord. The words "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow," came to mind. I thought the phrase was from a Psalm, but when I looked it up I found those words were uttered by Jesus at Gethsemane, when no one would stay awake and watch with Him, and He was headed to the Cross. And I realized that on my behalf He bore what I will never have to experience; I don’t have to endure separation from Father God. With Christ as my bridge, that connection will hold. God is with me.
And then I read the Biblegateway verse of the day, Psalm 138:2:
I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Reading these words gives me a feeling somewhat akin to stepping into a warm bath when muscles are aching and flesh feels chilled; I breathe in a deep sigh of relief. God's love is steadfast. He is faithful. We are not alone.
I can't bear the grief of putting Mom in a nursing home, but the Lord will bear it with me. I'll move forward in obedience, and take my comfort from the knowledge that I don't have to bear this sorrow alone.