It's hot, I had too much caffeine, and I can't sleep. I decided it's a good time to catch up on my on-line reading. I have been overwhelmed with the prayer requests I have found here. What a blessing to know that so many people pray for people they don't know and will never know on this earth. But what a great reunion there will be in heaven!
I have been thinking a lot today of my mother-in-law. She is 87 and my FIL just turned 93. They recently celebrated their 65th anniversary - yes, I said 65th. They ministered together in small churches for many years. They raised 3 great kids, one of whom I was privileged to meet and marry almost 34 years ago.
When they retired, the folks moved out here and bought our first little house from us. It was great, and even better when they bought a bigger house, only 6 blocks from us. They lived there happily, raising a garden, working in their church, and loving their grandkids, for over 15 years - I can't really remember! Then they went to a nice apartment in a retirement setting and enjoyed 5 good years there. I wouldn't mind living there myself someday - fun stuff to do, an ice cream parlor, exercise room, pool, hot tub, hair salon, monthly cleaning of your apartment, and on and on.
But, the story is not as fun any more. She had to quit driving, he lost his mobility with his motorized wheel chair because he kept running into people in the halls (not a good thing to run into people in their walkers - could get a bit litigous!) He always was a maniac driver and that didn't improve with age! Finally, we had to intervene and move them into assisted living just a few months ago. She has had a hard time adjusting to the losses, especially the loss of the car and of the kitchen and cooking. I can't tell you how many thousands of sugar-free treats she has made for her diabetic sweetheart since he was diagnosed in his 60s.
Finally, about 3 weeks ago, the day came when she realized she couldn't take care of him any more as he slipped out of bed onto the floor and she couldn't get him back in bed. One problem is that she keeps forgetting to press the buzzer for help, which is the whole purpose of assisted living! She also didn't remember the next day, when he had been moved into full nursing care down the hall, that she admitted not being able to take care of him any more. Her short term memory is getting worse and worse. In the meantime, DC and his sister have had a tremendous load added to their lives with all of the caretaking that this involves - and of course, it affects me as well in a big way.
But the thing that I mainly have been thinking of is her servant heart. For so many years she has served the churches, her children, and most of all her husband. She is one of a dying breed who believe they were put on this earth to serve their husbands. She had a very low self esteem growing up (and still does for that matter, no matter how many times she is assured how wonderful she is), and didn't think any man would ever love her. Enter the love of her life and 65 years of a journey together.
Since he has been moved into the nursing home part of the facility, she can go visit him and keeps bringing him up to their little apartment in his wheelchair. Therein lies the problem - he's supposed to stay in his chair, but she keeps "forgetting" and asks him if he wouldn't like to sit in the rocking chair or on the couch. Then she has to get him back into the chair when it's time for him to go back to his dinky little room with the hard-of-hearing roommate who has his t.v. on full blast all day long. I don't blame her for wanting to get him out of there. But it takes 3 strong people to get him into that chair, and I honestly don't know how in the world she has done it without hurting him or herself. Trouble is - she's going to lose the privilege of having him up there if she doesn't quit helping him get out of his wheelchair! I told her the other night I couldn't decide if she was getting rebellious at this age, or if she was really that forgetful - I'm still not sure!
The point that I'm trying to get to in such a roundabout way is that I see her seemingly diminishing in size as she goes places without him. She has been at family functions this week-end alone and she is very sad. She seems smaller. Her entire identity is wrapped up in being his wife. I'm concerned about how she will survive when he is gone - his health is VERY precarious and it can't be much longer.