While caring for elderly parents, life gets put on somewhat of a hold for the caregivers. With their parent’s passing, a caregiver may feel a sense of release from the demanding requirements of caregiving as life returns to a more normal pace. Yet, all of this mixed in with feelings of venturing into life without that parent’s sustaining presence can be a rough and challenging road.
Mother was an anchor for me. Caring for her opened a volume of opportunities that affirmed my faith in God. Though there were some really tough moments, especially toward the end, with every situation, I gained a closer understanding of what it meant to serve God. For through the years He taught me that in serving my mom, I was serving Him. To be honest, I failed more times than I care to admit. So let’s just say, over time I grew in awareness of what God was expecting from me as I cared for Mother. And that’s important.
Our first Thanksgiving without Mother and now with Christmas approaching presents a void to be dealt with. Everywhere I look I am reminded of her. I stand on my front porch and crowning the nearby hill stands the house that she lived and died in. The place where I said my final goodbye. And all throughout my house and yard, are physical reminders of her loving care. Her life and the impact she had on mine, is now a store of memories. But I’m learning it is those very reflections that will fill the void .
As I sort through all the abundance of memories, I have so much to be grateful for. For something beautiful happened in those final days that will continue to be my focus and sustain me.
I have watched as my children and grandchildren spent time with their grandmother and great grandmother. I listened as my children taught their children about what honoring Granma looked like and meant. The impressions they made took their source from what God had to say about honoring our mother and our father.
They learned that it wasn’t always convenient or easy to care for a parent. They were taught that sacrifices had to be made to their choices of how to use their time and in making their schedules. And all along they were bolstered by the earlier memories of Grandmother’s spunky and loving ways in caring for them. I could not be more grateful that my children and grandchildren were able to form a perspective of caring that was shaped by what they learned as family pulled together to take care of Granma.
And as we gather for the holidays, those memories are a sustaining source of thankfulness and joy. His promise that one day we will be reunited because we have accepted God’s gift of Jesus, replenishes me daily.
Because God has overcome this world, we are the recipients of gifts more valuable than anything we could possibly find under our Christmas tree. And for me, this particular lessons on showing my love through serving those I love is a gift I pray I will continue to unwrap.