Returning once again to my old province of Ontario, after spending a lovely summer on the PEI (my newer homeland), I certainly take for granted the blessings I have been given. The bittersweet taste of leaving something good to go to something good. Another of life’s paradoxes. Don’t you find that when you make a decision, there is a domino effect that you cannot grasp until you are in it. I think one of the pearls of wisdom from my dad that I walk with in my life is knowing a decision today should not haunt a person tomorrow. It is not a haunt so much as a wish to be more of a Hermione, a Jeannie or a Samantha -blink eyes, twitch nose or use a time turner. Why? Being in two places at once to embrace the joys of goodness – my family and friends.
But alas my joy has to come from wherever I am and from within me. And the journey to get there, short or long, I need to be mindful that I do not want for a moment to take for granted that which has been bestowed upon me. My mom who is in a nursing home has just finished her isolation period after a second bout of covid-19, even with four shots and a fifth one coming I hear. The nursing/retirement home had a huge number of cases, staff and residence, a few weeks ago. The stringent protocols, thankfully, ensued and now as I sit across from her, holding her hands, a tear catches on my cheek.
I am so grateful to be able to touch her, rub her hands, and intertwine my fingers through fingers that are now filled with arthritis. Sheesh. Sucks to get older. and Boy I miss her hugs. She would wrap her arms around me so tightly that it was like being wrapped in warmth and sunshine. Then her hands would hold mine for a moment or five with a little squeeze before she let me go. Unknowingly, it was just the boost I needed on many occasions to be able to once again feel strong and secure in facing the day.
There I sit with her for a few hours, having to wake her up again, and say “hey mom, I’m here for a visit. Is that okay?” She would stare at me and then her beautiful smile would come out and then nodded slightly saying, “Yes”. Until the fourth time of waking her up, she said “who are you”? Slice. Oooh that hurt. But okay mom. “It’s me, Karen, your daughter.”
But no matter, I sing songs (thankfully she only has one roommate to hear the off key noise) to her, put lotion on her hands, lift her thickened calves for exercise, brush her hair, and natter away about her family stories. Sometimes I can feel a bit of a squeeze from her fingers as I hold her hands. That makes me think she hears me but of course I can’t remember what I just said so I can repeat it. Holding on to the woman who has been my mom for 62 years. It is in these time there is no taking for granted. At all.
No one knows the plan for our life except God. It reminds me of Garth Brook’s line in his song The Dance “and now I am glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go.” Is that not the truth? I would not want to know because how would one act knowing that. It is in these moments the comfort and strength of the Lord and the hymn Be Not Afraid also comes to mind. “Be not afraid I go before you always, come follow me and I will give you rest.”
Life is so precious, fragile and brief. And so in the time one has on this earth, how does one spend it? Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Even today for that matter. I look at my granddaughter who I am taking care of right now as daycare is not as accessible as it should be including space and affordability. That is something for another day. Anyway, there she is, a two year old tasmanian devil. LOL. She has a set of lungs when things are not going her way. Ear piercing let me tell you. And try to stop her from falling on the ground, drama city, in a pile of sobbing while keeping her from kicking me. Yowee!! Oh how I wish that one could always have what one wants little one. Well not really but it sounds good. Haha. But there she is, with her little hands and feet, motoring around, not a care in the world except to make her presence known. Her face scrunched and fierce but no tears. Crying and no tears. Interesting. She is beginning the life given to her while her great grandmother is on the other end of this wondrous life cycle. A lump comes in my throat.
So I am gong to take the words “who are you?”and the infrequent but beautiful smiles during my many upcoming visits with my mom and hold her hands. And I am also going to take the piercing cry of my granddaughter (while holding or watching her cry for those many minutes) as her mommy leaves her to do what she needs to do to make her daughter’s life better because life cannot be taken for granted. There is value and worth in who and what are in our lives.
Blessings this day.
Let us pray for those who need our prayers today and to appreciate this life given.