I only left her for a moment, but her chair is empty when I return. She has been ill since Mother’s Day and only out of the house for trips to the doctor or the emergency room. Crippled by unrelenting pain, her body has become weak and frail. She has lost weight and has no energy. Where could she get to so quickly? How fast can she move using that walker?
I find her at the back door, gazing out at her patio. I put my arm around her, “Mom, what are you doing?”
Her voice quavers, “Look at the Cosmos! I am missing everything!” Her tears come and I promise her that tomorrow we will get her outside to sit in the sun.
Worse than the physical changes, her lovely spirit that makes her so special is withering away. Positive and upbeat, she has always been fiercely independent. That all changed when pain came to stay. Now she depends on help for her most basic needs. As the days, then weeks and now months have passed, her sunny demeanor has slipped away. She is tired of being sick and deeply frightened that she may not get well.
As her daughters, we gladly step in to bless this woman who has been the center of our lives. (Hint: I am the fourth stair-step from the left.)
We each minister to her in our own way: the cooks bring her wonderful dishes to tempt her appetite, the gardener brings her flowers and fresh produce, those with a servants heart clean, and we all do everything we can to bolster her mood and encourage her.
The best medicine is seeing our youngest sister for a visit and getting one of her mega-watt smiles.
We are still taking things day by day, but we embrace each moment as a blessing from God. Every hour that goes by without the need for pain medication is a cause for celebration. Each bite she eats, carefully noted and written down. We search for things to spark her interest and bring some joy to her days. We plot ways to increase her strength. We find tasks she can do that help her feel useful. We pray.
Pain is a fierce enemy that has overstayed its welcome, but the battle is not over. Many prayers go up for our mom each day from friends and family far and wide. While I cannot say I understand why God allows this suffering, I know His grace is sufficient to meet all our needs.