Monday, December 15, 2014

'Tis the Season

"Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la." We all go through seasons in life. We have our ups, our downs. The Christmas season is typically an "up" season; we hear all the songs telling us "it's the most wonderful time of the year", or as stated above, "tis the season to be jolly".

But for some, it's not such a wonderful time of the year. Maybe it dredges up old memories that are not so pleasant. Maybe it's a more lonely time of the year for some people who don't have family members or friends to enjoy the season with. There are many who can't afford a decent Christmas dinner for their family, or cannot buy the presents they would like to for their kids. All the happiness surrounding them during the month of December seems to grate on their last nerve.

This year, I'm struggling to not be one of those people. I've always loved the Christmas season; from the decorating of my home, to the delicious goodies just waiting to be baked and eaten to the visits from family and friends, and of course, the gift giving. I love watching my family open their gifts. It's always been one of my favorite holidays. But this year, I have to watch my mom as she enters the end-of-life struggle. Mom has lived with us for about 9 years, and during the last four years the despicable disease of Alzheimer's reared its ugly head and invaded our lives.

Mom has fought this disease with every inch of her being. She's a tiny woman, with a mighty strength. She wasn't going to give in without a fight. I could go on and on about how I despise this disease, but I won't. Just know I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

Mom took a turn for the worse a few days ago, and her body is shutting down. To watch her struggle for every breath is torture for me, never mind for her.

I'm in a very strange place right now. I don't want my mother to go. But the shell of the person she was is all that's left. But I can't grieve for her, as she's still "here". I take care of her, but the best I can do is make her "comfortable". I take care of her knowing she can't be saved, there is no hope of that. I've been a caregiver for the last 31 years, making sure my son Derek stays well with all his medical issues. So this situation is extremely difficult for me.

What keeps me going is knowing the real reason for Christmas: the birth of Christ. God sent His only son to the earth to become a man, to walk among us; with the intention of Him dying on the cross for all of our sins. For you and for me, so we spend eternity with Him. What a gift He has given us! This is what keeps me from letting the dark cloud of grief completely overwhelm me. This, and knowing that Christ is walking with me through this valley. I have His word on that: Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So, I am clinging to the promises of God; I am thankful for each one of you who have offered love, prayers and support; thankful I've had my mother for 86 years; thankful she is able to be in her own home as she prepares for her next journey; and thankful most of all for Jesus, the real reason for the season!


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