Monday, April 26, 2010

Growing Old Isn't for Sissies....


Just coming in from a week-end at the beach. My sisters, Beth & Patsy, brought Mother to my house on Friday evening...and we continued on the trip to our destination: Topsail Island, NC. That all sounds pretty normal. Why, folks go on girls weekends all the time. BUT...this trip was anything but normal. See, it was actually a miracle for all of this come about. Our Mother is in very declining health. She's almost 89 years old, very frail and just recovered from a bout of CHF that was nearly fatal and in fact the MD was ready for her to become a Hospice patient. She hasn't been to my home in at least 5 years; probably more like 7 or 8 years. In fact, it's been so long that I've lost count of the years...if that tells you anything. So, needless to say, it was a bit ambitious for us to think we could do this thing...but, "WE" McKnight girls are hard to stop when we put our minds to something. Just ask any of our husbands! LOL!

After arriving at Ken & Laura's beach house late on Friday night, we then were faced with the challenge of getting Mother up the 18 steps into the house...one of our fears. Being very typical of coastal living, this precious house is built on stilts. I must say, she made it...with a few "behind" lifts from us. The 2nd of many miraculous feats was accomplished. Not going to go into all the details of the weekend b/c frankly, they are just too numerous. But we made it.

Mother, we are convinced, is flirting with Alzheimer's...undiagnosed of course. She repeated herself so many times. Same questions, same concerns, and us with the same answers...with a twist, thinking that maybe this time...it would stick. But no, it didn't. The best solution was to change the subject and give her mind a reprieve, however small, from the relentless statements she couldn't "file" in her brain so that she could recall later. It was a hard weekend. Hard for her "doing" and hard for us "seeing".

I guess I've said all of that, to say this...when nothing else remains in your brain such as birth dates, places, names of your children...it all comes down to the "CORE" of who you are as a person. Mother's "CORE" is God. Unequivocally. No doubt. Hands down. The End. She prayed the blessing for most of our meals. Her prayers were beautiful. Deep. Connected. Spiritual. Serene. Powerful. We took turns providing her care or overseeing her actions so the others could rest, watch TV, work a puzzle, etc. One evening, during my time with Mother so my sisters could watch a movie, I convinced mother to lie down for a "rest". She was very anxious, wanting to immediately get up. So, I asked her to sing with me while we laid there holding hands on the big, King-Size bed. She was all for it. We sang Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, The Old Rugged Cross....a few oldie but goodies in the Hymn arena. She was at peace, even if just for a while.

All this made me give a lot of thought to my core. Mother taught me much. All my life, she taught me that Prayer Changes Things....one of her favorite sayings. She taught me that you need to be kind, reach out to others in need, share your blessings and share your faith.

As we got back to my house for a quick potty break before continuing their trip home to the Piedmont of N.C., I watched Mother apply her lipstick before getting out of the car. I was reminded of another lesson she taught me around the age of 12 years old..."No lady is dressed until her lipstick is on"!
I love you Mother. You're an amazing woman of God...your "CORE" is healthy. If I can only be a little like you.

This post is dedicated to my Mother...Annie. ...may her legacy live on in her "Girls". Thank you God for this weekend.

5 comments:

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

What a weekend indeed! Gave me time to reflect, though, uncertain about the future with mother. I'm glad we made the trip, though. The little funny things she did...

Yep! Worth it all!!

Love you, sis!!

~Beth

Nancy M. said...

Wow! What an awesome trip! So glad y'all were able to spend some time with your mom! She seems like a very godly woman who has raised some wonderful children!

Beth E. said...

A beautiful post, and loving tribute to your precious mother!

I hopped over from Beth's blog to read about your beach adventure. I'm so glad you had such a special weekend with your mother.

Blessings,
Beth E.

Sue Ellen said...

Thanks Ladies...not been an active blogger but found putting my feelings down about the beach weekend really helped me process Mother's health status...thanks for your kind words!

Nel said...

Hi I am here from Beth's corner. I have been keeping up with your mom thru her. My dad had senile dementia, a form of alzheimers. I feel for you guys, it is hard to see your parent's becoming the kids you have to take care of. My dad spent his last 8 years in the nursing home. It was hard for us, but good for him. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you are passing thru this hard time.
until next time... nel