On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Unless you’re a brand new visitor to my blog (and if you are, welcome!), you know that I cared for my parents for many years and that they both went home to be with the Lord in the last couple of years. Dad passed away on May 13, 2011, and Mom followed him on May 20 of this year. I was close to both of them, but especially to Mom, and on May 30 I wrote a post about how much I miss her. It’s become my most popular post, getting almost 1,800 views to date, almost three times as many as my previous favorite about why old people smell bad. 

Mom and I talked almost every day throughout my life, but Alzheimer’s stole that away long before she actually died. In my previous post I talked about how much I missed those talks, but there are so many other ways I miss her. When she first moved from my home into assisted living, I missed her presence in the back seat of the car. It wasn’t the emotional kind of missing that makes your heart hurt but rather a something’s-not-there kind of missing, more like what I imagine an amputee might feel when he or she experiences phantom pain. It was nice not to have to worry about anyone’s seatbelt but my own, and it was even nicer not to have to answer repeated questions about where we were going, why, and when we would get there, but there was still the occasional feeling that I needed to turn around and check to be sure she was okay.

Special occasions are hard, too, especially the first ones. Her birthday in September was difficult, Christmas preparations are tinged with sadness as I realize there is one less name on the gift list this year and Mother’s Day will be lonely next year. I’ve been through a lot of loss of my own, though, and I’ve counseled and comforted others in their times of loss, so I know what to expect. But there is one unexpected time when I miss Mom – when I pray.

The other night I was lying in bed, praying silently. There were no soaring, inspiring words; it was more of a now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep kind of prayer, whispered in the recesses of my mind as I hovered in the limbo between wakefulness and sleep. When I got to the God bless… part, I remembered friends and family who are going through physical and emotional struggles, and as I edged closer to that drop-off into the abyss, I thought God, please be with Mom. Suddenly my mind jerked me back from the brink. Wait a minute. Mom is already there, in the place where there is no pain, no tears, no sorrow. Even in my foggy state of mind, I felt not only a sense of gratitude but also a sense of emptiness and loss – gratitude that Mom has passed beyond her confusion and suffering but emptiness because of the loss of a special kind of connection. I carry her memory with me always, and I believe I will be reunited with her when my time comes, but for now she no longer needs my prayers. I felt God smiling indulgently at His sleepy child, and I smiled sheepishly in return. Well, I sighed just before I slipped into unconsciousness, can You please tell her hello and that I love her.

Blessings,

Linda

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Comments on: "I Miss Mom When I Pray | by Linda Brendle" (6)

  1. That is so sweet and sad. And I can understand, partially, how you feel. I’m very close to my mom. We talk several times a day and I go to visit and help her several times a week. I dread the day that I can’t just pick up my phone and call her and I know I’ll do it without thinking about it. But I’m sure your mom got your message and knows you love her.

    • Yes, Krista, I’m sure she got the message, and I certainly told her enough times when she was still with me. It’s like you said, though. It’s those times when you pick up the phone or turn to her automatically and then suddenly remember that she’s not there that take you by surprise.
      Blessings,
      Linda

  2. Jo Robinson said:

    I’ve been having computer trouble for several weeks.  It won’t let me reply to your blog in the usual way, so I’m sending it here.      I didn’t have the “pick up the phone and call anytime” relationship with your mom but I certainly did with my own mother.  Although it’s been a few years longer, I still have those instances when I start to call her.  Maybe we alway will.  Often, though, when I’m in the kitchen preparing a meal, I have a brief anticipation of your mom coming around the corner to ask if she can help.  And those times always bring a smile to my face as I remember that very special sweet lady.  And, yes, I too recognize how my Christmas list is dwindling.  Daily I so miss all four of those dear people — your parents and my own.

    ________________________________

  3. Oh,Linda what a lovely post.I too have been having some feelings about my stepdad .We wwent through those same firsts this year and even though I know he is so much better off I still get a craving for him.Thanks for putting it in such a beautiful way. Blessings Liz

    • Liz, it helps to know others feel the way you do, doesn’t it? Seeing that others have been through it and come out whole gives you the strength to keep on going. Thanks for your sweet comment.
      Blessings,
      Linda

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