Blessings In Loss

or 4 of the Blessings I Received While Caring for My Dying Mother.  Titles aren’t my strong suit.  My brother helped me with the official one.

My mother had never truly been a healthy person.  She struggled with chronic pain, especially migraines, from as far back as I can remember.  When she began to have frequent falls and failing to regain her previous state of “normal,” we knew that the end was drawing closer.  My father cared for her 24/7, until it became too much for him to do alone.  Despite incorporating the help of a home health agency, it became obvious that I would need to make the step to move in with my parents until she died.  It was one of the most difficult periods of my life, but I would definitely do it again.  As difficult as it was, it was also a time of rich blessing.  Let me share some of those with you.

1.  The Blessing of Peace -The week before I came to the decision to move in with my parents, I was running back and forth between my house and my parent’s house, several times a week, preparing meals in both places.  I was exhausted, as well as dealing with my own chronic health issues.  I was the only child of my parents who even lived in the same state so all the physical care of them fell on me.  I really wanted to stay home with my own family, but my reasons were selfish in nature.  I was making it all about me.  When I finally gave this over to the Lord and accepted that this was something God had ordained for me to do, the peace was overwhelming.  My anxiety and exhaustion ended and I knew I was in the center of His will.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                            Philippians 4: 6-7

2. The Blessing of Joy – The day before my mother died, it was obvious that death was drawing near.  Her vital signs were deteriorating as night approached.  Everyone was exhausted, but there was no way I could sleep.  My father and brother-in-law laid down to rest and I promised to wake them if I needed them.  Mama was not conscious, but she was still in pain so I was giving her medication every hour to ease her pain and to help her breathe as easily as possible.  I’m sure the fact that I was a nurse years ago was a blessing here, as the event that loomed didn’t scare me as much as it could have.  Most of all, was the fact that I knew where my mother was going.  Her faith in Jesus Christ brought joy and as she approached meeting her savior face to face, I was joyful FOR her.  As others slept that night, I sat beside my mother’s bed talking to her, loving on her, praying over her and most of all, praising God for His work IN her and THROUGH her.  I will never forget that night, singing to my mother my favorite praise music.  I would even hold her hand upward with mine, just in case she was aware enough that we might praise His name together.  Exhaustion eventually took over briefly and I slept with my head beside her for not more than an hour.  My father woke up about 5 a.m. or so, and we talked by her bedside.  He was able to sleep all night, but woke within a hour of her going home to be with Jesus.  She had arrived in heaven!

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.                                               John 15:10-11

3.  The Blessing of Church Family – We tend to think of our individual church as our church “body” but in reality, it is only a small part of the universal body of Christ.  The “family” that I was able to know and be blessed by, was something that will stay with me always.  Christian brothers and sisters to my parents became my brothers and sisters as well.  The love they showed my parents, and me, in many tangible ways, was just as God had planned His body to function.  I still remember the look on her face when, after sleeping for many hours, she would wake to see one of her sisters in Christ by her bed.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.                                                        I Corinthians 12:12-13

4.  The Blessing of Immediate Family – I think I would use the same verses here as I used in #3 because not only are these people my immediate family, they are also my brothers and sister in Christ.  What a godly heritage we have to be thankful for in our family!

I mentioned earlier that I was the only sibling who lived near my parents.  I have one brother and one sister, both of who live in different states.  They were not able to be here to help physically with my mother’s care, but they were no less important than those caring for her here on a day to day basis!  My siblings and I kept in contact daily, mainly through Facebook private messages.  I recently began to compile those messages and was amazed to find over 3000.  They varied between words of inspiration and admonition, displays of patience as well as exasperation,  surges of love and of sorrow.  Oh wait, this verse is perfect!

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.        Ecclesiastes 4:12

Before I leave the blessing of my immediate family, I must mention how much I appreciate and love my father.  Watching him patiently care for my mother’s physical needs, day in and day out, working alongside him doing tasks too great to accomplish alone and receiving encouragement from him when he could see a situation more clearly than I…all shaped a relationship with him that had eluded us in the past.  I will never look at him the same again.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it encompasses the blessings that stand out the most to me.  Let’s say this is the beginning of me delving into that difficult journey on my blog, so that I can extend some of those blessings to you.  It is my privilege.

6 thoughts on “Blessings In Loss

  1. Your story reminds me of my friend, she did the same as you and her mum called to see me before she went home, so I went sick as I was with the cancer treatments , I was there so she knew I was going to be well and live, and stay alongside my friend though what ever the future brought our way, she went home to the lord peacefully not long after my arrival, she had cancer in her 88th year but rejoiced to go her maker – Jesus, after that time I too returned home. Caring for elderly parents isn’t an easy job but a rewarding one when we know The Lord.

  2. That is such a beautiful testimony, Beth, and an encouragement to all of us as we approach that experience in our own lives. One more blessing for you – and it will be a comfort to you later – you will never have that regret of NOT having taken care of her or being with her.

    Your father sounds like a wonderful husband, keeping his vows of “in sickness and in health.” That testimony is a blessing, too.

  3. I took care of my mom for seven months while she slowly died of terminal colon cancer. She was 48 at diagnosis and passed away two weeks after her 49th birthday. I was 28. I lived around the corner and was able to walk back and forth to help care for her. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. And yet there were blessings, as you’ve articulated. My mom and I grew closer than we had been prior to her cancer battle. I have the comfort of knowing I made her the priority of my life when she needed me most. And I know you must feel the same about your sacrifices. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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