Sunday, November 30, 2014

Through her Eyes

Furniture shopping last summer.
I often wonder if I could smile with such sincerity if I were in constant pain from the shingles, but she does.  For over 91 years her smile has remained strong, much like her family of four sons and one daughter, all blessed with her love and patience.  Her joy for life, for everyday living, for being with family is slowly being drained from her body.  Age is the demon chasing her every night.

Now her legs have said, way too many times, "This pain is just too much.  Sit down and please don't move."  The walker is companion but not the companion who makes her feel needed.  It's only a metal frame that helps her to walk from her "perch" on the couch, to the kitchen, to her bedroom, and back.  Her companion for the last few years died in September.  He was younger than she and was suppose to outlive her.  She misses him everyday. I can't imagine her grief nor her pain. 

Alleen  loves to eat at Red Lobster
Those birthdays have taken their toll, and all we hurt as we watch her age. Her daily routine of coffee and donuts with friends at  Donut King and Braum's have come to an end.  She doesn't enjoy getting out and the cold hurts her bones.  She thrives on the breakfast platter now that Jack brings daily, and for an hour or two each morning she shares her life with Jack, her son, or any of us who are family.  She loves to talk and share her memories.  We are all happy that she does; then she chokes or her breathing becomes labored and she's frightened and our hearts race.  We have caretakers who help her daily with household chores and meals, but they have struggled with her independent nature.  We've spoiled her, rightfully so, and she most pleased with restaurant foods, not home cooked.  

Now other aliments follow her.  A woman who merely takes Anacin for relief and a pill for her racing heart, now suffers from dizzy spells, that scare her so much  that she doesn't like to walk.  And so she sits, her muscles atrophy more and more everyday, but fear of falling has taken hold of her thoughts.

Most of the time she's articulate, reads the newspaper word for word cover to cover, watches football, Lawrence Welk, Andy Griffith, Everybody Loves Raymond, the Golden Girls, and good old movies, but she's lonely.  Her fingers aren't strong enough to sew and make the quilts or doll clothes they once made.  Her guitar sits more now than ever before, with her fingers no longer callused and strong enough to press the chords.  Her will is stronger than
Alleen and great grandson, Isaac
muscles, and so she makes herself get up and sing for others.  It keeps her going and makes her happy.  But pain is now her constant companion.

How does a family make a decision for an aging parent?  We try to see through her eyes.  We try to do what's best for her, but her mind thinks she's young, strong, independent and can live alone. Her dream is to die at home in her bed.  Do we honor her dream?  We toss and turn and question what's best, what helps, where do we go from here? 

I listen as God guides me. I open my heart and pray, and so do we all.  We pray that her life stays "golden", but in the end we pray for "God's will be done."   


  1. Well written and poignant. ab

  2. Oh, Letty. I am so sorry to hear she has shingles to deal with at her age! It is very sad to see our loved ones decline in health and not be able to do what their minds want them to be able to do.nv