Seasons to Remember

You can’t deny it . . .  fall is on the horizon. This realization hit me when my Google calendar suddenly flipped from July to August. We returned from two weeks overseas and found Halloween candy in the stores.

I am looking forward to fall though, but honestly, it has nothing to do with pumpkin spice latté. I’m ready to welcome the cooler sweater weather, colorful leaves, and college football. I long to sleep at night again with the windows wide open!

As a kid, I lived for summer. When your childhood home is on the ocean, you spend the entire winter dreaming about the days when you can run barefoot in the sand. I loved those carefree surf-filled sunny days, and listening to the waves crashing beneath my window at night. They are memories that truly stay with you for a lifetime.

Years later, my folks moved to the mountains of southwestern Maine and I discovered a new love for pine forests, fall foliage, and maple syrup. I saw my first moose and fed a chickadee from my hand. I went apple picking and even tried snowshoeing. And of all the Christmas mornings I can remember, nothing compared to waking up in the mountains with snow falling and a fire crackling in the wood stove.

I will always have fond memories of my childhood summers on the beach. Time has passed and I have lots of new memories of summers spent at the beach and in the mountains with my own children. And as the calendar flips to a new month, a new season, or a new year, I will look forward to many more seasons in my life, shared with friends and family, creating memories to cherish forever.

Fear Not

Life sure is full of changes.

Two weeks ago my brother moved our mom into a permanent nursing home. This happened while we were overseas in Israel. A bed became available, so he had to move quickly. I felt badly that I was not there to help with the transition, but the timing was beyond my control.

Our family knew we were heading in that direction ever since Mom’s second fall right after Christmas. Unlike her first broken hip, this was not a simple replacement. This surgery required rods and pins, followed by a 7-week stay in a rehab facility. Her dementia seemed to fast track after her return home, and it was apparent she had forgotten how to complete the most basic self-care tasks.

This story may hit home for some of you. I have friends and other family members who are only too familiar with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition to the physical deterioration, the disease steals precious memories. That has been the hardest thing for my brother and I to witness. When that recognition and connection disappears, you suddenly feel as though a stranger has replaced your loved one.

As I seek ways to cope with this change, I have discovered something that brings me comfort. My mom has forgotten how to worry. The things that once caused her to fret are no longer important. She enjoys living and has no idea that she is no longer her former self. Her nurses tell us that she is so much fun to be around, that she makes them laugh. She tries to dance through her physical therapy, and loves joining in the daily games and activities. She still lights up when my brother or I walk in the room. There is still that brief glimmer of recognition followed by joy that we treasure so much.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” — ‭Matthew‬ ‭6:25-27‬

Seeing our mom so content has also helped us to shed our own worries. Caring for her had been a huge challenge — particularly for my brother — for the past 8-10 years as Mom’s disease has progressed. I realized that this move, regardless of the timing, was truly an answer to prayer. As I stood with my forehead pressed against the Western Wall in Jerusalem back on July 7th, I asked God to help us care for our mother and to guide our decisions. When I returned home, my brother and I realized that our greatest prayer had been answered within days of that visit. Simply amazing.

Whatever trial you may be facing in life, please do not give up. Place your worries before throne of the Lord. Allow Him to care for you, even as he cares for every tiny sparrow.