I woke up this morning thinking about my Mom. I know that because I tend to speak of her in the past tense that most of my readers assume that she has passed on. No, she’s still alive. And what is happening to her is one of the most painful questions I have posed to God. Why?
When Mom was about my age, in her early forties, she began to have some skin issues, or at least, that is
what we assumed her problem was. After almost a decade of going to doctors, she was finally diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis of the liver. Her liver was tanked and putting bile in her blood, which was making her whole body itch. She was miserable, to say the least.
My mother has lived her entire life waiting to go to heaven. If you were to ask any of us what her one defining characteristic was in our opinion, I imagine it wouldn’t vary much from the fact that she was staying in her home, writing her romance novels, and waiting for Jesus to return, or her to die. She always seemed to be waiting…To see Jesus’ face was her only goal. And it irritated all of her kids to some degree or another.
Mom wasn’t much able to function like most of us today. She’d only held down a few jobs in her life ( and, only for brief periods of time), choosing instead to raise her 5 children as a homemaker instead. Our home was always clean, clothes were washed, a meal cooked each evening. But when it came to our lives outside of those four walls, Mom didn’t want to participate. She preferred the world that went on in her head. She was by the very definition, a romantic.
When the doctors told Mom that she would have to have a liver transplant, her first reaction to this news was to reject the idea. She didn’t fear death at all, and she was ready to go….had been for a long time. Her decision rippled through her family, sending us like waves in all directions. One of my sisters and I were of the opinion that she should do as she wanted. It wasn’t our decision, and we had faith we’d see her again when we died. Another sister and one of my brothers found her decision to be selfish, and encouraged her to get the transplant. After all, she had kids and grandkids to think of. And then, her husband R. and one other brother just stayed neutral, not giving an opinion one way or another. I remember thinking that if my husband chose to stay neutral on a subject like this with me, that would break my heart.
In the end, Mom folded, and got the transplant. A few short years later, R. dropped her off at my doorstep with an old Jeep Cherokee, it’s title, and $100. Their marriage of 30 years was over. She was devastated.
Within a few short months, Mom had stroke after stroke, and disintegrated mentally and physically down to a small child. Her personality changed, becoming mean-spirited, frustrated, angry…My New York sister and I took care of her back and forth for about a year before I was in the motorcycle accident. After that, she had to be put into a nursing home. She ended up in New York state nursing home– one of the youngest residents in it.
I talk about my mother in the past tense because I don’t recognize this woman who is my mother now. Even physically, she doesn’t feel the same to me. Like she’d always done all my life, she’s waiting to die. Ironically, that transplanted liver is over a decade old now, even though we were warned she’d probably only last 5 years more after her transplant…It all seems so cruel to me.
I don’t know what other people pray for when they pray for my mom, but my prayer is always that God will end her suffering and take her to the home she has been dreaming and longing for all of her life. Maybe it is cold…but I don’t think so. I can’t imagine how horrible this has got to feel from behind her eyes…
I guess I write this today to show that I don’t have all the answers. I haven’t figured everything out in my life, and while I will always trust that God knows best, it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish sometimes He’d just do what I want Him to do. He knows how I feel about this…we’ve talked. In the end, I have to force myself to pray “Your Will be done…”
For the prayers out there, maybe I could ask you to say a little prayer today for my mother…..