One of my favorite things about this summer has been visiting my mom each Thursday.
Our visits are often filled with the same kinds of activities: going for walks, visiting in the courtyard, and playing games.
Sometimes my mom is really happy--making lots of jokes and having a wonderful time with us--and sometimes she is discouraged and tearful.
We've learned to cherish those happy moments:
This past Thursday, I was in my mom's room with a couple of nurses, and we were talking about the family photos my sister-in-law Melanie had hung on the wall. (Melanie was the photographer, and she is on the far right in the photo below).
This is almost all of us--minus a few dear cousins and in-laws who sadly couldn't make it that day.
Here are 19 of the 30 grandchildren:
Love these next two pictures:
And these are my parents, me, and my seven siblings. From left to right: Ryan, Page, Lisa, Susan, Dad, Mom, Linda, Me, Laura, and Robert.
The following series of photos are precious to me:
(This is where Melanie asked my dad to kiss my mom for the photo. My mom was so embarrassed, and every time my dad tried to lean in for a kiss, she would pull away shyly.)
This one is my favorite:
As I was telling the nurses about our family, one of them asked, "When were these pictures taken?"
"December." I replied.
She looked shocked and said, "Just this last December?"
I nodded, and then she looked to the other nurse, and I knew what they were thinking. My mom has been declining rapidly. Very rapidly.
We're all hoping mom will walk again, and we desperately want her to stay with us. But the reality is that her dementia is getting worse, and the physical therapists can't get her to progress very well because she forgets everything she's learned.
We'll be getting her transferred home in a few weeks, and my sisters and I are coordinating a schedule of helpers so my dad won't be overwhelmed.
I know we're not the first family to go through something like this, but wow, every step of this process is hard.
One sweet experience I'll share, though, took place when my husband and I were at the Redlands Temple for our church last week. There's a beautiful room in each temple called the Celestial Room. It's quiet and beautiful, and you can sit, pray, think, and listen.
While I was there, I said to the Lord, "I'm worried about my mom."
The sweetest, most peaceful feeling came over me, and I could hear in my mind the words, "You don't need to worry about your mom. I am taking care of her."
That message has strengthened me this whole week. Whenever I forget to breathe or start to tense up my shoulders as I think about all the hard things going on, I just remember that she's in God's hands, and He will help us.
I'm not sure why I feel compelled to share all these details here, but I hope that as I show what's happening in my life and share how the Lord is guiding me through it, I can help others to know He will do likewise for them.
Thanks for your friendship and for being with me through this. I pray that you may feel the power of the Lord in your lives, as well.