My mom is declining. And it's happening faster than I thought it would.
She's sleeping about 20 hours a day now. Her legs won't let her stand. She's forgotten how to write her name. She needs to be reminded to swallow.
But there's something powerful happening that I felt I needed to record tonight.
I'm being lifted.
This morning when I woke up and thought about the various challenges that are hurting my heart (my mom's situation at the forefront), I whispered, "I can't do this. It's too much. I'm not strong enough."
But a couple of hours later, during the closing hymn at church, we sang this:
Fear not, I am with thee. Oh be not dismayed.
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand.
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.
At that moment, the message was for me, and I heard this:
I'll help you, April. You don't need to be afraid. I am with you. Trust me. I have never let you down.
And those words stayed with me all afternoon...as I thought about how I will say goodbye, as I considered how to start the conversation with my dad about "final arrangements," and as I spoke with my mom briefly on the phone (I could feel what she was trying to say, but all I could hear were partial sentences and slurred words).
Then tonight I was given two tender mercies.
The first was from Grace, who could see my tears as we got Spencer's room straightened up before getting him into bed.
"It'll be okay, Mom," she said. "I mean, would you rather have grandma remember nothing and be with you physically--or remember everything and be with you spiritually?"
Her wisdom touched my heart, and I turned to her and opened my arms. We just stood together in the center of the room, hugging each other tight.
Then Alia went into the office and started printing something off the computer, and after I reminded her it was time to get to bed, she said, "One minute...you're going to like this."
The next thing I knew, she was downstairs playing a simplified version of "Blue Moon," the song my mom used to always play on the piano.
I stood at the top of the stairs--mesmerized--and watched her play--thinking about how blessed I am to have children who know exactly how to take care of me. If there was one song in the world that had the power to calm my heart tonight, that was it.
When I walked to the bottom of the stairs, she stopped and pointed to another piece of sheet music. "I printed the harder version for you."
Now, let me stop here for a moment to explain that I have heard my mom play Blue Moon for 36 years, and I have never once been able to play it myself. She didn't have the sheet music, and I never took the time when she was healthy to ask her to teach it to me. When I have tried to pick it out on the piano (watching videos of her and attempting to copy her hands), I've ended up totally frustrated.
But tonight when I sat down to play the music Alia had found, it was the exact same key and the exact same music my mom has been playing all these years.
I am not much of a pianist, but here's a little video in case you'd like to hear it:
I don't know how much longer my mom has, and I don't have a clear understanding of everything this process is supposed to teach me, but I am absolutely certain that the Lord is aware of our needs. And just as He is lifting me and my family during this time, I have zero doubts that He will do the same for you.