I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I don't know most of you personally, but for those who do comment here on this blog, I feel such a close kinship with you.
In fact, I keep feeling the desire to write here more often--just so I will have the chance to interact with you and learn from your wisdom.
It's amazing how we can gather together online, even when we're living our separate lives in different places around the world. This is a true miracle to me.
Right now I'm in the middle of our family's bustling summer activities.
We got back a couple of hours ago from a pool day with some friends, I just completed some computer work, and I'm heading downstairs in a few minutes to make snacks for my children and tidy the kitchen a bit.
But my heart has been full these past couple of weeks as I've been thinking about the book I need to write this year.
And since everything is quiet right now and the impression to type it here is coming strong, I decided I better pay attention to these feelings.
So here we go...the first draft of the introduction to my book:
My mom is currently in the last stages of Alzheimer's. It started a few years ago when she began to forget minor details--like where she put her phone or who had come to visit her that day. Then she started forgetting major things, like how to drive herself home or which bank held all the money she and my dad had saved.
I still remember the first day she couldn't recall the names of all her children--because my name was one that she'd forgotten. And now, as I write, she is in bed full time, with hospice care coming in three days a week because her legs have forgotten how to stand.
With millions of people suffering from Alzheimer's, our situation isn't entirely unique, but I have felt a consistent impression to write this book, and I'd like to explain the "why" a little bit more.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for my Power of Moms website called "Your Children Want YOU!" That article, which was read by more than two million people, included the first public mention of my mom's memory loss (we didn't know then that it was Alzheimer's).
Since that time, as I have continued to write about our family's experiences and the powerful lessons my mom taught me, I've discovered that the story of her life isn't something I can keep to myself. People who have similar feelings of adoration for their mothers seem to want someone to put words to what they feel. And people who have painful memories of their mothers want to know how they can break the cycle in their own families. (These are brave, beautiful souls.)
So an idea came to me to write a follow-up book--this book--and share the stories that illustrate how my mom exemplified deliberate motherhood and how I am trying so hard to be like her.
As my mom's health slowly declined, I decided to write a chapter at a time and read it to her during my weekly visits.
But as her decline became more rapid, I stopped writing. I felt like I didn't have time and that maybe I should wait until she goes back to God. And then I can write.
But on a recent visit to my mother's bedside, the instructions came clearly:
April, you need to make this record. There is time for you to write. It will be a gift for you to read it to her. And even though she may appear not to know what you are reading, she will know. And she will feel the love you have for her. And she will see clearly that her work in this life has been worth it.
So I am writing--imperfectly at best--because I don't think it is possible to adequately capture the immense love I feel for my mother and for her lasting influence on my life.
But I do what I feel the Lord wants me to do, and I hope through this process, these stories that are so close to my heart will be helpful to you, as well.