God is in the Story

Three weeks ago, mom broke her femur. No one knew it at the nursing home, as my mother refused to get her knee x-rayed. However, her leg swelled and the pain level increased (week two). On Friday I went to visit her, the same time they scheduled to do the x-ray. Everyone assumed I was called about that, and thought that was why I was there, but I did not get a call. Anyway, the x-ray was completed, and it showed a very bad break. She was transported to the hospital and three days later had surgery to successfully repair an 88-year-old femur. But I learned much more.

Whenever I have visited my mother at the nursing home, she would be asleep, and I would have to wake her. She would be happy to see me and would carry on a conversation with me. But while she was in the hospital, I saw something different: a woman who couldn’t put together words and thoughts for the most part, but only yells and screams, refusing to eat and being combative. Though she made it out of the hospital and to the nursing home (a different one), she continued to scream out, though not as much. As I sat across from her, she asked me for Debbie’s phone number. The problem was Debbie was me, sitting with her at that very moment. It didn’t make any difference to tell her this, though I did many times. Then she asked for her phone so she could call me. Needless to say, I did not know what else to do at that point. Eventually she dropped off to sleep, but even then, she would yell out, making sounds that had no words within them.

After talking to staff I left, slowly walking to my car. As I turned on the radio a new song was playing. The chorus resonated with me:

God is in this story God is in the details 
Even in the broken parts He holds my heart, He never fails 
When I’m at my weakest I will trust in Jesus 
Always in the highs and lows The One who goes before me 
God is in this story 

The journey with my mother who appears to be in the end stages of dementia has been challenging to say the least, but it is a story nonetheless. Within the above chorus is the line God is in the details. That line is where I hang my hope. If God is in every detail of the story, that means he is aware. That means he is a God who understands the difficulty. That means when I am in a realm of not knowing what to do while at the same time not wanting to be involved, he cares, and makes it his point for me to turn on the radio at the precise time to listen to these words, because he knows how much I love lyrics to songs, and how they can touch the inner core of my emotional pain. And for that, I am thankful.

So if the storm you’re walking through Feels like it’s too much and you 
Wonder if He even cares at all Well, hold on tight to what you know 
He promised He won’t let you go Your song of healing’s written in His scars 

I was encouraged (and maybe even challenged) to continue to hold on to God’s promise of never leaving nor forsaking me and my mom, as the story of our journey continues…I hope this encourages you too.

Dear God

Dear God,

I did not want to go see my mother. I wasn’t having a good day, and I didn’t want to go in a bad mood. But after talking to You about it, I decided I might as well go, as no one visits her but me.

I went and got her favorite, which is anything fried chicken, as well as sweet tea. As I made my way to her room, she was having lunch and was almost done. But she seemed to not be in the present. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was, but eventually she started to warm up to me. I noticed how much her right hand was shaking as she attempted to grab some food. It was something I had not noticed before.

She didn’t want the chicken, but she took the sweet tea. That was a first for me, not wanting the food, as I am used to her happily accepting anything I bring to her. Today, not so much. I could tell she was down, and since I got a call yesterday that she had a fall, she probably was a bit sore from that.

Though I tried to drum up some conversation, I could tell that was not going to work and I just wanted the floor to open up so I could disappear; it seems she would not have noticed anyway. I didn’t stay long. I told her I knew since she had just eaten that she would soon be taking a nap. While that was true, I knew I said that as a way of having a reason to leave.

I said my goodbyes and left.

The closer I got to my car, the more guilty I felt. I don’t know what to do anymore, and what I do doesn’t seem to work, at least not today. God, I need help with the way I am feeling. I feel bad for not wanting to go. I know why, because I don’t see my mother anymore. I see a shell of her. But at the same time, she is still alive, still breathing. I just don’t like how I feel regarding her; I have been living with these feelings for a while. Come October, together we have been dealing with dementia for at least seven years. I didn’t know what to do at the beginning when she was determined to stay independent while at the same time knowing something was mentally wrong with her, and now it’s 2022, and I’m still dealing with how I feel.

I don’t like it. I need your help.

You said to come to you with my burdens and give them to you, so I am doing that through this letter. Yes, I am thankful for all you have done and continue to do. You are not the issue; the problem of how to deal with this is my issue, and while I accept what has and continues to happen, I don’t like the way I am dealing with this.

I need your help. Please.