Thursday, May 04, 2017

Losing Mom

The first of April my siblings and I made the decision to put my mother in a care center.  Her care was getting beyond me.  Her dementia had progressed greatly in the past few months, and there were times I wondered just how much she was aware of her surroundings.  Usually she would respond to me, and she was still "there".  But there were a couple of times that she wasn't, and didn't respond.  Putting her in a care center was EXTREMELY difficult.  We all felt so much guilt.  Some people asked if one of my siblings could take her for awhile.  Yes, theoretically they could have, but honestly, if her care was getting beyond me, it was also getting beyond them.  The care center people assured us we had made the right decision, and felt that she was one of the people who needed a care center most.

As I dealt with the guilt of putting her in the care center, one day I had a thought that really helped me.  It occurred to me that those feelings of guilt and feeling bad for my mother were actually feelings that are pleasing to God.  Feeling empathy, and pain for another person are godly feelings.  I ran across a scripture while reading the Book of Mormon:

Jacob 2:And also it grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God;

How would God feel if we didn't care about putting our mother in a care center?  If we had no regret at all, what would that say about us as children? My thinking is that feelings of empathy and concern are godly feelings and even though they might be painful, we should feel blessed to have the ability to feel them.

After three weeks of being in the care center, a great blessing happened in that my mother passed away.  Her dementia had progressed to the point that she was having difficulty swallowing.  Evidently, she aspirated something.  The care center called my sister, who lives 30 minutes away.  But my mother died before she could get there.  In my religious beliefs, and from experiences of family members who have died, I believe that loved ones come to "get" a person when they die.  I have no doubt my father came to get my mother's spirit.  Did she die alone?  Absolutely not.  And not to mention that my mother had done a lot of geneology and had come to know many ancestors who died before she was even born.  I'm sure a fair few of them were there as well to welcome her to the world of spirits.

As for me, I feel that because of her dementia, I lost my mother several years ago.  The person I cared for was not the person I have known all my life.  Our family has been grieving for years, so her death is just a release.  I feel relieved for her, that she doesn't have to live with a demented mind, and live in an unfamiliar care center.  And I feel relief for my family who no longer have to worry about her and wonder if she is okay.  We know she is with my father, her parents and siblings, and a daughter that only lived a short time whom she never met.  She lived a great life, and now can celebrate in heaven. 


Joanne said...

Well said. I'm still sorry for your loss. I admire your persistence and kindness in caring for her. It still hurts and you will miss her as you have been missing her real personality for the past few years. We sure enjoyed knowing her, even in her recent decline. See you at the funeral tomorrow.


Becky said...

What beautiful thoughts. It won't be your mother's, but I will be attending a funeral (someone in our ward) this week, and I'll be thinking of you. Dealing with death is hard, but it's also nice to know she's much happier now. Wishing you peace and comfort.

Inklings said...

I feel exactly the same as you do and I know Mom has finally found those people whom she has diligently been searching for the last 4 years. We pretty much lost our mother 4 years ago. Thank you and Marlene for taking care of her like you did. I hope Heaven rains blessings on you both.