I wanted to share with you today from my personal experiences in dealing with the end stages of Alzheimers with my mother. I was her sole caregiver 24/7 for the last four years of her life here on earth, and she declined in a rather predictable fashion over those years. The last year was very hard, with great setbacks and horrific experiences. She finally reached the place where she could no longer eat, not even blended food or baby food, nor had the desire to eat.
So I realized that JUICES were my last resource available to me. I went to the grocery store and went down the juice aisle to purchase four separate gallons of juices, knowing full well that this would be the last taste of this world my mother would ever know. I was filled with overwhelming sadness and grief at the thought of this, that I was keeping her alive for only a short time longer by giving her what little nutrition which was available to me. I remember people walking around me, as on any given day, without much thought as to what was going around them. It has made me more aware of my environment.
I try to stay sensitive to the Spirit to see when someone may need a smile, a word of encouragement, a show of concern. It means so much when you are at the end of your rope to know that you are SEEN, and that you MATTER!!
With my mother, she did not complain, even as her body rebelled at every turn -- She maintained a wonderful sense of peace about her. She was ready to go on to her new life in Heaven, ready to be free of the shackles which held her back in th is world - even though she knew I would be left behind in her absence.I carefully picked out those juices, for they were my mother's lifeline to remaining here, and I did not want her to leave me. I am a human child, and although I knew for her sake, she should go free.
It was the most sacrificial place I have ever been in. She lost her ability finally to even swallow, so juices were of no avail. Then her descent into the place where only God can be with you began, and she went free.
For many, God does not give an opportunity to stay or to go - He just takes them Home. With my household, though, we were given the choice - Mom usually chose to remain, although her body was fading quickly. I usually chose to keep her with me, and do whatever it took to keep her intact. But when Mom became ready to go Home, she was totally unafraid, and I knew it was MY time to LET GO... When I did that, from my heart, she was gone in less than 48 hours!!
Yes, to most people, those juices were just items on a shelf to give you variety in your diet -- They did not mean anything significant. But to MOM, they were life-sustaining - To ME, they caused me to face the inevitable, that my mother was leaving me behind and I would have to find my way in this world without her. Even today, after almost 4 years, I still feel a twinge of sadness when I go down that juice aisle. Trying to say they were 'JUST JUICES' is like saying 'If you give a cup of WATER in Christ' Name, you have done it to the least of these'-- Because this felt like I was giving to Mom all that I had, all that I could do or ever hope to give her. I trust God recognizes this and remembers that I did my best, my utmost, to make Mom comfortable in those last days.
So, when you find yourself in the grocery store, of all places, stop and survey your surroundings. Look into the faces of the people who pass by you with their carts - Someone may really need encouragement, may have lost their way and feels even God has forsaken them. After all, God can meet us where we are, with whatever our need is - Even if it is on the aisle, where there are 'JUST JUICES'.
Copyright © 2000 Dorothy Womack
Tiny little hands, once touching me
In my own life when she was gone
She went to God and left behind
Her little hands wrapped round my own
Those tiny little hands supplied
Despite the pain I watched her bear
Background Copyright © 2000 Brenda S. Parris