2018 was a very difficult year for our family. The twists and turns were both surprising and at some times scary. The year started out with promise and optimism, but by February, things began to change.
When you are young you take for granted that things will always stay the same. But as you get older, things like your health become more important. February of 2018 began a year of health challenges for me. Thankfully, after months of working with a doctor, I am on the road to recovery, however, it has been a long, slow journey.
In April of 2018, my mother in law also began having health challenges. She was 84 years old and her body was simply wearing out. After nearly two weeks in the hospital, she went home and was under the care of visiting nurses. My, husband, her only child, was now in charge of helping her navigate her through the health system. This proved to be a challenge. In the world we live in, the sick and aging don’t seem to be very important and we had to always be one step ahead just to get her proper care. I was in awe of the character of my husband as he fought almost daily to make sure her basic needs were met.
She continued to decline with more and more health issues compounding. By September she was back in the hospital and it was clear she was not going to be able to go back home. She was being sent to Hospice.
The Hospice staff and facility were a tremendous blessing to us. We promised her she would not be alone and so one of us was there around the clock for the next 18 days. It was exhausting but at the same time amazing.
What a gift to be with someone who knows the Lord at the end of their life. She was able to communicate up until 18 hours before she passed. She had made some decisions in the past that changed the course of our relationship 25 years ago. She was able to make peace with all of us. It was a sweet and beautiful thing!
The amazing thing is we actually watched as her body, mind and spirit as they separated. Her circulation was very poor and we saw that the life is truly in the blood as her extremities began to decay.
Next was her mind. She remembered things, people and places as she seemed to go back in time. She could not do anything for herself, however her mind was so sharp and she never lost her sense of humor. She was able to communicate up until the day before she died.
At the end she struggled as her spirit left her body. The last few hours were difficult to watch, but her son had the privilege to be there when she passed into eternity.
The lessons we learned through this experience were sometimes very difficult, yet the Lord has taught us so much about faith and grace as we walked through it. I can now look back and be grateful for this difficult year. The Lord used it to bring us together and teach us what is really important in this life…the true meaning of love.