|The top picture is of our grandparents, Harold and Minnie Hawley, and Mom and Dad. I like our folks are holding hands! |
The second shot is our last home in York, Nebraska:
927 York Avenue, maybe the favorite house of all to me!
Thanksgiving is almost here and with it, the nostalgia. I found I have become much more empathetic to others by watching the decline and passing of my folks. I'm still hurting over the inevitability of aging and what I saw happen with my parents, an inevitability many of you know well. This is from August of 2007.
She was always there. She was there when I was born and on my first day of school. She spanked me when I needed it and loved me when I didn't deserve it. She sewed patches on my jeans and ironed my shirts. She cooked my supper before my high school ball games and sat with me as I ate. When I took the lovely Deb Schark to the York High School Sports Banquet, she went to the florist with me and helped me select orchids. She knew when I was messing up and she worried when I got hurt in sports. She forgave me when I hurt her feelings and drove six hours through a monsoon when I had hernia surgery. She taught me how to be content with what I had and she let me lick the beaters when she made frosting. I watched her diligently grade papers at night, little realizing I would follow her footsteps into the teaching profession. She came to my college and spoke to the girls about what makes families tick. She told me stories about her relatives in Arkansas and made me feel like I was there. I watched her partner with my dad as they raised three biological and two foster kids through lean times and better times. And then, she forgot. Her mind has been left with little capacity to maneuver in a world that increasingly closed in on her. She doesn't know me but I know her. I won't forget.
We put Mom in a nursing home yesterday in St. Louis. I should say Dave did as the rest of us are currently in Kansas, Montana, Arizona, and Texas. I'm glad it was Dave. I don't know how I would have handled it. He went back today and decorated her room with some of her possessions to make it more like home. She'll only be there for a few months until we can get both Mom and Dad moved to Wichita but she'll never sleep in her own bed again. Their house is empty until Dad has recovered from his stroke sufficiently to leave the hospital. I pray the workers in the West County Care Center treat her with the dignity that she- and all the other residents whose children and grandchildren grieve with the separation- deserve.
I passed an elderly woman who lives in my apartment complex this morning as I was doing laundry. When we talk, she is invariably upset with her son. He doesn't invite her to his home much and she despises his wife. Today, he was late to take her to the store and she was angry. I felt sorry for both of them. Proverbs 23:22 gives guidelines for relations between parents and their offspring:
"Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old."
I never thought they would get old. I'm lucky, though. Mom's mom died when she was only fifty-five so Mom never got to watch my grandmother age. It's been hard but it's been a privilege. Not everyone is so blessed.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty- they merely move it from their faces into their hearts."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org