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Monday, January 6, 2014

When You Are Bogged Down With Ugly, Remember the Beautiful

It was a weekend of firsts. Saturday I walked into my parents home to find my Daddy with his hands completely full of Mom. Both my parents are 78 years old and Daddy is the energizer bunny. By 8 a.m., he has had 8 cups of coffee. His energy reminds me so much of my oldest son’s energy. Even when they are sitting perfectly still, there is an aura of energy that penetrates from the core of their being. Maybe I should drink 8 cups of coffee before 8 a.m... I rushed into Mom’s room to help Dad move her. He told me what a rough night it had been. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him he would have no more rough nights alone. Saturday I packed my bags, bid my dogs’ good bye and moved around the corner into my parent’s house.  Leaving home was harder than I expected, I suppose it brought the magnitude of the situation closer to home…. Literally. I had done so well up to that point. I’ve had my melting moments, but for the most part I’ve “maintained” a trick one of my good friends taught me. Saturday night I sobbed as I packed my car. I sobbed for Mom, I sobbed for Dad, and I sobbed for myself. We agreed the sleeping schedule would be for me to sleep with Mom on the nights I don’t have to go to work the next day, with Daddy taking the nights I do have to work. I’m in the bedroom next to her so a quick knock will bring help to whoever has night duty. My brother got to visit Saturday. It was so sweet watching him lie with her tell her how much he loved her. She enjoyed the visit and slept well Saturday night. Sunday morning Dad and I were able to get her up and to the table for two bites of breakfast. When we got her back to bed she was exhausted and began to have the worst pain she has had since the night of the surgery. We finally got her pain under control and she slept all day and through most of the night.  Dad slept with her last night and they were both awake this morning while I got ready for work. I primped in the mirror hanging on her door so we could chat. Finally I was dressed, had my high heel boots on and was ready to head out the door when I heard Dad’s call for help….. Duty was calling (both at work and at home) but my first priority was lying on the bed. Dad and I have become like a well trained ice skating couple. It’s amazing how quickly you learn tricks of the trade when push comes to shove. Every day we learn a new trick to make the flow a little easier and every day things change which means we keep learning new tricks. I’m the one in charge of getting Mom up off the bed. Dad has a bad back, so I put my arms under moms and tell her to hug tight, then on the count of three I lift and she helps as much as she can. Murphy’s Law indicates that being straight up 8, this wasn’t going to be a quick change and it certainly wasn’t. As I held Mom like a baby, patting her back and trying to make her laugh, Dad did the dirty business. I thought to myself…. “I’ve been here before, except the ones I held in my arms then, was much smaller and didn’t have the sense of humor Mom still has.”  Finally everything was as it should be and as Dad tidied up the room I tucked Mom back in bed. I told her I’d see her for a few minutes on my lunch hour and kissed her goodbye. I grabbed my purse and headed for the door when I noticed someone through the frosted glass in the door, trying to get in. I opened the door and barely recognized one of my best friends bundled up in a hoodie holding me a cup of coffee through the crack in the door. Before I had a chance to say hi, she put the coffee in my hand and said… “When you’re bogged down in ugly, remember the beautiful.” We walked to the car, I was a little so shocked at the sweet gesture, I couldn’t say anything except thanks and I love you. She repeated it again and then said…. “I’m going to keep reminding you of the beautiful things while you’re going through this.” I smiled through the tears, got in my car with my perfect cup of coffee, just the way I like it and headed to work. Who knew a perfect cup of coffee could be so beautiful during the most difficult of times?  It’s not the big and flashy acts of love or eloquent words wisdom that give me strength; It’s the tiniest act, the slightest notion that someone understands that the journey I’m on cannot be fixed or changed, but can be made bearable by the knowledge that there are better days ahead. The skies will not remain dark forever… Some day soon the clouds will break and the sun (Son) will shine again. Until then, I’m thankful for the prayers of others, encouraging words and a perfect cup of coffee. Life is good, friends are better.

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