Saturday, February 11, 2012

Celebrating firsts, letting go of lasts....

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk
One paints the beginning
of a certain end.
The other, the end of a
sure beginning.
Passing Time by Maya Angelou

When you have a child, it is important to celebrate the "firsts." They are such milestones and so very important. They carve themselves in your heart and memory forever. And then there are the lasts.....the last time they will let you hug public, or at all! The last time they blow you a kiss or return your wave as enthusiastically as you give it. The last time you read them a story and feel them lean against you as if they will always need you this much. 

Sometimes they slip by unnoticed, but not because they aren't just as monumental as the others.

My wonderfully stalwart and soft-hearted best friend has realized there are other types of losses and last things when your parents have Dementia and Alzheimer's. She has had a whole year of "lasts" with her Mom and her Dad.

There was the last drive in the car, the last trip in the Motor home, the last time to pay a bill or run to the store. She has been with them through it all.

Yesterday was still another. Last time to take your Mom to the movies. First, she got lost. She said she didn't have to "go" but changed her mind and went into a stall. Since she has the habit of wandering off, Elaine circled the theatre area, and then the parking lot. A lady said, "She went that way....." Then, out loud during the movie her Mom kept saying, "This movie is weird."

And she ate one kernel of popcorn at a time and then picked her teeth....and you don't want to know what she did with what she found in her teeth. Imagine what a small child would do if they didn't know any better. Alzheimer's is ugly. And mean spirited. It has no mercy.

It was another last of many lasts. And the strain of it all makes her wonder if she is living her lasts as do you grieve what never was in the first place? Part of the sorrow is knowing how it could have been And will you know the right time to say, "when?" Can you trust someone else to give you permission to lay it down?

And all the relatives wonder why she keeps trying. Why she can't just put her in a home somewhere. Why she can't let go. Everyone else has cut them loose. After all, their parents never really invested in their lives, or the lives of their Grand kids. You don't grieve what was never there, after all. You just live your life as if they don't exist.

And the time and memories are like water rushing under a bridge.....sometimes, regrettably, not nearly fast enough. And that time is getting closer every day.

And sometimes the saddest thing we can learn from others is how not to live a life.......

And when the end does come, she will have known she did all she could with the help of her Savior who knows and sees all. She is doing what she must do, right now, one day, one moment at a time, and trusting Him to let her heart know when it is time to let go.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written,The days fashioned for me,when as yet there were none of them..........Psalm 139:16


  1. Such a very difficult path to walk.

  2. How well you empathize with your friend -- "lasts" are hard, and watching them tick off one at a time is like dragging out the sad.

    I remember the "last" meal out I had with my mom, the "last" day I had with my dad, and they are precious things -- but in her situation, these must be painful... because they are indicative of something else -- and something I didn't have. God was good to me -- my parents left "of mind" -- it was their body that left them.


  3. But for the Grace of God, where would we all be? That is what keeps running through my head, and heart.....Thank you dears for you comments. Lori


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