Only Heaven

I like to sing hymns to my babies at night: they make nice lullabies, and they’re a good shot in the arm for an exhausted mama.  Tonight I was singing “…and I will raise you up, and I will raise you up, and I will raise you up on the last day,” and I thought sure–on the very last possible day.  I’m not trying to be funny here.  Sometimes it feels like God waits until the last minute.

My mother’s Alzheimer’s is progressing terrifyingly fast, and every morning she suffers through an attack of spiritual doubt and misery.  This morning she told me “everyone keeps talking about mercy…all about mercy….”  She couldn’t finish her sentence, but I thought I caught the implication: where’s the mercy for me?  I didn’t know what to tell her.  I believe in God’s mercy on the last day, but I don’t know why, for some people, He doesn’t send it earlier.  Where is the mercy in my brilliant, wise, eloquent mother spending the last ten years of her life in confusion and humiliation?

I know I’m missing something here.  I know–I believe–that a life of hardship can have more joy and peace than just the promise of heaven.  But I don’t see it right now.

Sometimes a crumb falls
from the tables of joy,
sometimes a bone
is flung.

To some people
love is given,
to others
only heaven

–“Luck” by Langston Hughes

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8 thoughts on “Only Heaven

  1. My wise friend had moment with her aunt who was near death that I often remember. The aunt was crying over not remembering something and feeling like a burden. My friend told her,”it’s ok, I will remember for you. I know who you are and that is enough. ” it doesn’t make hard times easier for me and my parents, but it helps me step back a little and gain perspective. Somehow I can feel Jesus holding on to me in those moments. I truly hope He sends you some relief soon.

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  2. Various members of my family have gone through dementia, and I am keenly interested in learning how to cope, for my own sake as well as for my family. I follow a weekly column in the local paper, written by a woman whose mother is suffering with Alzheimer’s. She said something this week that may help (I hope!). She is trying to find ways to help her mother be comfortable and content as she is, and she (the daughter) is trying to NOT compare this to how she (the mother) used to be. They can enjoy more moments this way, and she (daughter) is less inclined to beat herself up emotionally when days don’t go to plan. Also, she is an active member of a dementia support group. If there is one near you, I would highly recommend it.

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    • Thank you! I’m also working on just taking it a day at a time and thinking “what will cheer her up today? What will keep her happily occupied right now? Distracts you from thinking about the future as well as the past.

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