On Mom’s time

My Mom has a rare condition where she has a naturally grown shunt in her liver. The doctor said she was born with it. But over time and at her senior age, her body is beginning to work against it. This means her ammonia levels are always high. Now after, four years of pretty much the same treatment, the medicine (at times) is not enough.

This year, my sister and I, see her struggling more. There is a fine line on whether her behavior is all due to the ammonia or could be mental issues like a decline in her cognitive skills.

On a recent trip, my mom, sister, and I shared, she showed signs that concerned us. Signs that we were thinking could be dementia. Thanks to God on our return from trip, Mom had an appointment lined up with her neurologist. At this time, after an MRI, it has been ruled out.

Now that we know her condition is all due to the ammonia, we’ve been told to keep an eye on her different than before. When she hits those high levels, she’s unaware it’s happening. Life has changed once again. My sister and I no longer feel comfortable in leaving her alone. We also know the control we somewhat had in our day with her has taken another twist. Days, like I’m about to describe, made time stop.

First let me rewind a bit and describe our typical day. We would do some routine errands like going to Walmart. What typically would take 30 minutes would run into an hour or so. Trying to get her to do what she needed quicker time was my aim. I would lose my patience since it would take a while for her to decide what she was looking for or her physical movement would slow her. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about helping her do what she wanted or needed to do, it’s just that I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture.

Now turning to this more recent outing, we had already been in the store for some time. Her focus was off as she would drift in thought of why she was there. We were coming down a main aisle and approached a display of artificial flowers. These were no where on her list, but she wanted to suddenly get some for her room. As I see her reaching to grab some, it just hit me. The distance from me to her changed. I felt a pull in my heart. The conviction came in strong. That I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. That these flowers were the only thing that mattered. And my whole vision by the grace of God showed me its importance.

I don’t care anymore. I don’t care how long it takes to do routine things with my mom. I don’t care that she asks me the same questions every time we go there or anywhere. “Should I buy this?” “Should I take my sweater?” “Do you think it’s cold in there?” “Have you checked the mail?”

I’m grateful too my sister and I are honest with her with this all. Explaining what the doctor found and what we’re seeing in her. She acknowledged she’s glad too even though we know she may not fully comprehend what it means.

My prayer now to Our Lord is that He will grace her with better health and that her condition does not get worse. That my family and I can be attentive to make her live the rest of her life with comfort and peace. And if my life, my sister’s life, family’s life is just to respond to her – that we push ours aside for her well being, then we do. I know we just want her to be cared for and safe.

I thank my husband and thank God a million times more because He knew how much I would need Ruben. Not just for the sake of my soul, but for this time in my life. My mom too.

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” – John 21:18

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Help us Lord! Help us draw nearer to you. +++

Can I get a witness?!

Today’s scripture readings, specifically:

I am writing this, my children, to stop your sinning; but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s. We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, “I know him”, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. – 1 John 2:1-5

Fr. John’s homily emphasized how we are called to be witnesses of Christ and should always demonstrate this in our lives, speech, home, dress, relationships, work, etc.

While I was getting ready for Mass this morning, I had much heaviness on my heart. I had been recounting my actions from earlier in the week and felt remorseful/beat down. Angry with myself that I didn’t witness recently in the way I should have to people I truly care about. It was eating me up because I was looking for opportunities prior to spending time with these women and I let them go.

When this scripture passage was read today, it struck me and caught me in tears. Because it tells me that I compromised myself, fell in temptation, gossiped, and lost my union with God. It tells me I did not stay in God’s goodness so that a witness would be seen from me instead of my flesh.

I was wrestling in Mass with the thought that I thought I was more rooted in my faith and the other hand grateful this lesson has given me a knock down.

This last occurrence was nothing new. I often find myself in these situations where others judge me because I don’t carry on with them or joke or share sarcasm and so I act by chipping in other ways into the conversation which is just plain wrong. I need to be stronger than this and stay rooted.

I also know straight up it’s wrong to talk about others, but I get confused when I’m sharing about someone whose done something to me and so I speak about it which ends up being a witch hunt fest about the person, which isn’t what I intended it to be.

These are opportunities to witness that I don’t take when they have come. And I know better every time when they happen. It’s not to say that I’m batting zero, it’s just that when I commit the offense it feels like the biggest failure.

Have you wrestled with the same repeated offense? Do you have a similar situation where you are not showing strength?

Some may say “you’re coming down hard on yourself,”, “God is merciful!”

Yes, He is, but I’m thankful for the examination and contrition. To look at it and spend time reviewing what is wrong with it. And finally, not being weak because I feel it’s just easier to join in instead of saying NO.

 

I’m not perfect! I don’t pretend my life with Christ hits all the right buttons. I’m surrounded by different women who live their faith in multiple ways. We are not all like minded. The majority of women in my life are divorced or have never been married. In my opinion, I say it is easier to carry on with other women who don’t have bitter life struggles. In a way, I want to say faith hasn’t been tested in those circles like those in my life who have been cheated on, children addicted to drugs, financial strain, faithless outlooks. The walk in a sense, has not been bouquets of flowers, Polaroid snapshots, and walks in wheat fields. Does that sound harsh? I’m just trying to paint an image.

In my world, I have to pray and be present with my Lord so that those rosy escapades I do know about, because God’s grace has shown me this over and over, can be seen in my witness with those who are still living among the thorns and thistles. That one day a simple witness from me will encourage another to see Our Lord wants them to also receive a fragrant bouquet from their trials and offer it up to His glory.

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Thank you Lord for the remorse I experienced, to change it into virtue. To be given strength by the Holy Spirit and truly desire to stay away from failing to witness.+++