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A sharp pain echoes through my heart

Before the tears begin to fall.

And in the darkness of my room

I cry.

For everything that’s ever hurt me-

And all the things that ever will,

Alone in the blackness-

I cry.

And the tears become sobs

And the sobs become screams

And the screams become prayers-

That I cry.

Are Your arms wide enough-

Is Your love strong enough-

To comfort this child

When I cry?

Let me hear Your gentle words

Let me feel Your presence here.

Let me know I’m not alone-

As I cry.

But You are strangely silent

And I feel no arms around me

As I call out Your name

And I cry.

I wail until my heart is empty-

Till crystal pain no longer flows.

And fall asleep among the teardrops-

That I cried.

Your angels sang a lullaby-

Your gift of tears- a sweet release,

And You were with me all the while

I cried.            

Lonnette Harrell

Last night I cried, because I thought about my mother, as I often do. I know she must be sinking farther and farther into dementia, and I can’t do anything about it. I love her and miss her, and I wish things had ended differently. (But I guess she made her choice also.) I wish I could comfort her, in that far-away place she now dwells. How can you be angry with someone who is now probably like a confused child?

I cry because I remember her fear of dementia, and her fear of having to live that way. I cry because I tried so hard to care for her and please her, and she called me hateful names (while she was still in her right mind.) I cry because I’ve always loved her, and I just wanted her to love me back.

I cry because I wish that I could soothe her fears, and I can’t. All of this is progressing so rapidly, and I could see it plainly awhile back. We were told that it would not get better. I knew that her care needs were more than I could handle anymore, and I was already 3 1/2 years into total exhaustion, and sick myself. There should be no shame in saying that I could not continue on as I was. I simply could not. I knew that I was going to die.  But my brother didn’t get it. Now maybe he will.

How frightening it must be, to be trapped in your very physically ill body, losing your mind. It seems like some kind of cruel nightmare, that has no ending. She was so afraid of becoming like the people we saw in the halls of the nursing home (where she was for 5 1/2 months of rehab.) I always reassured her, and tried to help her through her confusion, and prayed that it would pass. It really accelerated after her hip surgery. She was never really the same after that, and we were warned by the Ortho doctor that many elderly people are affected that way by the anesthesia.

And now I can’t get to her. She might as well be in a castle with a drawbridge and a moat, instead of a small house in a small town with my angry brother, and a caregiver. She’s isolated. She probably wouldn’t want to see me anyway.

And I could not go back without becoming totally involved in her care, and I am not physically able to do that anymore. I have been very sick lately, and I just can no longer take the stress of her care, or of her emotional treatment of me. 

That is why she was so much better off in the Assisted Living, where she could get socialization, food she loved, and medical assistance and supervision.  There was a Memory Care Unit there as well, if she needed it later on. But my brother was determined to bring her home, and now he is probably overwhelmed as well. (You cannot possibly know what it is like to care for all her needs until you’ve done it. I could not keep up anymore, and the stress of it all was killing me.) I needed help desperately.

I can only reach her through my prayers. I ask God to comfort her, and strengthen her. I ask Him to take care of her, as I no longer can. I ask Him to soften her heart towards me, and let her memories be of our happy times together (and there were quite a few, in spite of our problems.) I ask God to tell her I love her.

But when I can’t take the pain in my heart anymore, I cry…


How much can a heart break until it can’t break anymore? How much sorrow can a person endure until they are numb? Apparently, I haven’t reached that place yet, as I am still crying. I have been strong beyond my ability. (Mainly because it wasn’t my ability, but the Lord’s, that has brought me this far.) Can I trust Him to carry me further still?

There have been no mountaintop experiences in my life for a long time-just valleys that seem to never end. They say that it’s in the valleys that you develop character. (Whoever they are.) I wonder how much pain they have survived, to know such a thing, though I do believe it’s true.  I must be full of character by now, and I’m so ready to cry “uncle.” (It’s an expression for saying “I give up–enough’s enough.”)

But how much is enough? How hot does the fire get, before you run screaming out of it (or worse, are consumed by it?) How lonely do you have to feel, before someone hugs you tightly and says, “It will be okay.”  (Even if you know it won’t.) How invisible (in your pain) do you have to become, before you completely disappear?

Tonight there is another break in my heart, or perhaps it has shattered like broken glass, in a million pieces. (But I suspect there is still more to break.)

I went to the nursing home this evening, and I found my mom sitting on her bed, eating her dinner. She looked very exhausted and tired. There was a strong odor of urine in the room, though I didn’t mention it.

I had tried to call her all day the day before, but had not been able to reach her. I was not able to visit yesterday, as I was not feeling well.  And I had tried all day today as well. (I go at least every other day. Sometimes every day, when I am able.) After calling and calling, I realized that she could no longer figure out how to answer the phone. My brother had left a cell phone for her, and had painted green where the “answer” button was, and red where the “hang up” button was, but the paint or marker had worn off.  So now, she would fumble with the buttons, completely frustrated, trying to answer, with no success. And I would begin to worry when I couldn’t reach her.

This nursing home does not have a phone by the bed, so if you want to reach the outside world, or talk to your loved one, you have to have a cell phone. Cell phones are extremely difficult for the elderly, (and even sometimes for the not so elderly.)

(I have to back up a little to tell the story.) My mom had a fabulous roommate until Saturday. Sophie went home on Saturday morning. It was a very sad time for her and my mom, as they had grown to love each other. They were allies against the nursing home world, and together they could overcome almost every obstacle or trauma. Truly it was a lovely friendship–one made in heaven. On the day she left, my mom requested that Sophie play her German music one more time. My mom had become very fond of it.

Sophie always provided atmosphere in the room. On certain nights, you would think you were in a 5-Star Hotel. Sophie even had a fish, swimming in a serene aquarium, and at night before bedtime, she would dim the lights and play beautiful classical music, or her German songs. (She was from Germany, and had a lovely accent.) It was a charming atmosphere for a nursing home room, while Sophie was there.

Just outside the window, Sophie’s daughters would fill the feeders with bird seed, and the birds would quickly eat all of it in a couple of days. It kept my mom and Sophie entertained, watching the birds that flew in daily.

On the same day that Sophie left, Addie arrived. Addie is a large, very confused, and aggressive woman. It was a total culture shock after sweet, precious soft-spoken Sophie. Addie immediately wanted the blinds closed. She could not figure out why she was there, and she cursed under her breath every moment. When I would try to visit my mom, I would often pull the curtain, so that we could talk in peace, but Addie would pull it back abruptly, without warning. She ordered me around, and I did numerous tasks for her, and she kept asking where the remote for the TV was. Sadly, I had to tell her, that they had said that the maintenance man would bring one–but he never did. Not in weeks. (This has really been hard on my mom, who has a broken hip, and can’t get out of bed to change the channel.) Since her eyesight has grown worse, it doesn’t leave anything for her to do, but lie in bed. She tries to read the paper, or a magazine now and then, but she can’t see well enough anymore, to read for very long.

Addie must have asked 20 times in 30 minutes, about the remote control. Then she wanted to know a million other things…over, and over, and over again. I was nearly crazy, so I know my mom was. She has to live with this 24/7. Even in the night, Addie will curse and say, “I can’t wait to get out of this hell hole. Or, “Oh, God.” (ETC.)

My mom had broken her right foot and her left leg, and had received therapy, and was about to go home, when she fell one night, on her way to the bathroom, and broke her hip. Now, after a painful surgery, she is once again on another regimen of physical therapy, and this time it is very painful, and even more difficult. In order to get through it, she has to have her rest.

Day after day, we all answered Addie’s questions, even though we grew increasingly more frustrated.  Finally last Sunday, we decided to complain. My favorite nurse (a male) was filling in on my mom’s hall on Sunday afternoon. He usually works on the other hall. When I arrived, much to my surprise, my mom was in her wheelchair, putting on lipstick (something she has not done in weeks), preparing to go to complain with us. (I thought this was very brave.)

I told the nurse very politely, that the lady was driving my mom crazy, and that I felt she wasn’t getting any rest. He said that he would submit a complaint, and for me to check back. On Wednesday, I went back and asked him if he’d heard anything, and he said that they would never tell him anything, bu that they would contact us. I told him that I had not heard a word.

The CNA, who often works with my mom, agreed that Addie was driving everyone crazy, and said that my mom had finally gotten her told a few times. (I guess in her frustration, she couldn’t take anymore.) The male nurse said that he and the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) would file another complaint. He then told me to check with a nurse (I’ll leave out her name to protect the innocent) who would be working on Friday from 2 p.m. through the entire night. He indicated that if I complained again to her, that should take care of it.

So that brings us back to this evening (Friday.) As I said, I walked in and my mom was sitting on the side of the bed, finishing her dinner. She told me that Addie had put on her (my mom’s) clothes, had wet them, and put them in a bag in her wheelchair. (So that explained the horrible smell when I walked in.) My nose led me to the bag.

By this time, I’d had it! I was glad that we had come to complain again. This was just too much.  (Addie was in the dining hall at this time.) When the nurse came in, we explained what had transpired all through the week, as well as what I had just found.  

She said, “You mean that Addie is putting on your mom’s clothes, and then wetting them?” I answered, “That’s what she said, and you can smell the urine.” She agreed, and offered to wash the clothes, as I cleaned my mom’s wheelchair, and Rob gathered up the rest of her clothes to take home and wash. (But none of us could understand how Addie could possibly fit in my mom’s clothes.)

The nurse left the room, and I put away some gowns and clothes that I had brought for my mom. I finished cleaning her wheelchair with antibacterial wipes, and also cleaned her bedside tray. About this time, the nurse returned and asked to see me outside.

She and the CNA were waiting by the entrance, and the CNA proceeded to tell me that my mom had wet the clothes. (This took a moment to process.) “I’m so sorry”, I apologized. “I believed what my mom told me, as she is not one to lie, and she seemed so sure about what had happened.”

We still agreed, however, that regardless of who wet the clothes, Addie was still a problem, and the nurse agreed to file another complaint.

The CNA told me that my mom was getting worse mentally. She said, “She’s in and out.” I told her and the nurse, that my mom had been a brilliant woman all her life, and had lived completely independently until now. I assured them that while she did have a little confusion and some minor temporary memory problems now and then, that she had never experienced the kind of confusion she was now experiencing, after the surgery. I also told them that for the earlier part of this week, she seemed completely clear to me, except for one or two remarks that made no sense.

They said that they would be having her evaluated by the psychiatrist on Wednesday. I asked if I would be told what the evaluation was, and the nurse said that I should call the unit nurse early Wednesday morning, (early being before 7:00 a.m. when the psychiatrist would come) and tell her I would like to speak with the doctor. (More runaround probably. I won’t hold my breath, that I will actually learn anything, but we’ll see.)

Rob and I had been on our way to dinner, on this Friday evening, but things had gotten so complicated that we weren’t able to go. When I got back into my mom’s room, she asked if she could get in her wheelchair, so that we could go for a little walk. (I could not say no–dinner or no dinner for us. I just could not leave her right now.) So I said that would be fine, and called for the CNA to transfer her to the wheelchair, as she can’t stand right now, and it is a tedious process of moving her legs and body in a certain way, to get into the chair.

I went out into the hallway to wait. I found a corner nook, sat down with Rob, and began to cry. It was just too much. I was still trying to process what I had just been told, and the sadness of it all.  The tears were streaming down my face so much, that I had to go to a nearby restroom and get some tissue.

In a few minutes, my mom was wheeled out into the hall, and I tried to hide my tears, though she noticed I was sniffling, and asked if I had a cold.  (I do–a 3 week cold, so that was no lie.)

I apologized to Rob about dinner, and asked if he wanted to go eat alone, or do some errands. He said he would call his mom, while we walked. (His mom is in Assisted Living in Central Florida.)

So Betty and I escaped (at least for a moment.) I took her through the double doors that led to the atrium, where the privileged lived. It was a large open area in the Senior Living residence area. We had visited it before, to see how the “other half” lived. What a contrast between the nursing home, that was tucked away in the back of the building, and the affluence of those who lived in the retirement apartments.

We had a very good time. I told her that we were going to run away. We laughed about that, and wished we could. An elderly woman waved to us from her window that overlooked the atrium, and we waved back. We looked at the bowling area, the pool table, the puzzle area (where 3 dimensional castles had been built, as well as what appeared to be the London Bridge.) We wheeled right up to the fancy dining hall, and then right into it. The lights were dimmed for the evening, and there was only one worker in the back, who seemed to ignore us.

“Wouldn’t you like to eat in a place like this every night?”, my mom asked. (It was a far cry from the nursing home residents’ dining area.)

Then we found the pool. I had always smelled chlorine in the atrium, but never saw a pool. Finally, I reasoned that perhaps they didn’t have one, since the whole place was senior citizens, and maybe it would not be safe. But we found it, just off the dining hall. It was a very small rectangular shaped pool for swimming laps, or doing aquacize.

The sun was still up, so I wheeled my mom outside into the fresh air–something she has not experienced much of since mid June. We walked completely around the building, a very nice long distance, and then back into the front entrance of the apartments. Sadly, we made our way back to her room, but we were happy with the nice walk we’d had, and I made a mental note that I could take her to the atrium sometimes, and we could have our snack there. (I don’t think the people at the retirement apartments would care, and it would be a nice change of scene.)

Once back in the room, she wanted a soda and some crackers, so we sat together at the foot of her bed, and ate peanut butter and cheese crackers. I bring lots of snacks for her, as she has lost 30 pounds since coming to the nursing home (and she is always giving them away to her favorite helpers.) Hey, it doesn’t hurt to bribe the best ones.

So finally, at 8:45 p.m. we said good night, and I kissed her goodbye.

Rob and I decided to go ahead and eat out, and enjoyed a nice dinner (at 9:00 p.m.) and then on the way home, my cell phone rang. (I believe she said it was the nursing home Director Of Nursing.) She was very brash, harsh, and overbearing. She said, “My nurse told me you were upset.” I explained to her that I was no longer upset, but that we did have a problem with my mom’s roommate. She told me that there were only 2 “female beds” available, and they expected a lady to return from the hospital to one, and that the other one was in a room with a lady that sometimes “cried out.” I tried to explain to her that we didn’t want to move my mom, as she had the best room in the nursing home, with a view of the golf course, and lots of bird feeders outside her window. (She said that she could not move the other lady without her family’s permission. And that she (Addie) had previously been in the room with the lady that called out, and her (Addie’s) family had asked for her to be moved.)

At a complete loss, I asked her to please not move my mom to either of those rooms, as she was happy with her bed by the window, (it was just that the other lady was driving her crazy.) This woman was not compassionate or kind. She would not let me say a word, and I finally gave up in total exasperation, (deciding that maybe the devil we knew, was better than the one we didn’t know.)

I asked if Addie was due to go home anytime soon, and she said perhaps in a week. So that was that. I slammed my cell phone shut. So this was the culmination of all those complaints, trying to follow nursing home protocol. I was in the van, and the tears began to fall again. Tonight I was finding the world just too cruel, and even though I have been extemely strong through all this, there are those days when it’s just too hard. And so I cry, and for a moment, I let myself experience the horrible reality that has become my life. (And most importantly, my mom’s life.) And then I dry my tears, bandage my breaking heart, and go on, afraid to even think about more than the next few hours…

No doubt about it, for lots of reasons the stress is beginning to show. Once again it is midnight, and I have only been home a little while. It was a very busy day again, and I am exhausted. I feel abandoned in a way, trying to face something that is far too overwhelming. There are others around me, but they are in the distance. I am the one who deals with the everyday drudgery of hospital business. Bringing gowns, air freshener, robes, bedroom shoes, and all the personal items a human being needs to survive away from home. I slept late today, though I was plagued with reflux from eating too late last night.

Still, I woke up exhausted. I feel guilty no matter how much I do, or how much I’m there for her. My house is falling down around me. Clothes are not getting folded, as I pass through the swinging doors of what used to be home. I simply grab towels from the laundry basket, and socks from my suitcase that never got unpacked from Rob’s recent business trip. I trip over things trying to check my email. Home is a place where I sleep, bathe, and dress. That’s all it is anymore.

Once Rob’s fever went away, he resumed his workaholic schedule, and after he helped me get Betty squared away in the hospital, I’ve seen very little of him. He went to the mission today to talk with some of the guys that were at the Barn ministry where we sang, and he gave his testimony last week. (All I could think was how much more I needed him than they did. Selfish I know, but I feel totally overwhelmed.)

I did two things today that helped me keep my sanity. It threw my whole schedule off, and I was behind the rest of the day, but I really didn’t care. One was I actually went into a Taco Bell and sat down quietly, and ate. (I cannot remember the last time that I sat down to eat.) The second thing I did was walk around a TJ Maxx for a few minutes. I had this desire to do somethinganything that seemed, well…remotely normal. But even in there I was purchasing hospital related items-another suitcase to roll her clean clothes, dirty clothes, and belongings back and forth, and a warm, soft throw blanket for her to use in the nursing home because she is often very cold.

Earlier in the day I had stopped by my indoor flea market and collectibles booth, which I had not visited since last Monday, to vacuum the rug, and spruce things up a bit. Lots of people come through, and things get really out of place in a week’s time. I shared war stories with another lady about the care of our moms. She said that something I had said to her on Monday helped her get through the week, and she gave me a hug. I told her what had happened to my mom-the broken right foot, and the broken left leg.

After the flea market, Taco Bell, and TJ Maxx, I headed to my mom’s house to get all the things on the list-gowns, glasses, robes, wallet with Medicare card, in case she is transferred tomorrow, and other miscellaneous items. By then it was almost 8:15, and I called to see if I could bring her anything to eat, as she complains daily about the horrible food. I suggested a pimento cheese sandwich from her house and some chips, as I had just purchased some grocery items on Thursday.

I secured the house, went through the mail, and wrote my brother a note. Before she fell, he had been eating lunch or supper with her daily, because he works nearby. However, I have noticed that he always left his dishes in the sink. Knowing that she would not be there to clean them, I asked if he would help keep the house in some kind of order, by washing his dishes daily, emptying the trash, and cleaning the bathroom he uses.  I reminded him that even when she does come home, she will not be able to do household chores for some time.

When I finally arrived at the hospital, my mom and I ate a sandwich together, and talked with the night nurse. She was a very young girl, born in Illinois, but with a Southern accent. Shortly after that my mom and I had a fight.

Yes, an argument. It was about her going to the bathroom. She was determined to go to her beside chair without assistance. Whenever I am around, she wants me to do the things that the nurses should be supervising. I was begging her to wait before getting up until I could get a nurse, but she said that she had been shown how to “shuffle” in her walker, and before I knew it, she was out of that bed, and I was helping her into the bathroom chair. Then she wanted me to have the honor of cleaning her up, and I was afraid it was going to be more than I could handle, between the mess, and her trying to stand up. I said, “Let me get some help.” She insisted, “We can do it.” But this time, I insisted on going for help. I wanted to be sure that she was supposed to be getting up without someone watching her. The night nurse came back, and took care of the cleaning (wearing gloves-something I did not have) and armed with wet wipes. My mom began to criticize me in front of the nurse for not wanting to stay in the room while she was on the chair. She just went on and on, and I began to get angry. (Believe me, I have dealt with her accidents before-in the car, and twice in a restaurant.) She has Crohn’s disease, and also at one point could not tolerate Aricept (and it caused stomach problems.) I have cleaned up after her several times, but I didn’t feel that I should have to while she was in the hospital, and I was exhausted as well. When she kept on, (after the nurse left the room), I said, “You expect a lot of me.” Of course, she said she didn’t. She seemed to simmer down after that, and we made our peace. 

The stress of my life is beginning to show. I felt like I was going to have a breakdown on the way home. How much more can happen? While I was there, after the nurse helped her back in the bed, Betty was way at the end, and couldn’t scoot up, so the nurse more or less made me help her grab the pads under Betty, and we pulled hard to get her to the right position in the bed. There went my back, and shoulder again. I was almost in tears from doing that. She was very heavy. I can’t keep doing this. I will end up with worse problems than I already have-(a torn rotator cuff, and 2 bulging discs in my neck.)

I drug the suitcase and dirty clothes in, and ran to the shower. It’s almost like I think if the water is hot enough, it can wash away my horrible life. (But our water’s not that hot.)

Well, tomorrow she may be transferred. Who knows where, or what awaits us next. Every day will be the same for me…endless fatigue, no doubt. Broken bones take a long time to mend. The nurse did tell her to let them supervise her getting up, to go to the bedside potty chair, and said especially when she had just taken pain medication. (She is so stubborn that she may end up breaking something else.) I cannot make her understand.

They had taken the bandage off of her gashed hand once again (in a hospital famous for staph (MRSA). I put Neosporin on it, and bandaged it once again. (They take it off when bathing her apparently, and never replace it.) It does seem to be healing pretty well, but an open sore is very dangerous in that hospital environment.

This was Father’s Day, but I never once saw Rob. We will celebrate when times are better, I guess. And so it goes…

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Lonnette Harrell

1.  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
…….but have not love,
…….I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
…….and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
…….but have not love,
…….I am nothing.

3.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
……but have not love,
……I gain nothing.

4.  Love is patient, love is kind.
……It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
……it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8.  Love never fails.
……where there are prophecies, they will cease;
,,,,,,where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
……where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9.  .,For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10.  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
…….When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
……..Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
……..But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a great day for remembering those we love-for letting them know how much they mean to us. Perhaps this can be a new beginning for many of us. A starting place for trying to love in a pure and unselfish way. Love like that makes a lasting contribution to people, and to the world.

Many things in this world try to pass for love, but by the definition above, few people truly love. I know I fall short continually. But I desire so much to love that way.

Mother Teresa lived and spoke love. A couple of her quotes speak to me so deeply. “It is not the magnitude of our actions, but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”  And also, “There are no great things, only small things done with great love.”

So much of our time is wasted trying to do flashy things, when small things, done with great love, is all that is required. People respond to love. So many people are hurting in this world. So many have been wounded by others. So many hearts are bleeding, so many tears are falling. Our society has become so self-centered. We do not see the wounded lying on the side of the road, as we pass by. We do not hear their cries. They need us to pour in the oil and the wine, as the Good Samaritan did, without thought of himself, and his own problems. He stopped and cared for a wounded man, and took him to shelter, and gave of himself and his money. He could have walked on by. Others surely did (on their way to church.)

But this man saw a need, heard a cry, and responded with great love and compassion.

I pray that I will follow his example. People may not be literally lying on the side of the road, but they are surely wounded and crying everywhere we go. It is God’s heart that we bring healing, comfort, and love.

Without love, we are nothing.

Love means we see, and hear, another person’s pain…

Please view other articles that I have written here:

Today was another day spent with my mom. It started with me rushing out the door, without any makeup, barely dressed, to take her to yet another doctor’s appointment. For some reason I cannot get it together anymore. I had to call and say we would probably be 10 minutes late. Several times today I felt like I was losing it. After letting her out at the podiatrist, I called my husband. I had to just hear his voice to know that I would be okay. He did answer, and just hearing his voice stabilized me a little. Then I fixed my face, and went in to help her get back into her socks and shoes after having her toenails cut. She has had diabetes for many years, and her toenails are very tough, and need to be cut by a professional, as she really can’t get to them well anymore either.

So then I came back by my house to pick up a present for her next door neighbor-a beautiful Christmas basket I made for Ruth, who is 85 years old, and also lost her husband recently. I picked up a couple of checks to cash and headed out.

I had left my mom in the car to try and figure out what denominations of money she would need for us to withdraw from the bank to give to relatives for Christmas. I gave her the car manual to bear down on, to write. When I returned to the car, she was reading the manual, and had clearly never thought of working on the money situation. So I patiently sat and tried to figure what she needed. I had to show her umpteen (a girl word) million ways that her figure of $280.00 to withdraw was $100.00 short of what she actually need. She finally was convinced.

Then my mom said she needed her checkbook. My husband’s bookkeeper had it at the office, balancing it for her. So I ran by the office and picked it up. At that point, we both realized that it was 7 minutes until the bank closed. (We never once considered this before.) We went rushing to a nearby branch of her Credit Union, with my heart beating wildly, wondering if we would make it. We did, with only 4 minutes to spare. Then when she went to write her withdrawal check, she couldn’t write December. She kept saying, “I can’t make the ‘D’.” The bank teller was waiting, so I said I would write it, but she turned to another check, and finally wrote it. (So what the heck was that about?) There is clearly something going on with her mind. I practically threw the check at the bank teller, praying she would still wait on us after this long. Meanwhile, the girl at the next window, was closing her shade abruptly. We got the money and drove off.

Except I couldn’t breathe, and I had chest pains. Too much stress every minute-every thing we do. Two or three times today I felt them.

For the rest of the day, she absolutely drove me crazy. We went to eat at a restaurant that was well known in our town for being good, though neither of us had ever been to it. When she got out of the car, she could barely keep her balance. There is no way to explain to you what it is like to try to hold her up, and guide her, but she will not use her walker. She simply refuses. We finally got seated, and then she needed (understandably) to go to the restroom. (Another major procedure just to get there.) I finally got her seated again, and I commented on how beautifully the place was decorated for Christmas, with a fireplace and a fire, and a white mantel with crystal bowls with deep red ornaments in them. Lovely red tablecloths, and even a man softly playing piano. Finally, I could breathe. But she wasn’t happy. Not with her coffee, not with her food…She never tries to hide her displeasure, or smooth over it. She is simply blunt. It’s okay that she didn’t like the food, but surely she could have been a little pleasant about something. I said, “I’m sorry.” She said (sort of) that it wasn’t my fault, and admitted that she was grumpy. Well DUH…I knew that, but when isn’t she? (Answer: Very rarely.) By the time the meal was over, I was almost in tears. Nothing is ever right. I got her back to the car, and we headed for Kmart for a few things still needed for Christmas. That part went okay. When she can push a buggy, she is much more stable.  Then I took her through a subdivision near where she lived, that always has a lot of houses decorated for Christmas. She seemed to like that okay too. Then I took her home. We worked on putting her appointments for next year (that we already have through May) on our calendar pages that we keep. (Our entire life is written there.) I made her hot chocolate with whipped cream. And then I drove home.

I told God that what she needs is a good “Whooping” LOL!  Just Kidding!  But she is like a spoiled brat at times, (a lot of times) and she makes life so difficult for me. I try so hard to please her, but mostly it just can’t be done.

So then my poor husband has to hear how I had chest pains all day, and how grumpy and unpleasant she was to me. We have no life between my grumpy mom and my grumpy daughter. And quite frankly, the whole thing is making me…well…grumpy! Can you tell?

So this is my life, which is unbearably hard, because she insists on being the way she is. Life could be so much better if she would just try to be a little pleasant. If she would just realize that I am giving up everything to take care of her, and I’m glad to do it-if she would only treat me better.  Lately, I’ve been coming home crying after these days. It’s just too exhausting, too painful, but I am helpless to change any of it.

Maybe she treats me mean because I remind her of my dad (who I was named for.) Even though their marriage wasn’t pleasant, and they were divorced when I was 2, she never misses a chance to talk badly about him. I know he did not treat her right, but she never lets me forget it. He changed a great deal over the years,(even became a Christian), but in her mind there is no possibility that he could have changed, and she never lets me forget it. I think that is cruel, because he is my dad, and he died recently, and it hurts me.

She does hugs me when I leave, and I know she loves me (in her own way), but she has never really given me the nurturing I need. I need a mother even now. But it’s not possible.

So, just another day in my life…She called today “A Hard Days Night”, and though I never fully understood what that meant in the past, I surely do now…

A friend of mine also writes a blog, and her 20 year old son was found dead in a river this year. There are so many unanswered questions, and so many broken hearts. She wrote that she was visiting in Boston this week, and was staying at a hotel. She mentioned how she had met some educators from Mexico, while waiting for a cab. They were trying out their knowledge of each others languages, and could manage enough (most of the time) to carry on a conversation. She mentioned that when the language attempt failed, they just laughed a lot. And then she told about a man who stayed behind in the lobby to speak with her, after his friends had gotten on the elevator, to go to their rooms. He told her that he had lost his brother when he was a teenager, and she shared that she had recently lost her son. When words failed this time, I am sure there were tears of understanding, threatening to spill over and run down their faces.

Laughter and tears-a universal language where no words, or interpretations are needed. Because it is human to laugh and cry, it is something we all understand.

Crying is actually very healthy for you, and if you want more information about the benefits, read this article that I wrote:

I remember once long ago, I was having some very tragic family problems, and I ran into a friend at the post office. This woman had been my best friend for so many years, but something happened that we were never able to resolve, and our friendship ended. We had not seen each other in a long while. But she asked how I was, and this day I guess the feelings were very close to the surface, because I blurted out my sad story. Wondering if she would secretly be glad that misfortune had come to me, I felt a little embarrassed. But it was then that I noticed a single tear run down her cheek, and I knew that she still cared. That tear said more to me, than all the words spoken ever could have.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep.” It occurred to me, that if we would just do those two things, what a better world it would be. Sometimes we just want someone to share our joy with, and other times we need someone to share our sorrow.

There’s coming a day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more tears in heaven…