This is probably not peculiar to me, as I suspect it happens to other people as well if and when you really think about it. Anyway, I don’t believe I ever truly appreciated my brothers – I loved them, yes, but did I appreciate them?
Oh, I knew their gifts and skills, and I felt free to seek their advice and/or help when I had a need within their areas of expertise. But, their lives outside those areas? Their lives as they affected mine at the time and I didn’t even think about it?
Recently, however, I’ve watched my niece as she has had to make decisions within her family, and have seen her dad’s life reenacted to some extent
You see, when my own mother was at the stage it wasn’t advisable for her to live alone anymore, I lived 450 miles away in Kentucky and my other brother lived in southern Ohio. These weren’t exactly next door, where we could drop in frequently, so it fell to my oldest brother to make the necessary decisions.
Oh, he talked with us on the phone, but that’s just not the same as sitting down for a family discussion.
Mom had already told us individually, “When it comes time for me to go to a nursing home and I don’t want to go, do it anyway!” You see, she understood the dynamics of “getting old.”
Yet, when that time arrived, it was still not an easy decision. Though it took a toll on my brother, he did what had to be done and sought peace in his mind and heart through his strong faith in Jesus Christ.
I don’t think I ever said, “Thank you!” And I should have.
My niece is now in that same place. She, the middle child of the family, is the one who lives nearest. With one brother in the Cleveland area and the other in Virginia, she must sometimes feel like she’s been left alone to assume responsibility. Of course, today, they do have electronic communication.
Her mom wants to live at home, as we all do. But it isn’t safe. Still, in today’s world, there are any number of gadgets and services to make safety more available – from 9-1-1 to medical alerts to be worn at all times. With Meals on Wheels and even home health care, it’s still not the same as having someone in the house with her.
My niece makes frequent visits as her work and life schedules allow. And she worries! The worrying, of course, doesn’t do any good, but it’s the natural thing to do when your mother’s safety and health are at risk.
Do you see how my niece is living out her dad’s caring for his mother all over again?
Neither she nor her dad would seek a “thank you” but both deserve it.
Quite probably, she hasn’t even noticed how her life of caring replays her dad’s. But I have noticed and say to her and to you readers in similar situations (whether family or friend), “Hats off to you! You have my respect for all you do.”
More importantly, God Himself not only enables you for your task but is honored by your living out your faith in such manner.
God bless you each and every one! Great is your reward in heaven if you know Jesus Christ as Savior like these two caregivers.
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