“Is your mother going to come after you?” The words surprised me, but I quickly recovered. “No, I have my own car,” I replied. I was cleaning my parent’s house and it was my mother who asked the question.
I had suspected Mom’s problem was more serious than the small strokes and Parkinson’s that had been the doctor’s diagnosis. Sometime earlier Mom had left a note on my front door. The words had been scrambled and senseless.
As the dementia worsened, Mom sometimes became more agitated at night. One night Dad phoned, asking for help, because Mom would not go to bed. When I arrived, she told me, “Mom and Pop just live up the road and I want to go visit them.” Of course, her parents had died many years before. I was finally able to calm her by promising she could visit her parents the next morning.
The years passed and at the age of eighty-one, Mom was only a shadow of her former self. She was able to eat without assistance, but most of her needs were met by caregivers. Then Dad needed surgery and while he was in the hospital, I stayed with Mom in the evenings. After work, I stopped at home to gather clothing for the next day and then I spent the night with Mom.
One evening as I walked into Mom’s house, she asked “Where are the others?” In her mind people were coming to eat with her and she had fried several chicken legs for the occasion. Thankfully, she had turned off the stove burners. Once before, Dad had come home to discover all of the burners of the gas stove turned on.
Mom was a Christian and before the illnesses had read her Bible and attended worship services at her church. Now she made no attempt to read the Bible and she never mentioned her church. It bothered me and I yearned for assurance that she was still holding on to her faith.
Each night after taking care of Mom’s needs, I pulled the covers down on her bed and tucked her into bed as she had done for me when I was a young child. Turning back the hands of time, I’d tell Mom good night the way she had done with me all of those long ago years. I said, “Nighty-night.” She looked up at me, smiled, and repeated, “Nighty-night.”
That ritual went on for several nights. Then one bedtime, as I stood ready to say good night, Mom reached up and grasped my hands. Words began tumbling from her mouth. At first, I didn’t understand what she was mumbling. Looking down, I discovered her eyes were closed. She wasn’t talking to me—she was praying! I heard her conclude with “. . . and Lord, help us all to be better Christians.”
My concern had been needless. Mom was holding tightly to her faith in Jesus Christ. I whispered, “Nighty-night,” kissed her on the forehead, and tip-toed from her room.
I had been given my assurance. I had known all along that the Lord would never forget or forsake Mom, but it was such a blessing to know that under the blanket of confusion in her mind, her faith was still holding.
Norma C. Mezoe began writing after a crisis in her life. She has been a published writer for thirty years. Her writing has appeared in books, devotionals, take-home papers and magazines. She lives in the tiny town of Sandborn, Indiana where she is active in her church as clerk, teacher and bulletin maker. Contact at: email@example.com