Tuesday, January 21, 2014

tightrope walking


He stands clearly 4 or 5 inches taller than me now.  That Nolan, growing, even while I see him every day.  He stretches out before me and I blink, and miss the totality of all the inches.  It hits me over the head as I notice the subtleness to his adjustments.  He tugs his pants down, just a tad lower, so that they aren't too short. He stoops to give me a hug goodnight.  When I finally stand, back to back, with him, its me looking up at the back of his head.   And suddenly, its I who reach on my tiptoes, when I go to give him a hug.  

I'm needing so many of those hugs lately.  Hold tight.  Hold on.  Freeze this moment in time because the moments are moving so quickly and I can't grasp them in my tiny, slippery hands.  I watch as they flutter effortlessly through, sifting through my fingers, landing at my feet in clumps.  

Its both been harder, and easier than I thought it would be.

She railed against leaving.  She wouldn't go.  Her friends?  Her treasures?  Her life?  How could she, our mother, be asked to leave?

And as my brother and I watched… continuously through my head ran the thoughts… how can she stay?  She lives a triangular existence these days.  From her recliner, to the bathroom to the door on occasion.  Back and forth, forth and back.  At times its 3 tries to hoist herself up from her chair, wincing in pain around her middle, trying to steady herself with the grips of the walker, her lifeline.  While we wait, arms outstretched, for extra measure.

And what day is it?  Didn't she have her meds already?  Has she talked to her sister yet?  

The moments, here too, slipping so effortlessly by, both Lee and I, unable to grab and hold onto them for mom.  Because we would.  We'd do anything to keep her where she loves to be- her apartment- with spacious ceilings, two big bedrooms, two bathrooms, oodles of closets, oodles of space.  Kind neighbors who have formed a community of people looking out for each other.  

But as she recovers from surgery, its abundantly clear to us, she can't be left alone.  She needs that voice of reason.  That extra set of hands.  The reminders, the cues, the hints.  

She will stick out her tongue at us and mock us, while listening and obeying at the same time.  This is our mom.  And I relish "seeing her," shine through all the bits that don't resemble her any more.  

She is sassy and full of sarcastic wit.  She can be exasperating, and funny, and exhausting to all of us trying to keep her safe and comfortable. 


Then Saturday steamrolls its way in… and its time for mom to go.  We gather the things she'll bring with her.  It fits in one truckload.  As we mentally take stock around us, of what she'll need, she sits quietly in her chair.  Not saying anything, a far away look on her face.

She gets to her feet without hesitation when we tell her its time.  She has already given away one of her chairs, to a friend.  She steadily walks to the kitchen without a single glance around.  No final look at anything, and no looking back.  She walks upright, rolling her walker along forward,  right through the front door.

Although quiet, not a hint of emotion surfaces, as I sit biting my cheek to keep the tears from falling.  This moment forever etched in my memory.  

We've promised she can move back, if she regains her ability to live independently again.  And she speaks as though she will be back, while also telling us who should get her things.  

Its Sunday, the day my brother flies back home to Pennsylvania.  Mom is settled and I am back at home.  I'm still wading through Christmas storage containers lined up along the walkways through our home.  But a flash of purple catches my eye.  A wrapped, square, object, I've not seen before.  I shove aside the bins and boxes of stuff and grasp the package.  Its Colton who says "mom, thats for you!"

"Mrs. Sailer, my art teacher, made it for you.  Mrs. Herbranson (Colton's teacher) helped me wrap it to protect it and bring it home.  Its been waiting for you!  I've been waiting for you."  And he throws his arms around me.  

I wonder how long.  Days?  Weeks?  A mountain of moments I've walked through without seeing.  So we carefully unwrap the purple paper.  

Its breathtaking as Crosby's eyes pierce my heart instantly.  Mrs. Sailer got him just right.  She wrote us a note saying "your dog on your blog spoke to me… as a critical part of your family.  A member who listens and responds to your needs.  Consider this upcycled frame and ripped up magazine pages… and a dab of paint… a late Christmas gift."  

This is her second "gift " to us.  I have the other hanging on another wall and will share about it in the near future.  Mrs. Sailer is an uber talented and artistic woman.  She does not walk an easy path either, her burdens heavy and cumbersome.  But her heart is big, huge really.  And she gives of herself at times when others would be more focused on themselves.  

She is a gift.  A friend.  And she has helped clear my vision for the day- helping me see clearly- the things that matter most.  








While everything continues to swirl around us in transitions of varying magnitude, anchors have risen up, asserting their sturdiness, their solidity, their ability to bear unbearable burden.  



Mom's new home, Bethany Homes on University Drive, in Fargo.



The anchors come in the form of family who visits mom, and offers all kinds of help.  In friends who drive our boys where they need to go, and bring them to hockey, feed them, and watch over them.  In neighbors who drop everything and drive me, or check on the house, or the dog.  In a fridge that is filled with food from family and friends, and texts that send supportive words and advice.  In prayers, being said by you, by me, by all of us.  Filling in like glue around the moments slipping so precariously through our grip.  They're not lost, we'll catch them somehow, and persevere.  

Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, January 21.

I want you to be all mine… I am weaning you from other dependencies.  Your security rests in Me alone-not in other people, not in circumstances.

Depending only on Me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there a is safety net underneath: the everlasting arms.  So don't be afraid of falling.  Instead, look ahead to Me.  I am always before you, beckoning you on-one step at a time.  

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate you from My loving Presence.


Today, I will meet with Dr. Tinguely, and we will come up with a plan for surgery.  Will update soon.  Blessings and love to you all. 






35 comments:

  1. This is an amazing post.

    From the sadness that I shared with you as you described your Mom's leaving of her home (so sad! but so needed) to the discovery of the gift. From your tall son giving you a hug as you stand on tiptoes, to your younger son waiting for you to be able to enjoy the surprise gift. To seeing your lovely dog recreated so beautifully.

    It all just tugs at my heart. And brings the same response as your other posts. Prayers for God's help, strength, grace and love to be yours daily, dear Vicky. God bless you all.

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    1. Susan- thank you for your always kind words. They are a balm to my battered soul and I appreciate you so much! I've been told a letter arrived and I have yet to get through all the mail- but will thank you in advance!!

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    2. glad it made the journey to you! it came a long way!! YOUR words minister to me, so I'm glad it some small way my words can bless you back :-) xxx

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    3. They do Susan- in so many ways- they truly do- xxoo

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  2. Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful portrait.. in so many ways, this.

    Blessing and love to you as well -

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    1. Isn't that just a amazing? I'm utterly blown away by the detail of it and how it just screams "Crosby" to me. xxoo

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  3. Each word, each pause, each in depth view....tugged at my heart and whispered..."oh my, these feelings I have had too". what a beautiful painting. what beautiful moments...all caught up in memory pic's that will now always be..... Hang in there beautiful Lady! many prayers and much love always headed your way!

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    1. I so thought of you Peggy Sue- I have often over the past couple of weeks or so. Thanks for the thoughtful words, the prayers and the love~ love back to you!

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  4. I just can't imagine how difficult these last few weeks have been with your mother along with every other heavy decision you've had to make. Your mom is lucky to have you to take care of her, and your boys are even more lucky to have you love them the way you do.

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    1. Its been pretty overwhelming and I've truly not handled it all well- but have certainly tried. I too have grown frustrated and emotional and sad while still having to do the necessary things none of us want to face. Thanks for the kind words~

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  5. The anchors in your life are strong.
    Continue to hold fast to each one.
    Would you email me your Mom's new address...
    ebarrales@yahoo.com
    Love,
    Jackie

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    1. I will soon, Jackie- I'm not exactly sure the extent of it yet- but I will find it out and let you know! Love to you sweet friend~

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  6. Thank you for these shared words and emotions.

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    1. Thank you Susan, for taking the time to read them and comment :)

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  7. Dear Vicky, I'm somewhat parallel with you again, though a generation apart, since we have taken the same steps with my grandma this year, after 99 years of independent living (with Visiting Angels the last several). Finally, she needed more. I hear updates and when I was at her condo for Christmas, I felt her presence everywhere and wished she could still be there. But I know that it's as much me who doesn't want things to change, and that when I think about it logically, it just can't be, just like it is for your mother. My mom and the caregivers couldn't do it anymore. And neither could (nor should) you and your family. You need to hang on to all the strength you have. Your mother is in the best and most capable hands. They are hands God provided and even if you have momentary regrets over this, keep thinking on that. It's so hard to let go though. So hard. You are doing an exemplary job, dear friend! And those sweet boys...yes, hang tight! We all need to.

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    1. I've certainly had my own share of emotional meltdowns when I don't feel as though I can take any more… and yet… I've recovered and moved on from those moments and I can see we will persevere and keep moving forward- resting in Him as always. We'll need to do coffee soon-ish and would love to hear more about your Grandma :) Hugs friend!

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  8. Dear Vicky, I cried all the way through this. A beautifully written post. I lost a dear man today, my uncle. And I also read Jesus Calling this morning and it spoke to me. I thought about all the dear people who have always been in my life who are now gone. And God spoke to me reminding to be dependent on Him alone. I'm praying for you, your mother, and for those boys of yours who are growing so fast. I understand. My son just hugged me and he picked me off the floor! Sending you hugs!

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    1. Oh goodness Kristin- I could just see that next with my boys- picking me up too as they hugged me- that just touched me so. Your uncle sounds like a true treasure of a gentlemen and I am sorry for your loss, but I pray he is in the "everlasting arms" of our Father. Hugs to you sweet friend!

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  9. i love you - you amaze me - you humble me!
    hugs
    xo

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    1. You are too sweet and I smile so seeing you show up here :) Love you- xoxo

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  10. Please give your Mom a hug from me, I know this must be difficult for her. Sending hugs to you, as well and prayers, as always.

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    1. Thank you- I will certainly do that and she will love it. Thinking of you and praying for you as well.

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  11. The art work is amazing. We are on our third golden and your crosby looks like our second, Payton. She was a wonderful dog. After we lost her I said never again...2 months later we had 8 week old grace in our arms. Colton's teacher is extremely gifted and I agree with you she nailed it! Still praying for your mom. I am so thankful Vicky that you have so many people surrounding you being the hands and feet of Jesus. Praise the Lord. Love.

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    1. She is- so talented and gifted- I agree! And that makes me so blessed to be the recipient of her beautiful talents. Thank you for your ever faithful prayers Kelly- and you are right on- so many being the hands an feet of Jesus- we are blessed.

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  12. I love the picture of your dog. It is so life like. I think the right decision was made about your mother's move. You need to concentrate on yourself at this time in your life. I am 71, and I know that I will probably be facing a move from my condo in the future. Take care and God bless you and your family.

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    1. Francis- I am sure you facing the possibility of leaving your condo weighs heavily on your mind and heart. We tried last summer to have my mother visit some assisted living centers to get a feel for them and to have input, but she refused to visit more than one and said she didn't like that one. Its always hard anticipating that next step, but its a necessary part of life. I'll be thinking of you and praying for His perfect timing in your decision making!

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  13. Vicky? A few weeks back I was introduced to your blog through Ann Voskamp's postings. I have treasured and rejoiced with you, your writings, and your exposed heart since then. I have cried and prayed for you. Prayed that our Father would strengthen, uphold, comfort and provide in a tender, rich, and personal way.

    My husband is from "up there" originally but we live in northwestern Illinois with our two children (15 and 12 and a half). I do not know you, but as a Christ sister I am privileged to pray for you. Too much to say here....no ability to write what I want. I can tell you that you have encouraged me and have made an impact in my life. I am blessed by you. Thank you.

    Traveling the "hard graces" along with you. ~Chris

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    1. Chris, how lovely to hear from you! Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed that someone would find me through Ann Voskamp :) Thank you for your prayers, tears and willingness to walk along side me- I'm truly honored by all of those who choose to do so! I hope to hear from you again perhaps and getting to know you better. Hugs friend~ Vicky

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  14. I love the art work of your dog...what a great gift. Your mom? I feel for her and all the changes she's been through. Blessings to your mom....and you too Vicky.

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    1. Thanks Lisa- I feel for mom too- so much in such a little amount of time. Blessings to you!

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  15. Oh my dear friend, Vicky,
    I am, as always, AMAZED at the themes in your posts that resonate with my life. Your thoughts and reflections so often help me to re-sort my own life events.

    Ah...I would say aloud as you talked about moving your Mom. It reminded me so of moving my Grandma. A life transition, a new home, and such memories sifting and floating. Words were never adequate to soothe the hurt of leaving her own place behind. Logic never trumped the pain of her feeling displaced. We all felt so disloyal, How could we, her family, be the traitors (her words) and do this to her.

    Sometimes doing the "right thing" is so hard. Very. Very. hard.

    And your mention of seeing Nolan's young man inches, towering, growing right before our eyes. How did it happen so fast? I am always telling my grandchildren about when they were babies and fit on my lap. Now, some tower above me and the others are not far behind.

    Oh the minutes, the r\precious God-given moments...they fly by and babies grow up into young adults. Just as they should, but I shed a tear nevertheless.
    And the grace continues to FLOW...reminders of how dearly you are loved, sweet Vicky.
    That picture of Crosby...priceless.

    Prayers for you, prayers for your Mom, tall Nolan, big-hearted Colton, and your sweet and
    sturdy sidekick, Superman. Prayers cascading down and going up to Him. He reminds me daily...All will be well!

    And to that I say...AMEN!
    Love you, Vicky, Linda

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    1. "All shall be well," yes indeed. Gripping tight to that, and the beautiful words you leave me- reminding me always I am not alone in this journey. So many have gone through this already and it doesn't grow easier regardless the number of times through. Thankful for your sharing with me- your sweet reflections and insightful encouragement. Love you sweet friend- so thankful for you!

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  16. Just stopping by to say hi! We are traveling for ministry and so there is little computer time. But I did want to send over some love real quickly! <3

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  17. i applaud how brave you've been with your mom through all of this....i can't imagine what you've been through emotionally and physically.....blessings...xo

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  18. Vicky,
    I saw your email this morning but didn't want to rush reading it. I savor your stories so artistically written that I feel with you the story of receiving the hugs from your son, and the sweetness of the long awaited gift that perfectly lifted you on that very difficult day. Although I don't want to live up North, I so wish I lived in your neighborhood, to see you in the store and tell you in person how you are my dear friend. I pray for you with eager anticipation to hear more good news. I wish for you it wasn't this difficult and overwhelming, but I know that God knows the plans for you and you trust him with a grateful heart in all things. You Bless me abundantly. Please accept my virtual hug. Fondly, Kathy

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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