Monday, May 07, 2007

When I grow up I want to be just like her UPDATED

Updated to add (Tues 05-08-07 12pm): I spoke with Beverly about an hour ago. Her mother drifts in and out of sleep (consciousness?). She can no longer eat. A feeding tube is no longer practical or possible. She will return to the nursing home today to finish her time here. The doctors expect her to last 2 weeks at the most. Her vital signs are steadily declining and her kidneys seem to be failing. Continue to pray for Bev, her mom and the rest of the family. Thank you.

I have a dear friend, Beverly. Beverly is actually married to The Mighty Hunter's uncle, but we don't call her my aunt. Because that means she's supposed to be more mature and all. And, well, she's not. She's great. She and I have laughed and cried over the past 10 years since she married into the Hunter's family. (She's got a big ol' jewel in her heavenly crown for that act of love and sacrifice!) We're really good friends. If I had to rank her, she'd be after my mom and tied with My Friend Rachel.

Bev is on my mind today. She is one of those women who inspire me to be a better person. I really admire her and try to follow her example in many ways. Especially for the reason that she is on my mind.

Beverly's biological parents allowed her paternal aunt and uncle to adopt her and her older brother. The biologicals were crappy parents. And as selfish as it is, they did a wonderful thing by giving them to a loving family. I can't imagine how completely screwed up Bev would be if she had stayed with the biological parents. "There's no tellin'"

Well, Bev's Mom (the only REAL Mom she ever had) had a couple of mild strokes over the past few years and has Alzheimer's. She has been in a nursing home for several years, with her health and mental condition declining steadily each year. Over the past several months, she has had several things to occur that have weakened her health significantly and caused her to be admitted to the local hospital for infections, etc.

And that's where she has been for the past week now. I'll try not to go into details, but her breathing is labored, her pulse is difficult to manage, her mental awareness is minimal and she can't eat or swallow the food that is fed to her. A feeding tube through her nose to her stomach was really the only source of nutrition, and she pulled it out during the night, last night. She mumbles things that can't be understood or don't make sense. She will only occasionally answer when someone talks to her.

She is dying.

And Beverly's heart is breaking.


Right here, days before Mother's Day, Beverly is mourning the impending loss of her Mother. The woman who raised her, not because she gave birth to her, but because Beverly needed her. The woman who carried her on her hip all. day. long. for a year, because no one had shown her any attention before. The woman who refused to let her be neglected and abused any longer and loved her and led her to Christ.

Here, at Mother's Day, I'm witnessing a daughter's devotion to her mother. Since moving into the nursing home, Beverly has visited her mother almost everyday. She insists on doing her Mom's laundry, eventhough it is included in the nursing home's care. She sits with her for hours after work. She will talk to her in her sleep when simply sitting in a recliner has exhausted her at 4pm. She paints her fingernails and brushes her hair. She buys pretty bed linens and clothes and pajamas. She keeps pictures of family and friends within sight. She feeds her vanilla milkshakes.

And her heart is breaking.

I have the unique privilege of seeing an example of caring for an ailing, elderly parent.

Now, at Mother's Day, my friend is preparing for the loss of her own mother. Pray, with me, that God will be with Beverly as she cares for her mother in her last days. Ahead of her are hard days and long nights and rivers of tears.

I hope I can follow her example.


Damselfly said...

Aw. Bless your friend -- and bless you for caring.

WillBlog said...

Great post!
I'll add Bev to my prayers!

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

I'm so sorry for you. Please send your friend my heart this week...