Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Of Clothes Washers, Mental Illness, And Freedom


Recently, we made a trip to my hometown in southwest Oklahoma, Frederick.
My mom needed a new washer and I was horrified to find out she had been making trips to the laundry mat since hers wasn't working.
She's a bit wobbly and frail. She's fallen multiple times and the thought of her trying to carry a basket of clothes while negotiating a curb and getting into a building, convinced me that we needed to do something quickly.
Wonderfully, Tim is very supportive of my mom and after discussing when would be a good time for the whole family to make a trip down there, we made arrangements.

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Tim's parents live on the way, so the girls stayed with them while Tim, myself, and the little guy headed on down to my mom's with the washer in back of my father-in-laws pickup.
A couple of trips to the local hardware store for a washer hose and a new valve were all that was needed and Tim was able to get the washer installed.
He did a fantastic job! The Lord has blessed me with a resourceful and frugal man.
Mom was so thankful for the new washer and insisted we take some money for it. She's that way.

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With each visit, I wonder will it be the last one that I'm able to observe her being on her own.
It won't be long before her independence comes to an end.

It seems she's aged dramatically within the past five years.
She's had a hard life and seen more misery, sadness, confusion, and lonliness than most.
Her eccentricities are still very much profound but more subdued since getting back on the medication that helps to keep the delusions and paranoia managable.

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Is it strange that I look forward to the day that she'll be free from the bounds that have held her down tightly for most of her adult life? An illness that has robbed her from enjoying the loved ones she's been so graciously blessed with.

Her life, most of it, has been filled with fear, uncertainty, and the deception of her own mind's doing. But gratefully as she is in the twilight of her years, the worst is behind. It's been a long road, an ugly and even violent road at times.
Looking back I could get angry and many would. There was never baking cookies, confidential talks concerning those of the female kind...those that are usually privileged between mother and daughter, nor many words of affirmation.
She was without the support of a husband both physically and monetarily. I was five when my mother and father divorced, he never looked back.
She worked much of the time to keep food on the table and rent paid.

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Our childhoods weren't completely devoid of all nurture, there were moments of clarity...but sadly these seemed so seldom.

I can remember Sunday morning church at our small Nazarene fellowship. The preacher, Brother Biddle, worked up behind the pulpit, his voice raised with passion for the lost and his every word with an "S" in it whistling, droned on as I sleepily sought my mother's lap. She would allow me, a small girl of probably six or seven, to lay over on the pew with my head resting in her lap. I can still remember her hands gently playing with my long brunette hair. Twining it through her fingers as she sat listening earnestly to the preacher.

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Yes, I long for the day that she is free.
Free to sit closely and safely by our King. Free to enjoy Heaven's haven. Free to experience the gentle touch of Her Saviour upon her head as He lovingly speaks words of acceptance to her.
Until then, I will do my best within the Lord's will to make the rest of her journey here as gentle and sweet as I possibly can.

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10 comments:

Jenn4him said...

I look forward to being free myself.

Jade said...

Dear Julie,

I am deeply touched by this post you've written about your mom. Your words are mature and positive...and filled with refreshing honesty. I will pray for you both.

Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment you left on my blog yesterday. (To answer your question, I just turned 25.)
Writing, expressing our thoughts and beliefs to strangers and friends, can be a scary thing, yet encouragement makes it much easier. :)

Homeschool on the Croft said...

Oh Julie, what a beautiful post. She is indeed blessed to have such a daughter, and I can certainly understand your longing for her to be free from this 'body of death'. May God grant her a sweet passage of the Jordan, to that place of no more tears...

Oh, and the photos are stunning.

Keri On said...

I just found your blog. Your sweet comments about your mom are simply beautiful! Thanks for your Godly perspective on this phase of life that you are seeing your mother thru.

Timothy Snider said...

Beautiful post.

Brownie said...

Beautiful and thoughtful. You are a good daughter.

Even though I miss my dad - I am glad he is beyond the pains of his earthly body.

Arby said...

Julie, I read your comment on Brownie's latest blog post. Would love to read more of your thoughts on her topic if you care to "go on and on and on!"

Franbles said...

Thank God He gives us all we need for life and godliness - He has given you an amazing ability to love your mum in spite of... I can imagine the smile on His face as you decide day after day to love. Inspirational!

CrossView said...

You, dear lady, have wisdom beyond your years. Your family is blessed to have you. =)

MountainBlessings said...

Dear Julie, Thank you for this post. Your words helped me more than I can ever explain. First of all my hometown was just up the road, Anadarko, Oklahoma. I now live in AZ. My mother still lives there and she is in the final stages of dementia and she no longer knows any of us children, she is 73yrs old. But more importantly as you describe your mom when you were a child is almost exact the description as I would tell of my mom. Its as if we lived a twin life, you and I. I have for the last few months struggled with how to summurize my memories of my mom, it seems to be of such importance now that it is a matter of time before she leaves her physical life. I feel some guilt wanting her passing to come quickly, but in my heart I know she will finally be free of the demons of her youth and adulthood and the deep darkness she is in now. My heart breaks to see her now. Being so many miles apart it has in a way been a blessing not to have to witness her existence on a daily basis.
She sufferend with deep depression and I know now fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses. In her day there was no diagnosis of such, just that it was in your head. She suffered in silence, in her better days she knew something was wrong, in her bad days she lived in darkness, fear, hopeleness, lost in delusion. I know this because it has been passed on to me. I am thankful to have medication, compassion and a doctor who understands, for me it is genetic. Some other family members as we have aged know now others back generational, as we have investigated, have had the same fate, unknown until now.

I didn't mean to go on and on here, but your words helped my heart and lifted some of the gloom as I watch the person who gave birth to me wonder lost and alone, when we are right here, wondering if she will even for a moment have a glimpse out to know that we are here and love her.

thank you, thank you! Blessings to you, Marla