Dear Wellspring Ohana,
Over the past few years, I have brought you with me on my journey of helping to care for my elderly aunt and uncle. Uncle Dick is now 96 and Auntie Abby will be turning 96 this Friday. Uncle has been through cancer, heart attacks, complications from diabetes, total hearing loss, and several falls. Auntie’s own share of falls, congestive heart failure and age, leave her wheelchair bound with short term memory loss. 24/7 home care continues to drain their financial resources and renders them captive in their home because it is difficult to travel far now for even short periods of time. Incredibly frustrating for them both, to say the least, and yet, I’m moved by their acceptance of aging with kindness, and a great sense of humor about their limitations.
Usually, every Sunday, after church, is my time to visit with them: and time to pay their bills, order medication, and have simple conversations with them. Because my uncle cannot hear, I have to communicate with him using a whiteboard. With my Aunt, we have fun conversations and she remembers ‘way back when’ for the moment. I have fond memories of growing up and doing annual Thanksgiving dinner at their home. This Thanksgiving is their first time they cannot go out and so we will bring Thanksgiving to them. My Uncle’s eye’s lit up when I told him. He so enjoys his food!
These are the moments that make caring for them a blessing. That’s not to say there haven’t been times where I’ve been frustrated: like the time we transitioned them to assisted living and two weeks later, Uncle and Auntie checked out and went home! Or the battle to stop Uncle from driving. Yet, while I zipped through the grocery store to pick up groceries for them this week, God’s stirring reminded of how He can bless us in the simplest and most ordinary encounters with one another. My aunty may not remember that we laughed about her age (which she says may as well be “100”), but for the moment, she is joyful. And that makes me joyful. Honestly, they beam when I see them (even without the favorite dim sum and sweets). These are great moments that will be remembered when they are long gone. In the midst of what seems like daily monotony, they find their gratefulness. Both tell me they’re shooting for 100. In the meantime, I feel grateful too to be a part of their lives. Life together is simple, and love is present when we are present to each other. I believe the power of God’s love is most impactful with the blessings in our lives that seem small and easily overlooked, yet are noticed because we choose to see them and give them the breath and life of our Heavenly Father. “Enter his gates with Thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5