Blessings in unexpected places

By Charlotte Kroeker 

I had a great Mom!  She was the kind that my girlfriends in high school would envy, because you could talk about anything with her.  She would spend hours on the phone counseling people.  When my boys were small she would be the grandma that would challenge them to a race to the car after church and she would not let them win.  When my mother was a bit older than I am now she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  We had to place her in a nursing home and slowly she forgot everything, including my name.  It was hardest when I looked into her eyes and realized that she did not recognize me anymore.

Sometimes walking into Bethania Nursing Home demanded an extraordinary effort.  My feet had to be willed through the door.  They sometimes wanted to stop and turn around and run.  It was not an uninviting place, but after seven years of walking through the door some days are just plain hard.

It happened on a Wednesday.  I had to grit my teeth and give myself a talking to.  My will power was at low ebb.  I felt weak and very guilty.  I made a kind of bargain with God.  I would walk through that door, but he had to give me a blessing in return.  The last visit had seemed to leave me with only pain and a great longing for a mother, who could no longer respond to me.

I walked through the door with a heavy heart and began walking along the corridor.  On my way I saw an elderly lady looking for the entire world like someone lost.  She was sitting in her Geri-chair with the tray in the front to prevent her from falling out.  Her hands were splayed.  She paid no attention to others moaning or chattering in the chairs beside her.  She was lost.  I fought the urge to walk past at a quicker pace.  Who could help her find her way back?  I looked at my feet and willed them forward.  They responded sluggishly, they felt like lead.  When I looked up again, I saw a transformed face.  She had a huge welcoming smile and her eyes were bright.  Her hands stretched out towards someone coming behind me.  I turned to see her husband of 60 odd years walking up to her and her hands reached out.  No longer lost – she was home.

I smiled at the two of them and walked on.  After 60 years, no matter what or where – she was home!  Love was a powerful force.  My feet were leading the way and my step was considerably lighter as I carried on. I only remembered my bargain with God when I walked out an hour later.

Blessings are all around – give me eyes to see!

With thanks for my mother, Susanne Rempel, who was such a wonderful blessing to me.