vulnerable

yesterday I watched those young actors on Glee act out and experience raw at the same time the grief of their friend, I think what is so moving about their pain, so touching about their vulnerability onscreen and in real life, that their gift of song that expresses their pain is so touching

pain and beauty side by side
seen in the most vulnerable moments

but on this side of the screen, we mask our hurt and pain, afraid to be exposed, to be vulnerable.

we do not hold the pain out in front of us, instead cover it up and move on
when we are dying inside

one of my favorite verses tells us

he gives us beauty for ashes
the oil of joy for mourning
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

as I have cared for my mom over the past few years
I see the most painful moments, the ones that cut me most deeply,
are the ones where I am most vulnerable,
the ones that expose my emotions most raw
the ugly ones, the hurtful ones, the scared ones, the grieving ones

the following is one of those…….

……kathy, you who have been caring for your mom for 14 years, I give this to you…..to the others I met at the caregivers conference I give this to you….we may be exposed, raw, naked, but we are not alone….

lola

naked

naked
even the word is unsettling
naked i come from my mothers womb, naked i will depart

but now before me, is my mother
naked, helpless,
as i was when i came from her body

the hands and limbs that once bathed me, dressed me, held me
are now the ones that i must help bathe and dress

but its too hard to hold
this reversal is too painful
too vulnerable

to see her naked before me
too unsettling,

for now i am the one exposed

she is the one depending on me

when i was a little girl
i was completely attached to my mother

i always needed to know where she was
i needed to sense her presence
i cried if she did not come home
when she said she would be home

now her eyes scan the room for me,
watch my moves

she is the one to question,
“where are you going?”
she asks, “where am I?
is this my home?”
i tell her no, this is my home
she says,
“i want to go home.”

this helplessness, her utter dependence on me
physically and emotionally
leave me feeling helpless

because without my mother here,
who is there for me?

who is there to comfort me when i am down
or run to when i have exciting news
or sit with a cup of coffee to share my day

even grown daughters need their mothers

she is here

trapped in this jar of clay
with a fading mind
but still a treasured spirit

some days she cries and asks for her mother

she says she wants to go to her

i tell she’s not here anymore, she’s been gone a very long time
she looks at me with crestfallen face
trying to remember
then recollecting
“oh…”

she looks at me and tells me
“i’m ready to go.”
ready to go where mom?
“up there.”
she smiles and points to heaven

this treasured spirit
in a jar of clay
yearns for her heavenly home

her fragile mind has broken free
from the restrictions of this world

this world that knows time
hurts, anger, pain,
overcommitments, stress, sorrow
guilt

all have been shattered
by this disease called Alzheimer’s
a blessing in disguise

for we are called to live in the moment
to love in the moment
to enjoy only the thing set in front of us
to hold on to the smiles
to pray
to hold
to touch

sometimes the grief is too much to bear
so a hold and touch is too much to give

the nakedness is too much
the rawness is too much
from grieving the person
she once was

she once was
just like me
vibrant
full of laughter and life
the center of her family
caring for their needs
and keeping them together

who says she is not keeping us together now
in prayer

at night she says to me
“thank you for taking care of me.
may God bless you for all you do
i always pray for that.”

so i continue to care for her
this treasure in this jar of clay
and when this jar is finally broken
i will be able to pick up the shattered pieces
and hand them back to the Father she loves

the spirit that yearns for Him
will go home

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