When I was in college, I was an emergency medical technician (EMT) and saw many people die. One memorable case was a man in his eighties who had been a high school coach. When we arrived with siren blaring and lights flashing he met us at the door and laid down on the stretcher. He told me he had been bowling that morning but began to feel ill as the day progressed. Once in the ambulance he raised up and sat on the stretcher. I told him to lie down and assisted him by lifting his feet onto the gurney. When I looked up he was dead. It happened that fast.
Few people choose how they will die. Most of us hope it is not in a nursing home being spoon fed and talking nonsense. Yet, it is a common occurrence. Other than committing suicide or volunteering for a dangerous mission in the Foreign Legion, we must just await our demise the usual way.
My father was ninety when he passed. He was still clear of mind, driving cars, and caring for my mother who had vascular dementia. Dad was lucky. He died at an old age with a sound mind and good health. His death was so sudden, he didn’t press the button on the FOB around his neck to alert authorities. He was probably gone before he hit the floor.
Somehow, mother had a moment of clarity and called my brother who lived a few blocks away. She said Dad was asleep on the couch, and she couldn’t wake him. Actually, he was dead on the floor.
In an instant the responsibility for mother became mine. Several times before his death, my father said he didn’t want her placed in a nursing home. He said. “I don’t want her warehoused.” I assured him I would do everything I could to prevent it.
Thankfully, he had long-term care insurance and a pension which allowed for some professional care. We are doing our best to keep her at home, but it is difficult. In-home assistance a few times each week is good for me. A load is always easier to carry with some help. By receiving some relief, it makes me a better care-giver for my mother.
We also take Mother to adult day-care a few times each week. Recommended by her Neurologist and Psychologist, I was hesitant at first. However, I learned the social interaction is good for her just as they predicted. She gets some physical and mental stimulation. She is happier and sleeps better after a day of interacting with people.
God gave Moses instructions on Mr. Sanai. We call those instructions the ten commandments. One of those is in Exodus 20:12 It is “Honor your father and your mother….” I am honoring my father by caring for his wife after his passing. I am honoring my mother even though she mentally slipped away years ago.
Caring for your parent pleases God. Maybe it means caring for them in your home or placing them in a facility where they can get professional care. The decision is yours, but I try to ask God for help in my decision-making process. As I said before, a load is always easier to carry with some help, and God is your helper.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. NASB
© Ronald Milburn 2018