There is much Hoopla about Valentine’s Day

There is much Hoopla about Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is legendarily known for being the most romantic day of the year. Wow! This is a Day that couples desire to wonderfully express and celebrate life and their love for one another. This day of love is now further extended and expressed in many different ways between friends, families, classmates, teachers, coworkers and many more…

It is a great and marvelous day to annually commemorate your union of “the two becoming one.” Marriage was designed to be a loving, spiritual, committed and pleasurable fulfilling experience.

 

A Little History About Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is said to have originated from amongst the ancient chronicles of ancient Roman history within the early Christian Church. Not all agree; some believe its origin is that of a pagan nature.

 

However, this narrative goes as such.

 

Once upon a time, years ago somewhere in and about the 3rd century AD., many couples who were in love were forbidden to marry. It is said that Emperor Claudius II who was an austere, ambitious and controlling ruler requiring vast armies of men denied them the privilege to marry. He trained his soldiers well yet brutally. He was a hard taskmaster. The soldiers had to be on the road for long extended periods of times and he did not want them engaging in sexual intercourse. This left the lonesome lot of soldiers homesick and half-hearted… Still, the Emperor felt it drained the soldier’s strength and interfered with his goal for them to be victorious on the battlefield. So, he subsequently banned marriages altogether.

 

But one bold, compassionate, defiant priest in Rome named Father Valentine did not agree. He thought that the Emperor Claudius II was unjust and unyielding in this belief. He heroically came to the aid of many couples and secretly married the young lovers anyway. Well, when the furious Emperor got wind of what was happening, he was livid, and he had him beaten with clubs and arrested. It is alleged that the emperor himself began to grow fond of Father Valentine. He came to really like him.

 

Father Valentine eventually tried to no avail to convert the emperor. In turn the emperor wanted and attempted unsuccessfully to make Father Valentine renounce his Faith. They reached an impasse in their relationship. Father Valentine remained incarcerated and was eventually sentenced to death.

 

It is believed that the secretly wedded blissful couples that Father Valentine had married were so very thankful. Filled with elated gratitude they clandestinely visited the imprisoned priest. No doubt that they had pledged their love for one another but for Father Valentine as well. With thankful hearts filled with gratefulness and appreciation they surreptitiously brought him gifts, flowers and notes of gratitude. The couples would secretly pass the notes to him through the bars of his cell.

 

Father Valentine himself being loving, kindhearted, caring and compassionate supposedly too fell in love. How ironic for it was with the jailer’s daughter. Some say she was blind and he healed her… On the day of the condemned Father Valentine’s execution of February 14th around 269, he wrote her a note confessing his love for her and signed it “from your Valentine.” He however was still beheaded and martyred. From here amongst the varied accounts originates our tradition of “Valentine’s Day.”

 

Millions Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Today in this modern 21st century “Valentine’s Day” is one of the most celebrated days on the calendar. It has been festively celebrated by billions of people ever since the days of Father Valentine. This day has become extravagantly and immensely commercialized so be aware that you do not get pulled in. 

 

Yes, do celebrate “LOVE” but be responsible and stay safe!

 

Compare 2012 with 2021

 

This was true in 2012

Here in our beautiful country of America alone over 180,000,000 people celebrate by purchasing and showering roses upon their loved ones. Red is the most often selected color. It is a most prosperous day for retailers! Over 36,000,000 heart-shaped boxes of candy and chocolates as well as thousands of diamonds, dinners, cards and other gifts ranging from extravagant to simple in lavish expenditures collectively totaling billions of dollars are purchased.

 

Hershey the infamous chocolate maker employs 13,000 employees. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania they make over $5,000,000,000 in revenue per year. They use over 600, 000,000 million pounds of chocolate per year as well as using over 200,000,000 million pounds of nuts and 700,000,000 million pounds of milk and an exorbitant ridiculously extravagant amount of sugar! Hershey Inc. vast quantities of chocolate is made from cocoa plants from all around the world.

 

Past Statistics as of 2021 on Valentine’s Day Spending according to Fortunly

Take note of these statistics because it is important to keep them in a balanced perspective.

Spending on Valentine’s Day in the US amounted to roughly $20.7 billion in 2019.

(MarketingCharts)

Valentine’s Day statistics show that around 61% of Americans planned to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their partner in 2018.

(Statista)

American consumers spent $886 million on gifts for their pets on Valentine’s Day.

(MarketWatch)

A quarter of all Americans will go Valentine’s Day shopping for their loved ones.

(National Retail Federation)

Valentine’s stats show that 28% of American adults purchased flowers or plants as gifts for the occasion. 37% of those were men and 19% were women.

(The Society of American Florists)

According to Valentine’s Day sales statistics, Americans spent $1.8 billion on candy for this holiday.

(CNBC)

Red roses account for 69% of all flowers bought on St. Valentine’s Day.

(The Society of American Florists)

Some $5 billion is spent on jewelry for Valentine’s Day in the US.

(National Retail Federation)

Men spend up to five times more than women on gifts for Valentine’s Day.

(Bankrate)

Valentine’s Day sales statistics reveal that 85% of all Valentine’s cards are bought by women.

(Greeting Card Association)

Valentine’s Day retail data shows that more than 135 million Americans went shopping for the occasion in 2019.

(Finder)

US citizens are expected to spend $27.4 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2020. That equates to $196.31 per person.

(National Retail Foundation)

 

 

Valentine’s Day Is A Time To Celebrate Love!

 

When couples are in love it is both emotional and physical. The brain produces a neurotransmitter called dopamine. It is a natural stimulant that carries messages from nerve cells to other nerve cell muscles. It is sent to many brain regions creating intense feelings often associated with romantic love. There are also physiological responses that occur by another closely related neurotransmitter called norepinephrine that often creates and intense craving… This explains why kissing for some can be intense because the hormone testosterone is passed between the two when kissing. Hopefully this explains why some can tend to be a bit irrational initially when in love. Love is wonderful when properly and lovingly expressed.

 

There is much more to Love than the physical. In a good nurturing healthy marriage, respect, care, loyalty and concern are evident components. Many are committed to many other things and their marriage is secondary. You want to take time to really get to know this person who you have committed to love. You both made not only a commitment to your spouse but you both made a vow to the LORD, or did you? Remember this all throughout the year and not only on Valentine’s Day.

 

The Beauty of Marital Love Expressed in Song of Solomon 

 

“HOW beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter? The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor, thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies.  thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.

Thy neck is like a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fish pools in Hesbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim, Thy nose is as the tower or Lebanon which leadeth towards Damascus. Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like Purple, the King is held in the galleries. How fair and pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!  This thy stature is like a palm tree, and thy breasts shall be as clusters of grapes…” SONG OF SOLOMON 7   Example of: I and my beloved.

 

The WORD of GOD speaks quite candidly here and transparently reveals pure marital love in the form of poetic scripture.

 

MARRIAGE IS SACRED IN THE EYES OF GOD

 

When you truly embrace His principles of Love within your marriage you both will experience an ever-increasing fulfilling union.  (Together you have the freedom to privately express your love to one another in a physical manner.)   God is Omnipresent meaning; He is absolutely everywhere. Invite Him into every area of your marriage and everyday life. God is Omniscient meaning; He is totally cognizant of all things and knows everything. Remember it is He that has created us. He is the creator and originator and knows what is necessary to have a great marriage. It is always your choice to allow Him His place within your life.  It is important to keep GOD in the Center of your marriage. If you have not it is never too late to start… I assure you, you both will be or become a lot happier.

 

 

Suggestions To Celebrate VALENTINE’S DAY

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a couple. Here are a few suggestions:

Start the day off with a nice hug

A relaxing bubble bath or soothing shower is a good way to start your day.

Slip a romantic expression of love note in his pocket or her purse

Compose or read poetry to one another, for starters try, The “Song of Solomon” it is a fabulous book of inspiration and love

Plan a nice Candlelight dinner and or a romantic picnic lunch

Treats of: Cakes, Cookies, Cupcakes, Chocolates, Popcorn and assorted candies

Flowers & Cards

Fruit Baskets

Take in a matinée or evening movie

Select in advance a great movie you are excited about sharing at home

Plan a spa couple visit for the mud baths, mineral springs and for massages

Play nice enjoyable music to relax

Before retiring take a nice temperate, peaceful, tranquil candle light bubble bath

A nice added touch is a scented comfy and pillow puffy rose petaled bed…

All the above are simply suggestions. Each couple is quite different. You might even have some better suitable suggestions. So do what personally works for you.

Everyday  all throughout the year it is always good to Kiss your spouse whenever you part. You never know what a day may bring.

 

Genuine LOVE continues to refine and flourish 

A suggested gift to one another that continues the celebration throughout the year.  Remember to be creative! Do keep love alive in your marriage. Make life healthy safe & exciting for one another.  Simply write colorful to do “IOU’S “on note cards…  Fold and place them in a nicely decorated jar or basket. Pick from them all throughout the year.  

 

Here are a few suggestions; This is your day to do as you wish; An Impromptu no questions asked date, A together Car Wash, No arguing today, Dancing, A no spending date, Golf Pass, Couple shopping fling, Back rub & neck massage, Foot massage, Manicure & or Pedicure, Night on the town, Walk in the park, Let’s exercise together, A picnic, Event of choice or a lovely Evening of Elegance…

The intent is to learn how to enjoy your life together, and be thoughtful and considerate of one another as well as others…  Time is precious. After a while it becomes a part of who you are. And yes, do always take time to study the Word of God together for it is our necessary essential spiritual food for our mind, body & soul! 

When you do begin to partake in some of the above consistently, they will occur naturally….

 

~ “GOD IS LOVE” ~

GOD Defines LOVE in HIS WORD

 

When you SAY that you LOVE someone here are some things to KEEP in mind. Here the TRUE meaning of LOVE is defined.

LOVE is best described herein I Corinthians 13: “LOVE is patient, Love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. LOVE does not delight in evil, but REJOICES in TRUTH. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. LOVE NEVER FAILS…”

Remember this; “GOD IS LOVE!” and His Love lasts through eternity! Father God Bless You Both. ENJOY & CELEBRATE the one you Love! Seek out ways to encourage more and complain less.  Stay committed to your vows you made to God and to one another.  Keep God in the Center of your marriage.

Always remember; “Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is felt most when it is GENUINE!”

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

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~ Cleansing us from sin is the business of the Holy Spirit ~

 

 

~ Cleansing us from sin is the business of the Holy Spirit ~

 

SALVATION is beautiful. However, as believers none of us are exempt from sin.  We are all “SAVED” by GOD’S grace. But what makes us  different  is we as believers have been given the gift of God’s precious  Holy Spirit that dwells within us. We are to ask God to fill us whenever necessary.

 

Our body is a Temple where His Holy Spirit, His Comforter resides.  His Spirit is the keeper and restorer of our souls.  And the Holy Spirit has cleansing power and  is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “I  AM THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE HUSBAND MAN.  EVERY BRANCH IN ME that beareth not fruit He taketh away. AND EVERY BRANCH THAT BEARETH FRUIT, HE PURGETH IT, THAT IT MAY BRING FORTH MORE FRUIT.    NOW YE ARE CLEAN THROUGH THE WORD WHICH I  HAVE SPOKEN UNTO YOU.  ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU…” JOHN 15

 

 

Christ Jesus has imputed His righteousness to us. There is genuine grace, joy, peace, security & significance in the Lord. For this we can be thankful.  It is important to make God a priority.   For He can keep us on the Narrow Path.  It is the road less traveled.  There is much going on in the world today.  Make sure you set aside some time with the Lord in His Word and allow Him to direct your path. 

 

 

“We are to be in the world but not of the world.”

 

 

And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove  what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”   Romans 12

 

GOD KNOWS HIS OWN!

 

We as believers  learn to sin less as we daily  “Walk in the Light.”  God’s Word is more than able. “Thy WORD is  a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. I Have sworn, and I will keep thy righteous judgments.”  Psalm 119  We are without excuse.  For God is always willing and ready to help us in any and every situation. Therefore, we should readily REPENT whenever we realize that we have sinned.  For sin keeps us separated from God. This is true if it is by commission or omission.   We are to actually embrace and daily live by His Word as His people.

 

 

“Draw nigh to GOD and HE will draw nigh to you!” 

We, God’s  people  from all over the world who have truly accepted Christ Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior make up God’s universal Church.   There are many places of worship throughout  the world where we can gather together and worship, thank  and praise God.  God knows whenever our worship is sincere. Worship is a time to recognize GOD for for who HE is, and what HE means to us.  A sacred time  to reverence HIM!!! 

 

 

God has only (1) one CHURCH. We should  always honor God and “Worship  Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!”  Know that God is forever omnipresent. Therefore, we can call upon our Lord and Savior Jesus to help us at anytime and anywhere.  He is our Almighty  Sovereign God,  and He is omnipresent.  “What a mighty GOD we serve!” We know not the hour or the day?  However, we are to daily live as though we are expecting Christ Jesus to return at any time. 

 

 

We do not demand  GOD to do whatever we want.

 

We can pray (talk to GOD) wherever we are 24/7.  Keep in mind His Holy Spirit can keep and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Therefore, we should always approach God in a respectful manner. Such as: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”  For God is not a man nor a  genie.  As God, we should always reverence Him. We are to daily exalt God!  Each day is an opportunity to build an ongoing, personal intimate, up close  transparent relationship  with Him.  God already knows what we are going to say or what we all think. Therefore, we do not simply demand Him to do whatever we ask. But as men, women and children of God we are to share, preach, teach, proclaim and daily  live out loud His Word!   He is our Creator & Maker. We can always & forever trust  God and His Word. For God has promised to “Supply all of our need according to HIS riches in Glory by Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4

 

 

Unbelievers are encouraged to get to know GOD

 

As for the unbelievers who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are to encourage them to embrace the Truth of God’s Word. But we must first believe HIS WORD ourselves.  We are to demonstrate our faith and belief in God by the manner in which we live and approach life.  For those who oppose the Word we are to be living examples.  We do not have to argue or force GOD’S WORD upon anyone. However, we should know  that The WORD of GOD is HIS infallible  TRUTH! ” In  God we have been given much liberty.  But we are also accountable to Him.  We have a responsibility to the LORD to be a daily reflection of Him to the unbelievers of this world. 

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Always Caring For MOM

 

Image result for BEAUTIFUL WHTE ROSES & PEARLS

 

Image result for BEAUTIFUL WHTE ROSES & PEARLS

Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. My Faith & Trust in The Lord is immense and surely He has certainly Blessed me in a plethora of ways. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved this brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers to place on her grave site. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, especially roses. She will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.

 

In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “Slow Goodbye…”

My Mother was a very strong willed Christian woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. I am beyond thankful to say that I have always felt loved! It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.

I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.

 

Love expressed by action

 

My handsome  Father worked diligently many hours away from home providing for our family. First in furniture sales, then for the San Francisco Municipal Railways as a Street Car Driver then Night Supervisor. Then he became one of the first bi-racial men of color to manage, operate and run, a Richfield Atlantic Service Station. He was organized, skillful, talented, neat and liked everything in its place.

 

He was raised by a Methodist Woman Minister/ Rev. Lady of God. My father was always kind to me. One thing he was firm on I was not to ever pump gas. Or spend much time at the Service Station unless I was in the office. Back then there were only male uniformed attendants to service your automobile. Whenever you purchased gas or had your automobile serviced they checked your oil/ water and washed your windows.

 

My how times have changed.  My father worked very hard. Yet,  He also thoroughly enjoyed fishing and going out on the lake in his boat. He also took the time to take my brothers to the lake on fishing trips.

 

My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla Crisscrossed Sheer curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed an antique white wardrobe chest.

 

I think I wore pink nylon and silk organza dresses with embroidered flowers  with matching bloomers and  matching satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for long dangling curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings to go along with my  French hilled patent leather dress shoes.

 

My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much loved Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses.  When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a fashionable red plaid side buttoned Dr. Kildare dress. She even allowed and encouraged me to design many of my own clothes. Every winter she purchased me a lovely camel & or fur collared wool coat.

 

Quality you know it when you see it

Quality and originality was something she always stressed and impressed upon me. “Quality you know it when you see it!” It was not so much the clothes but the love and concern that she had for me. She made sure that I yearly attended the Church conferences held during summer as a delegate and there was also my piano lessons and my first photography class in third grade… These are just a few of the many things she did out of love. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I ever remember her ever  sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from humble yet compassionate beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.

 

A DESTINY PROPOSAL

Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He has always been very strong and certain of himself and never intimidated by anyone. Coming up in the midst of brothers makes you quite strong so I always admired this quality about him. He was always mature and he had actually graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present when he presented the proposal.

 

My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. I had participated in advanced GATE classes since 3rd grade. She had already planned that I go on a college tour and……… But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her heart over, from that moment on. He assured her that we both would continue on with our higher learning… It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. We married the following year.

 

When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses. It was a Blessing that the Lord Blessed us with a girl first since I came up with so many brothers. Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. She was always so proud how well behaved and respectful our children were and  how well they also all excelled in school and loved to attend worship services.

 

MOM’S HOMEGOING TRIBUTE

My husband was Elder/Minister of Music and he had also became an upper management executive with Pacific Bell at 21.  We had together founded; Alpha 7 Ministries. ” WORLDWIDE MINISTRY BEYOND & INSIDE THE WALLS!” Our parents were very proud of us. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing an organ solo of one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never  ever been a cross word between the two of them. My husband is a very strong compassionate man of God. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.

 

Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was sort of stern and protective but not overbearing. She did not “beat me” as most say. Nor did my father ever raise a hand to me. 

 

MOM’S JOURNEY

I was raised to be feminine & ladylike yet strong. But this also made me see the benefits of being disciplined. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship.   Church was her life.  She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors & elders. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for reading and gardening!

 

I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was…

 

I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But her last few years on this side of Heaven; slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often.

 

I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a somewhat  shorter humbled slight bowing position. Which was relevant in a sense since she was a woman of much prayer. The occasional scuffs on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.

 

My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her original Elementary Primers are some of my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much  expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went on before her, expressions in regards of her many friends and acquaintances, as well as my brothers and especially her loving relationship and many visits with me, my husband and our children.

 

My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself, in anyway. She was strong yet humble and could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic.  Her home filled with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of brilliant various of well taken care of nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home.

 

She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking, delicious cakes, pies, desserts and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr., shopping and to run errands. This is also how I also learned to be very independent. She enjoyed spending time at the design & Fabric shops. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.

 

As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate after major surgery, to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments just in case. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. One of our adult sons who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition. I share this not to undermine her as a women but to again give a real picture of what life often presents.

 

Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her infrequent falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as possible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway.

 

It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and… Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.

 

After her series of mini strokes transient ischemic attack (TIA) her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now at times  emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. All of these things are helpful if you have an older parent or loved one.

 

Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a comfy padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bedroom now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen to white. Here independent life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although now at times a somewhat slight questioning frown. Yet, she would always smile when she saw me.

 

She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.

 

How and where will she live?

Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had, their names and where she was; then name all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories.

 

The Doctors now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I accompanied her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming somewhat of a hermit in her much loved abode.

 

All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. It was interesting to see what would suit her palette. Yes, again the Doctors have now given up hope. They said it is not unusual that her appetite is declining.

 

But yet Mom is still holding on. I always felt that she has really begun to say a slow goodbye.

 

I, along with some anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence.  I know this is not what she wants.  I looked for one closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful even if well appointed. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.”   My Mother had always told me if I remained  strong then my brothers would have to follow my lead. 

 

I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation in a sense. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. A brother lived around the corner and one (10) ten minutes away. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate her.  Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.

 

 

Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not want someone to help in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make nor did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.

 

Mom wants to go home

She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”

I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time.  She was holding on, she  really was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.

My Mom had finally said Good bye……..

There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. My point is prepare yourself  and while they are able let them tell you what they would like. Who does what and when?  Do just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they tend to  become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets knowing that they are leaving, and of course  you will miss them?

 

If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories. And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!

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