Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Slowing Down To A 90 Year Old Pace

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
Psalm 90:10
(KJV)

We have been learning to slow down...
to a 90 year old pace, that is.
Time spent in Mom and Dad Smith's house requires that.

We have a daily routine that is pretty predictable.
Outside of the trips to doctors, the grocery store, the post office, and taking Zach and Austin to the pool and on various other adventures,
our days are pretty laid back...and full of a certain sense of the same.

Life from the perspective of a 90 year old is worlds-apart-different than life viewed through the lens of a younger person.

My 90 year old father-in-law, with great-grandson, Easton

A 90 year old realizes, with a certain clarity, that their days are numbered.
They think often of eternity, as the sense of its nearness intensifies with each new health challenge, ER trip, and hospital stay.
A new day is a cherished, and somewhat unexpected, gift.
Being able to walk to the table, pick up utensils, and feed one's self another meal, 
finding strength to make it to the bathroom and to comprehend matters of the day's business are all things the rest of us take for granted, without a second thought.
Not so, with a 90 year old.
To them, another ordinary day of life's activities is a monumental accomplishment.

If God spares time and life, Dad Smith will turn 91 years old in September...
21 bonus years, past the "three score years and ten" that have become known as our "allotted time" on this earth, according to Psalm 90:10.
Life, for him, is very visibly winding down.
His days go something like this.
He gets up early and eats a small snack in order to take his morning meds.
Shortly thereafter, he is tired and needs a nap.
I'm usually up soon after and make a big breakfast.
He LOVES gravy, so whatever breakfast meat I choose to cook,
I make sure to include homemade-from-scratch country gravy.
He would rather eat gravy with some kind of bread than anything else in the world.
He gets up when he smells the aromas floating towards his room,
and we eat breakfast together.
Soon, it is time for one of his three favorite game shows,
and he is looking for someone to watch The Price is Right with him.
Not too long after, he takes another nap.
This goes on, in intervals, until it is time for the evening news.
I cook supper while he and Mom Smith watch the news,
then we all eat together.
At 7:00 pm, without fail, he and someone close by is trying to beat the contestants in deciphering crossword mysteries on The Wheel of Fortune.
When 7:30 rolls around, Jeopardy takes precedence over all other activities.
It is amazing how much you can learn...and prove how little you really know...in a half hour.
From 8:00 pm on, he tries to find something interesting to watch.
If he can't, his day comes to a close, and he goes to bed for the night.

Car trips are edging closer and closer to being a thing of the past.
The last few times we have found the courage to take him somewhere, it has been quite the challenge, has left him extremely weak and spent, and has opened our eyes a bit more to the fact that he probably shouldn't try to venture from home anymore.

My father-in-law sits often and tells me how much he misses walking to the garage out back and working in his workshop, as he looks around at the many pieces of furniture he has crafted in their living room.

"I sure wish I could go out and fire up the table saw, Cheryl."

I listen and sympathize and empathize,
and I tell him how sorry I am that he can't do the things he used to do.
I recall all of the wooden things he has made for me in times past.
Throughout our minimizing journey, I have had to let a lot of them go.
They've been passed on to others who are enjoying their quality and beauty as much
as I did through the years.
Though it hurts the sentimental part of me to no longer own them,
it makes me happy to know they are living on and bringing joy to their new owners.
There are two rectangular boxes that Dad Smith built for me that I will never let go of, however.
He made them for me to use as soap molds.
Zach and I love making lye soap together, and each time we use those soap boxes,
we think of Dad Smith.
We always will.

For many years, he was a carpenter, by trade.
He talks to me about working on the Back Creek Dam,
and he tells me about his last job spent building a huge house in Palm Beach.

We once drove by it, and he showed me his handiwork.
He was so proud of being able to say he worked on that house.

He is one of the last few remaining World War II Veterans.
He still loves to sit and talk about his time spent in the CCC camp
and how young he was when he joined.

When caring for elderly parents or loved ones,
there is a choice to make.
We can either become frustrated by the slowness of their pace,
or we can accept it and realize they can't change it and adjust ourselves by slowing down.

I look back over the past few years, and I realize that God has been gradually slowing us down for a long time.
He has been purging us, pruning us, paring down our possessions, freeing us from encumbrances,
loosing us from entanglements, and liberating us from toxic hindrances.

We live a very simple life.
It is wonderful.
I cannot thank God enough.

Observing my in-laws in their current stage of life,
I am often reminded of Ecclesiastes 12,
and I am amazed at how accurately Solomon described old age.
I want to elaborate on that here, as I compare it to what I am seeing day by day.

Verse One
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;"

There isn't much pleasure left for Mom and Dad Smith.
They hurt and ache and have a hard time getting around and doing the things they used to do.
They depend upon others to do a lot of the things they used to be able to do alone and without effort.
There is a not-so-gradual decline in health, cognitive and reasoning abilities, and mobility.
Their days sort of blend in to one another, without much diversity or excitement.
Sadly, the years have drawn nigh for them to say,
"I have no pleasure in them."
On some days, it almost seems like life itself has become a burden.

Verse Two
"While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:"

The vision begins to wane and grow dim.
Things that used to seem so bright to the eyes, are no longer nearly as keen.
There is a constant cloud over the spirit, a steady fear of the next health scare and the next needed task that they will be unable to perform.
Clouds dampen the spirit, even after the rain has fallen.

Verse Three
"In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,"

The hands that once held the power tools with a steadiness and sense of confidence,
now tremble.
I would worry if he did try to go out there and fire up that table saw.
The other day, Mom Smith, Lori, and I stood and watched him try to walk inside from Lori's front yard, and we cringed, as his "strong men" (legs) nearly completely buckled and went out from under him.
If Kevin, Zach, and Austin hadn't been standing close by, he would have fallen, for sure.
Believe it or not, my nearly 91 year old father-in-law still has his original teeth.
But, the grinders are becoming more few, and he speaks often of how he is soon going to need to go to the dentist.
To be honest, I dread seeing what he will have to go through in order for this to happen.

Verse Four
"And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;"

Dad Smith can hardly hear a thing.
Once he takes out his hearing aids, it is near-impossible to make him understand what you are trying to say.  
The sound of the grinding is low...can barely be heard now.
He rises up in the early morning...when the birds are waking up,
and he would never be able to hear his beloved bluegrass at all, if it weren't for his hearing aids.


Verse Five
"Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:"

Up until just a few years ago, Mom Smith would climb a ladder up to her roof,
(I know...think major denial),
and she would put her Christmas star up all by herself.
Now there are too many fears in the way, and heights are the enemy.
The tiniest problem is hugely magnified.
Something as small as a grasshopper...or a burned out light bulb...starts out as a huge concern,
then blossoms into a complete fiasco....that must be tended to yesterday, by the way.
Desire is failing.
The interest just isn't there anymore...even for things they used to be so passionate about.

Mom and Dad Smith will soon go to their long home...
that eternal home from which there is no return.

Having lived through the loss of both of my precious parents, 
I know what it means to be one of the "mourners who goes about the streets".
Losing a parent is truly one of life's greatest sorrows.
Losing the last parent leaves such a forlorn feeling deep inside.
It is so hard to walk through the dawning of the knowledge that both parents are gone.

When Mom and Dad Smith's individual hours of departure will come, we do not know.
So, we press forward, day by day, slowly and methodically,
as slowly as they need the pace to be,
trying to make their last days as comfortable as possible,
asking God often for grace, long-suffering, tolerance, strength, and courage.

We remind ourselves of all they have done for us through the years
and how difficult it must be to be standing in their shoes.

Life is slow...when you are 90 years old.
Though the outward man is perishing,
perspective is keen as the end of days draws nigh.

He often tells me that he hopes he goes first.
I don't think he could stand losing her, 
and, yet, could she get through losing him?
They have become so co-dependent.

Shortly after a recent time of being told he can no longer perform an ordinary daily chore for himself,
he waited until no one else was around and turned to me.
"Cheryl, a person has a certain amount of pride about themselves", he said.

My heart went out to him.
I could have cried.

It hurts to watch the ones you love grow old and incapacitated.
The best gift we can offer is our unfailing support and faithfulness to be there...
and to slow down to their pace.

By God's grace, they can go as slow as they need to...
and we will follow as long as necessary.

64 comments:

  1. Dear Cheryl...your words truly touched my heart this morning. Oh, how difficult it must be to realise that your life is slowing down...that you can no longer keep up the pace you once did or perform simple duties.. Imagine having to let go of your beloved hobbies or even basic tasks you once found pleasure in... This time eventually comes to pass for all of us, if the Lord spares us that long, and how easy it is to become frustrated with the elderly.
    It is incredible how the Lord has been using you and your precious family to bless your in-laws...I understand it cannot be an easy undertaking, but what a blessing. May you continue to be encouraged during this time and I pray our Father would fill you with His wondrous grace and give you amazing strength to minister into the lives of your husband's parents. Thank you for writing this post...it challenged me greatly and made me think...
    I send you ever so much love and think of you very, very often! You continue to be in my prayers...
    Hugs to you, dear Cheryl!
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. Sweet Kelly-Anne! I am so deeply touched by your precious words today! Thank you ever so much for coming by here and leaving such sweet encouragement! You are such a blessing to me, dear friend. God bless you abundantly!

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  2. Cheryl... What a lovely post. I think there is a lot to learn from loved ones and people who are getting old. I think they appreciate the real things in life more than most of us who think we have a lot of time in this world. Thanks for blessing my heart once more Cheryl♥ Blessings ♥

    summerdaisy.net

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    1. Thank you so very much, Summer! It is such a blessing to see that you have stopped by. God bless you abundantly!

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  3. Cheryl, my life is similar, having had to slow down for my darling husband, who like your father in law has to take everything at snail's pace now. It's a gift we can give to our loved ones.

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    1. Oh, bless your heart, Elizabeth! Your servant's heart is such a dear gift to your husband and to all who know you. May God give you the needed strength and grace for each day with its challenges. Sending you love and hugs!

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  4. Sweet Cheryl, I so enjoyed reading your warm description of Mom and Dad Smith. What a blessing you are to them in these twilight years. Reading your precious words made me feel like I was there with you...it brought a flood of memories about the loss of my own dear Daddy in 1989 from lung cancer (he was born in 1919 and would be 97 if he was still with us)...and my sweet Mom who lived with my husband and I for 17 years after my Daddy's homegoing in 1989, and was in assisted living for the last 3 years before her homegoing in 2010 as she suffered with osteoporosis fractures in her spine, extreme pain, medication, and the downward spiral of dementia...described in this post... https://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com/2011/03/comfort-measures-only.html

    Many blessings to you and your sweet family!

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    1. Dear friend! Your heart has known much sorrow. Thank you for sharing with us here, and may the dear Lord bless you and hold you ever close to His loving heart! Sending you love and hugs!

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  5. So precious, Cheryl! Your perspective is a huge blessing and I am sure you and your family are a tremendous blessing to your in-laws. Just so much beauty in your gentle, hopeful, respectful storytelling here. Thank you!

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    1. Dear Bethany! Thank you so very much for your precious words and encouragement. You are such a blessing to me. God bless you abundantly, in return, my friend!

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  6. This is so sweet and tender and it made me cry. We lost my father-in-law in our 20's, my dad in our 30's, my mom in our 40's, and recently my mother-in-law in our 50's. It sure would have been nice to have them all a bit longer (it hurts no matter they are middle-aged or in their 80's) but it wasn't to be. Thank you for sharing a bit of their lives and yours....and thank your father-in-law for his service. I have worked with veterans as a VA nurse and there sure aren't many WWII vets left--they are so humble about what they did for our country and the world.

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    1. Oh, dear friend! What a sad journey it has been for you in the losses of so many parents. You are right...we are never ready to let them go, at any age, but it seems so sad that you have lost all of yours so early in life. Thank you for your service to the veterans...what a rewarding and fulfilling job! You are so right...they are so humble and act like they just did what was right and that it was no big deal. Oh, to see that same quality in this younger generation that is being raised now! We could all learn much from those old soldiers who so willingly did what they did just because it was the right thing to do. I am so thankful for your sweet visit and kind words, Donna. God bless you abundantly!

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  7. Cheryl...such a great post...my parents both lived to be in their 90s. My dad went first when he was almost 91 and he went from a very independent, strong man to a helpless one without a voice due to a stroke. Upon testing afterwards we found out that unknown cancer was running rampant in his body. Two months later he went on to be with Jesus. Seven years later, my mom at nearly 98 gave her last breath after many health issues...her body was just worn out. She had survived colon and breast cancers diagnosed when she was 80! Since they lived in Ohio and I was in NC, I wasn't there to witness a lot of the "slower pace" but had many siblings who lived it along with Mom, especially. Dad was pretty much a live-wire up until the end. What a beautiful story you tell about your day to day routines. I am so sure they both appreciate all you do for them. Thank you for sharing this special part of your life with us. Hugs!

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    1. Wow, that is just wonderful that God gave both of your parents such a long life and granted you so many years with both of them. I know you miss them now, dear friend, and I trust God to comfort you in every moment of missing them. You are such a blessing to me. May God bless you abundantly, in return!

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  8. My sweet friend, your post greatly touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. What a joy to have such precious in-laws and my, what a blessing to have them in your life for so long. 91 in September...WOW!

    I was touched by how you minister to your in-laws and are there for them - the Lord will surely bless you, dear friend. You are a shining light and your testimony speaks volumes to many.

    I know it must be difficult to grow older, but thankfully we have the Lord and a hope to look forward to...that hope is eternity with Him forever thanks to His gift of salvation. When I hear sweet elderly people share of their desire to do things, but aren't able to my heart truly breaks...

    Such a precious post, my friend. Have a blessed night! Love to you!

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    1. OH, dear friend! I don't know how I missed this comment...I am just now seeing it, and oh, how it touched my heart! Thank you for your sweet visit. It always blesses me when you come by here! Yes, praise the Lord for that hope we have within us that is not rooted in this life, but in the eternal life Jesus came to give us. I got your sweet package in the mail and cannot thank you enough! Sending you much love and gratitude!

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  9. Chery, such a beautiful, hope-filled post. The idea that sometimes, as we walk through different seasons of our lives, we let go of parts of ourselves really struck me. As my sons enter their teen years, I must let go of them more and more.

    Regards
    Luky

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    1. Oh, my! I surely know what you mean...I am facing the same thing with our own, dear son, and it is not an easy thing to do, for sure. May God bless you, my friend, and give you the courage, strength, and grace to face each new day with its unique challenges. Thank you so much for your visit!

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  10. Cheryl, if only all the aging parents in the world could experience this level of loving care! I like the way you recognize the benefits to the caregivers as well as the obvious ones to the cared-for.

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your sweet visit and kind words, Jean! It was such a blessing to me! God bless you, in return. :)

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  11. Beautiful post, Cheryl. I was just reading those verses in Ecclesiastes the other day; you explain them in a good light. Sometimes it is hard for us younger people to understand them as well. That is so awesome your father-in-law is a WWII Veteran. There are getting to be so few left. Saying a prayer the Lord will bless your in-laws with good health and strength for their 90s. Blessings to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your sweet words and encouragement, dear Bethany. God bless you abundantly, in return!

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  12. With best wishes to your father-in-law and your whole family. Praying for you all.

    God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your faithfulness and prayers, Victor. You are a consistent blessing to us!

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  13. I love the perspective you wrote this. This is something I find myself thinking about as I watch grandparents die or simply just getting older. My in laws also older and seeing them as they continue to slow down as every year passes. It really makes me wish to care more than I do now. To be more intentional. I just wanted to say hi too because i haven't been here in awhile. Trying to play catch up in my email. Lol. Thank you for sharing this. Hope you are well.

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    1. I am so thankful to see that you were here, dear Kristina! I feel so bad that it has been ages since I have been to visit you. It just seems there are not enough hours in the day! So thankful for you and your sweet encouragement. Sending you much love and gratitude! God bless you!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family with us, dear friend. Thank the Lord that your family can be there to assist and bless your in-laws. Our lives keep flowing like a stream don't they? God is growing us in all seasons of life. May God bless you mightily in this season. Love, Debby

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    1. Yes, dear friend, they surely do. There is not stopping point, and we must just follow Jesus wherever He leads. It was so good to see that you were here...I have missed you and our visits. God bless you abundantly. Sending you love and hugs and hopes that you are well.

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  15. Cheryl, You are one of the most compassionate, caring, loving, humble, selfless, giving people I have ever had the honor of knowing. You are such an inspiration of a life lived wholly for Christ through your outward loving sacrifices to anyone you come in contact with.

    This was the most poignant, humble, sweet blog post I have ever read.

    Your perspective and insights on caring for elderly loved ones was very thought-provoking. My parents are a "young late 70s". They are still very active. My dad still hikes and kayaks and my mom walks three miles each day of the weekend. But having said that, they are starting to slow down. They nap more and are more set in their ways. My mom's hearing has deteriorated to almost deafness. Because they are still so vibrant, it's hard for me to accept sometimes when they are ready to leave by 7:30 p.m. or when they might tell me the same story again. But indeed, at their age, they will tire more easily and their minds are not as fresh as they once were.

    Thank you sweet friend for sharing this precious glimpse into your life right now. It touched me deeply.

    Sending you much love,

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    1. Dear Karen! Your words are so precious to me...I feel very undeserving of such loving encouragement, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are such a consistent blessing to me, and I thank the dear Lord for you and your dear friendship. May He just bless you in a big way, sweet friend!

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  16. Dear Cheryl. I think it's wonderful that you are caring for your elderly parents-in-law instead of seeing them in a nursing home. So many oldsters end up there, shut away from the world, lonely and forgotten. God has given you great strength to do this precious service. "This, too, shall pass." It will and you will never, ever, ever regret your sacrifices. Sincerely, Susan

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    1. Dear Susan, thank you so very much for your kind words and sweet visit. We don't know what the future will hold, but will do what we can as long as possible. There comes a point when we can no longer do certain things, and all of us are preparing for that possibility. God is in control, and He is our refuge and strength. Sending you love and many thanks for your encouragement, sweet friend. :)

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  17. I like so many things about this post, but especially the way you all do family. I can picture you cooking up a special gravy favorite for breakfast and enjoy the family routine. It is so hard to grow older and accept that things get harder to do and harder to hear! Bless you for being there for your in-laws. They must love you to pieces! Hugs to you!

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    1. They are precious to my heart, and they have always been so incredibly good to me through the years. I owe them whatever possible help I can give them at this difficult season of their lives. Thank you for your dear visit, sweet friend. You always brighten my day. God bless you for the blessing you are to me and so many others!

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  18. What a beautiful post this is. "Slowing down to their pace" is a wonderful sentiment and I am sure your parents are appreciative. This post really reminds me of a book I recently finished on the subject of care-giving called "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent" by author Steffania Shaffer. This is an author who has gone through this stage in life and one of my favorite parts of her story is the “changing of the guard”, per se. As daughter becomes parent, child becomes care-taker, we as the readers are made vigorously aware of how fragile this beautiful life, which we tend to take for granted, actually is. If you are looking for something to make you laugh, cry, reflect, or all of the above, then this is a must read. Even someone that can’t directly relate to this situation can draw some valuable life lessons and perspective. I would absolutely suggest giving it a read. You can learn more about it here - http://stefaniashaffer.com/
    Thank you again for sharing such a personal experience with your readers

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    1. Reversing roles with a parent is surely not an easy thing to do...much less, accept. When the ones we have depended upon for so long to take care of us, now need us to take care of them, the challenge is near-overwhelming. Thank the dear Lord, His grace is sufficient for each new day, and we learn to lean upon Him more and more. I went through this with my own dear parents, and now I face seeing my husband go through it with his. God is faithful. Thank you for your visit, Deborah, and for your book recommendation. I will definitely visit the link! Come back anytime, and God bless you!

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  19. praying for your precious family, love you very much.

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    1. I love you very much, too, dear friend. I think of you often and always wonder how you are. God bless you and heal you. It means so much that you stopped by!

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  20. I find myself in the pauses of your story- on the brink of the days that are without parents, and I find myself sometimes tortured with the knowledge (or actually mystery) of what is to come. The only solace I find is to live in the moment with them both now. You are a sweet soul to make your mother and father in law's last years so precious. Blessings to you all.

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    1. Oh, dear Terri! I have walked where you now walk, and my heart truly goes out to you. Losing a parent is truly one of life's greatest sorrows...and standing in the shadows just "waiting for it to happen" is agonizing, to say the least. If you ever need to talk, I am here. God bless you and comfort you and give you courage for each new day.

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  21. Dearest friend, what a perfectly beautiful post this is. You will know how it resonated with my heart - (the tears and the kleenex are a hint...) Dad Smith is a precious, precious man - and that picture of him with Easton is priceless. There are few things that speak more to me about God's faithfulness than an older person holding a baby. I know I am overwhelmed when I see my mother with my granddaughter. God, spanning the decades, it's just so special.

    I read your words with a lump in my throat. All too often I am caught up in the grief of the journey with my mother, the letting go of who she used to be. I get frustrated at the memory loss, mostly because it hurts so much to lose my best friend. Her indecisiveness and fears stymie me at times. And truthfully, it's hard because I know that, if the Lord so wills it, I am looking at my own future of aging. If it wasn't for the Lord, I don't think I could take another step.

    But I love how you've encouraged me to let go and slow down. Interestingly enough, it's what I have to do to be with my granddaughter. And in some ways, my mother has returned to being a child. Patience is what is required with these precious ones who live at the opposite ends of the life process. May the Lord teach me grace.

    One more thing - there are moments of special peace and timelessness in the journey, too. There was a moment on my recent trip, when I returned home after the caregiver had put my mother to bed. I came in quietly, hoping not to wake her. Then I heard, "Sharon, is that you?" I went into her bedroom, and she was so glad to see me. I laid down on the bed next to her, and while she gently stroked my hair, we talked for a long time in the dark. It occurred to me that I had had the privilege of experiencing a moment of heaven's promise.

    GOD BLESS!

    (I have been out of town for a month, and just today opened the gift you sent me! I had no idea - I never win anything!! Thank you so much, and forgive my tardiness in letting you know I received it, and my gratitude for it! Could you please send me an email at your convenience? I've misplaced your new one, and would love to catch up! Love you...)

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    1. Oh, dear Sharon! You words have blessed me more than I can even say. I could never thank you enough for sharing your heart here. The precious story about lying beside your dear mother just melted my heart. You are such a dear blessing to me and to everyone who knows you. Sending you much love and gratitude, sweet friend.

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  22. Cheryl I am so happy you can enjoy your husband's parents during their late years. When my mother was alive, we had to tell her not to climb her ladder any more to remove the tarp over her water cooler in the summer. Robert took on that chore for her. She lives about 11 miles from us so we could check on her often. After several falls, she came to live with us for a time until it became necessary to find an assisted living for dementia citizens. Thank you for sharing with us your day with the 90 year old Smiths, here at tell me a story.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comments, Hazel. It is always such a blessing when you come by. I appreciate your sharing your memories of your dear mother. God bless you, my friend!

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  23. You are reminding me of the 15 years I cared for my mother. Precious are the memories of those days. Some were extremely hard, and others were so sweet. I, too, had to learn to let go of the way Mama was and see her as the woman she was becoming with her limitations, yet see the beautiful woman within still alive and loving. I cherish those years and remember my family when we were all so much younger. I am grateful that God allows memories to rise to the surface and float. It is good. Thank you for caring for your parents-in-laws with love and kindness.

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    1. Oh, how precious your memories! I know you surely do cherish them as they come to mind. You will never regret what you did for her, and I know God is so pleased with your sacrifices. Thank you so very much for sharing your heart with us here. You are such a blessing!

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  24. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your life and the lives of loved ones. Even if a person doesn't believe in the Bible in youth, the Truth of it should become very obvious with time. In the end it is exactly as God had spelled out for us. We're just the next, blessed ones, in line. May we live with contentment and honor our Father in the days He grants us.

    I'm in-between. Time for me to pay mom a visit. It's a pretty simple time… the kind that make a heart and soul beat easy. Thanks for the reminder, sister.

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    1. You are so right...the truth does become more obvious with time. I am so thankful you still have your mother to go and visit, and grateful that you are in a peaceful season right now. God bless you, brother.

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  25. What a cherished time you have spending them with your Father n Law! Thank you for sharing your story and using God's word as the backdrop. God Bless!

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    1. And, thank you, dear Lisa, for your visit and kind words and support! God bless you, too!!

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  26. In the last year my life has taken a new turn because of the slowing down of my body. I have gained hearing aides, a knee brace, a wrist brace and a cane. My medicine pill box has become fuller and I know there is still more to come. I try to not have to get on my knees to do anything because I can hardly get up. I strive to grow old gracefully but my body cannot be graceful anymore. But with the mind of Christ I can become more gracious with my attitude. I think your father in law has it right, eat home made gravy and bread daily and getting older can be a blessing. How blessed your inlaws are to have a daughter in law who appreciates them where they are. Your post made me miss my Mom.

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    1. Dear Betty! I am so sorry to know of your health issues. I so appreciate you sharing with us here, and it reminds me of the Scripture that says though the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day. You are such a dear blessing to us all in blogland. Your presence here is a gift. May God be with you and hold you close during this season of life. Sending you love and hugs!

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  27. I'm visiting from Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday. We moved my m-i-l across the country to be near us in an assisted living facility eight years ago, and have watched her decline to the point of being fully bedridden. We brought her to our home three years ago when she got down to 90 lbs. in the nursing home, thinking we were bringing her home to die. But she perked up under one on one care and gained weight. We have someone from a home health agency here a few hours a day so I can run errands, and she's under hospice care, so a nurse checks in on her one day a week. It's been sad to see her decline but it has been a learning experience as well. I can empathize with so much that you said. Thank you!

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    1. Bless your heart, Barbara! You are a shining example of God's love, and the fact that your mother-in-law has improved so much is a wonderful testimony to the loving care you provide to her. She is thriving with you because of your kindness to her. How blessed she is to have you in her life! It was so nice to meet you today! I just visited your blog and subscribed!

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  28. What sweet words and a beautiful ministry to be able to slow down and savor treasured time with dear family. Glad to be your neighbor at #coffeeforyourheart.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet visit, Tiffany. So thankful to be neighbors with you! Sending you love and hugs!

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  29. My mother is 86, 87 later in the year. She is very still quite onto things but her health is starting to let her down a little. But she has a wonderful faith and is quite sure of where she is going when her allotted time is up. As she tells me, it is God who will make that decision and not doctors or any one else. She just tells the doctors she wants quality of life, not quantity at this point.
    Your ministry to your in laws is wonderful and I am sure they love you for it.
    blessings,

    Diana

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    1. That is so wonderful...it sounds like your mother has a very positive, realistic mindset, and what a blessing for you to still have her in your life! So thankful to see your sweet comments and know that you stopped by today, Diana! God bless you and your mother, too!

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  30. Dear Cheryl.... you have a special way (and I know the Lord is working through you!) to put words together to share from your heart, and touch the deepest places in our hearts as we read. I truly was brought to tears as I read this precious tribute to this wonderful man, and how I enjoyed your sharing of Ecc. as you paralleled that to life, getting old, and your father-in-law. Such a sweet precious heart for the Lord you have, and this may just be one of my favorite posts of yours yet... although how that can be I don't know, for you always touch my heart deeply when you write. Much love to you today dear friend, may the Lord continue to bless you and work through you in all you do! Hugs, love and prayers!

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    1. Oh, precious friend! Your words are like apples of gold in pictures of silver to me. I so appreciate the many times you come along and leave encouragement just when I need it the most. Your friendship, support, and prayers are treasured gifts to me. May God bless you abundantly for the blessing you are! Sending you much love and gratitude!

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  31. What a flawless post. I think there is a long way to go from friends and family and individuals who are getting old. I think they welcome the genuine articles in life more than the vast majority of us who think we have a considerable measure of time in this world.

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