Today, we moved Mom to her new room. It went as good as these things can go. When we told her she was moving she said, “okay.” And that was that. We were not allowed to go into the unit or arrange her things, but one of her caregivers was. They came for her belongings and this young woman amazingly got it all put together on the other end, so it looked like a home. God Bless her. Then, with a tearful ‘I love you’ from Dad, they wheeled her away. She will be quarantined for 14 days without any visits from Dad or anyone else. After that he will be allowed to see her once a week for a visit. She will probably do fine with that because she will not likely remember since, time doesn’t exist for her anymore. Dad, on the other hand, will need as much prayer as we can all muster. We took him to lunch, and then he wanted to stop to buy her some flowers. Hard day. Very hard day. The whole thing has me waxing poetic…
A Great Love
I have grown up in the shadow of a Great Love. It embraced me with its branches and covered me with its leaves. The love of my parents has been a refuge which provided safety and protection for me, always. It continues to do so now, even on this hardest of days, it stands as a testament with a life of its own. Great Love is like that. Standing guard over decades and moments. Weaving a tapestry throughout lives and time in equal measure. Even when time stands still in the mind of one and rushes past in the life of the other, it is a sanctuary, a shelter, holding them together in heart, as age and human frailty are pulling them apart.
Great Love found Mom and Dad when they were just 13 and 16-year-old kids going to the same church. Such a love was a haven and, even as young as they were, they recognized it. It grew around them in the same Atlanta community, and followed them through attending rival high schools, and on to distant colleges. Great Love hitchhiked its way across states and back, just so they could be together. Great Love joined them together and brought them 3 kids and 9 grandchildren which, in turn, were all were bonded by its deep roots. They all climbed into its arms and found their own strength within its branches. It always reached them, and no matter how far they traveled, they always returned home to the shelter of this Great Love passed along to generations.
Now, their Great Love is being tested. It is at its most beautiful stage. The maturity of its foliage is breathtaking. The sorrow of its weeping is exquisite, in the mingling of love and grief. Great Love knows its curators. It picks them carefully, knowing that when the time for their parting is approaching, they will cultivate it in the midst of the harshest of seasons. They will rest in it, knowing its strength. Trusting it and one another. In this most difficult mental and physical separation, which hasn’t happened since they were kids, Great Love is still affectionate, gentle, and kind even with tears spilling and splashing its leaves. In the moving of Mom from one apartment to another, from one level of care to another, Dad is still high in the branches allowing Great Love to carry him.
It would be easier to look away. It would hurt less. But averting my gaze would rob Great Love of its ability to transform suffering into beauty. It would stop me short of seeing sacrifice unfurl into a canopy of comfort, which brings shade to those of us nestled within its branches and settled in its shade. I would be remiss to look away from so rich an inheritance, so lovely a legacy. Instead, I will open my tear-filled eyes and stare into this Great Love. I will watch the heartache distance brings, and celebrate the fact that Great Love knows no separation of souls.
This long goodbye is excruciating for all of us. There are so many stops and starts along this winding road. Each is necessary. Each is painfully mixed, bitter with sweet. All of them are a part of the story of the Great Love of which I am honored to be a witness.