Wednesday, June 12, 2013, started as a normal day in my home. I was preparing breakfast and cleaning up, my children were waking up to another beautiful summer day, and my mom strolled down the stairs to eat breakfast in her favorite spot. She commented on the beautiful day as she always had done, and she asked ever so sweetly, “Is it going to be 100 degrees today?”
“Yes, mom,” I replied. “It is going to be another hot, beautiful day in Arizona.” Within five minutes I knew that she would repeat herself again, in the innocence of her struggle with dementia. I decided to be extra patient with her this day, for a reason I didn’t even understand. I thought that maybe my prayers were working; I was thinking that God was granting me more patience with her as I spent day after day doing the same thing, answering the same questions, and listening to the same sweet comments.
Lunch time rolled around and there were six hungry kids at my house. Three of my own and three extra friends who came over to play for the day. My mom wanted to watch TV, but our HD converter was not bringing in a good signal. So, I decided to play a DVD that would not require any adjustment to the rabbit ears (yes, we do have rabbit ears, and no cable box).
The afternoon was moving along smoothly until I decided to wander upstairs for a small break from the hustle and bustle of children playing downstairs. 4:30 p.m. will be forever etched into my mind, as my world came crashing down with my mom’s collapse.
Frantic screams came from the bottom of the stairs, “Mom! Grandma fell down!” I flew down the stairs within seconds, to find my mother being propped up by my child, unable to communicate and limp on her right side. I knew it when I saw it: she was having a stroke.
In skipping all the gory details, my mom was rushed to the hospital with the diagnosis of a massive, irreversible hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. Only 20 hours later we would be saying goodbye through a flood of tears and emotions I have never felt before in my life.
As I review the events of the past week, I have so many thoughts that are hard to compartmentalize. I can only summarize how I am feeling by the title of this post: I am feeling the peace of God in the “eye” of this storm.
You see, I have been my mom’s caregiver for almost 4 years to this point in time. With her survival of a car accident to her diagnosis of dementia, I have been her “eye” in her storm. Her faith in Jesus never waivered, but her physical and emotional dependence rested on me. Just as she felt peaceful in my presence day after day, I am now learning to find that peace in my faith in God.
Everyone I know has had (or is having) a storm in their lives. Whether it is brewing at full force, or if it has finally passed, there is nothing more assuring than finding that sweet spot in the “eye.” It is a precise circle of perfect calm, in the geometric center of all the chaos, the fury, and the unexpected.
The “eye” of my storm will always be my faith in Jesus. I will not stop ever believing in his name, his mission, and his purpose. I am so thankful for my sweet mom, who has now passed on into eternity, for she was the one who showed me the way to knowing God. She was my first mentor of learning how to find that sweet peace in the midst of life’s storms.
On June 13, 2013, she took her final breath on earth, and stepped into eternal glory. She made it through her storm. She stood in the eye, waiting for exit unto salvation. As much as I miss her right now, I am so happy for her. She is finally at peace, resting in God’s arms, watching down over me to make sure I am staying strong.
I love you, mom. You will be forever in my heart.