Lois lived with us for 11 months now, closing in on a year. It was a difficult decision to say good bye. As soon as we decided to give notice to her guardian, an incredible physical burden was lifted from our shoulders. We felt a lightening of spirit and mind, knowing that after a time we would no longer be responsible for her day to day care. Yet we also felt sadness and regret, knowing that we would rather keep her here. Knowing that unless she is very fortunate, she will not be able to form relationships in the revolving door she will be living in. We know her very intimately. We know her habits, her likes and dislikes, we know how she becomes anxious with change, how new people alternately excite and confuse her. We hope she will form friendships, we hope she find someone happy to sit and listen to her never ending stories, we hope there is someone willing to play music for her on her disc player.
As I packed up her things over the last two days, I thought, this is it. We end with twelve cardboard boxes to our name. And 11 of those boxes are of absolutely no importance to us. For those of us with an Eternal perspective, those boxes don't matter. We may leave this world with nothing to our names, and we will leave it with joy. We will leave family and friends who will grieve our passing, but who will rejoice in our heavenly home and the hope of a future reunion. We do not know what Lois' hope is. It was subject of much discussion in our household. Does the Grace grasped by the mentally unstable affect their lives, when they do not remember what was barely understood moments ago? We grieve for our loss when she leaves and we pray for hope for her.
Lois doesn't know what is in any of those dozen boxes, she can't remember her family members' names, she doesn't know what pyjamas she wore last night. This morning, Mike loaded her things in the van as she sat and had breakfast with the me and the boys. We ate, I helped her take her pills, we laughed at the dog, begging for treats. She noticed Mike moving back and forth and commented on his busyness. But she did not understand what was going on. Her family has told her she is going to rehab for her bad leg, and that story works for us. Why upset her? She may have vague inklings of the happenings around her, but why further sadden and confuse her with fears of a nursing home?
When it was time to leave, the boys gave her extra hugs and kisses, I gave her a little extra hug, but she was quick to let go, quick to move on to her next adventure. "Bye! See you tonight!", she left hanging in the air as she walked out the door.
|I came as a stranger; as a stranger now I leave. The flowers of May once |
welcomed me warmly; a young girl spoke of love, her mother even of marriage.
Now all is bleak--the pathway covered with snow.
The time of departure is not mine to choose; I must find my way alone in
this darkness. With the shadow of the moon at my side, I search for traces of
wildlife in the white snow.
Why should I linger and give them reason to send me away? Let stray hounds
howl outside their master's house. Love likes to wander from one to another,
as if God willed it so. My darling, farewell.
A quiet step, a careful shutting of the door so your sleep is not disturbed,
and two words written on the gate as I leave, "Good night," to let you know I
thought of you.