As many of you know, I care for my 85-year-old mom, Grace. She suffers from dementia. Grace also cared for her mother, Ruth, who died thirteen years ago at the age of 94. My mom suffered a stroke while my grandmother was in hospice. The stress on me during that time was great.
When I was little, Grandma Ruth had an unusual way of punishing me. She was a church-going woman and to punish me she would pick a scripture out of the Bible that pertained to my mischief of the week. I had to memorize it and then recite it to her and my grandpa. I really despised them at that moment but I never realized it would help me later on in life.
When Grandmother was in hospice I visited her every day. I was exhausted because Mom had just had a stroke and we placed Mom in assisted living the week before to recover. That’s a lot to deal with at 29 with two little kids, a husband and a full-time job.
Grandmother Ruth stopped eating, would talk in half sentences and seemed to be touch and go for days. One night I laid my head on her bed and felt defeated. I felt a little hand on my head and I looked up and she said, “Don’t you know a day in Heaven is better than 1,000 days on earth? You should know that.” Then she shook her head disgusted like I was an idiot for not knowing she was going to a better place. I couldn’t remember where that scripture was and I laughed because she knew I didn’t remember either.
I guess that was her last lesson for me to learn and a scripture I will never forget. Psalm 84:10: “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.”
When I get tired from taking care of my mom I hear, “Be not weary in doing good because later your reward will be great.” I feel that somehow she whispers that to me still. So my punishment of reciting scripture did pay off and I am glad that is my last memory with Grandma Ruth. She passed soon after speaking those words.
I shared this story to make sure that those of you that are nearing the final stages of caregiving don’t lose hope. I found comfort in knowing some form of peace and humor can come from your caree and or from up above in your darkest moment.