Thursday, May 13, 2010
It's amazing how once a mother those abilities and emotions that come with motherhood never fade. Even when attacked by a disease like Alzheimer's. On Mother's Day I walked into our Grandma Ella's room to give her a hug and discovered that her daughter was visiting. I had no idea she was going to be here for Mother's Day. At first, I felt excitement because I was so happy that she had her daughter's companionship on that day, but as I looked closer Ella's daughter had her face burrowed into her mother's lap and her moving shoulders were giving away what she was trying to hide, the fact that she was sobbing relentlessly. Recently she lost her two only brothers, Grandma's two boys. One expected and a week later, one unexpected. She came to be comforted by her mother. Which also brings forth the pain of no longer having her same mother to be comforted by. At least on the outside. This is a mother who can no longer speak more than a few sensible words and who constantly has her toes pointed in the air. A far cry from the spirited and vibrant women she once knew. Grandma Ella is suffering from Alzheimer's. Her's was a fast and severe deterioration. You would think there was nothing left of that same woman, but as I looked at Grandma Ella's face, seeing her red-rimmed eyes brimming with tears spoke a different story. She made eye contact as slowly a tear slid down her face and gave me a look that painfully asked why? Unable to tell her, I started crying as well. My heart breaking for the woman trapped inside her own body, suffering the pain of her daughter as if it was her own even though she was unaware of the why. Comforting her daughter the only way she can, silently patting her shoulder with tears streaming down her aged face. Now that I am a mother, I understand that deep desire to take on our child's suffering. How each time my child is hurting, I wish I could suffer instead and the inability to do so only brings on a new form of pain. This perspective has given me more empathy toward what God goes through on a daily basis. That is what showed on sweet Grandma Ella's face. We are keeping her sons' deaths a secret. We don't want to force her to endure a pain she would have to silently bear. She may have holes in her brain, but she is still there, no holes in her heart. Still the loving mother with a deep passionate heart for her children.