Walking Each Other Home
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
I write these words as I sit with my mom, who has battled Alzheimer’s since 2014. She suffered a seizure on Friday, and now we wait to see if she will wake up from the effects of the seizure. The words come from my heart, so forgive me if I break all the grammar rules.
For the past two years, I have felt an urge to go back and transcribe my journals. No small task since I have journaled for 19 years. Without any thought, I picked up a journal and start reading... it's December 3, 2018.
On that particular day, I wrote about my struggle to stay engaged with my mom the past 5 years. To watch Alzheimer’s deconstruct her brain left me with hopelessness. In my journal, I wrote about my feelings of failure in caring for my mom. Many times I disassociated myself from her pain and confusion. Leaving me with consuming guilt and shame.
Surely I could be a better daughter than this!
How does anyone walk beside another without being swept away by the enormity of hopelessness and futility in the circumstance?
“We are all just walking each other home." Ram Dass
But as I poured out my thoughts on paper that day, I realized my mom and me have been in very similar places. She facing her own physical death and me facing my own spiritual death.
With the passing of each day, my mother’s health continued to fail due to Alzheimer’s. She needed more of my time, leaving me to watch my much-loved ministry slowly diminish and die.
I could see the helplessness in her eyes. And I imagine she could see the helplessness in mine.
As I sat there thinking about what I had written, a gentle question drifted through my mind.
What if the tomb is a womb? Both are dark, quiet, and lonely. But both are pregnant with something new - something beautiful, hidden away from our eyes, our world.
What if my mom and I are in a womb? That changes everything! We are really at the beginning of something new.
Rather than seeing loss, I can see goodness unfolding right in front of my eyes. Soon mom will transition into an "I-can-only-imagine" world. And if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will help others see goodness within themselves. Our journeys are actually pregnant with fresh hope and anticipation.
But, here and now, with hard stuff still ahead of us both, we walk together hand in hand while remembering, crying, and loving… as best we can.