We have my husband’s 82 year old mother living with us right now. And she is dieing. Not acutely dieing, but slowly winding down. Day by day she’s getting weaker in the body. How am I approaching this?
I’m angry at her!
You may be asking right now. “But why?”
Because I see her not trying to prevent the downward spiral she’s in. She doesn’t eat anything healthy; eats only fast food hamburgers, diet cokes, and chocolate. She won’t walk anymore. She won’t do anything other than watch TV. She hardly ever comes out of her bedroom but sits in her lazy-boy chair and watches TV shows like Law & Order SVU and Criminal Minds. It looks like she’s trying to die.
With my natural thinking, I’m feeling anger towards her.
But this is not how I want it to be. I needed a new way to think about this situation.
And so I asked God what I could do about this. I didn’t ask “Why?” I asked “What?” What could I do?
Here’s what I got from Him.
“Rearrange the furniture in your head Robin.”
Say Wa’ ?
“Think about this… If when you were 82, and your body was slowly beginning to die, how would you want to be treated by those around you?”
I thought about this for a minute.
How would I want to be treated? What would it feel like if I were her? To be 82? To see my body slowly dieing right before my eyes?
The answer was obvious.
I would want those around me to empathize, sympathize and be near by, so I wouldn’t have to feel like I was leaving this planet – alone.
And this is how I am “rearranging the furniture [the thoughts I am having] in my head”. Now, whenever my mom-in-law comes into my thinking, I am rearranging my thoughts around it.
Instead of thinking with my old arrangement … which is …
“How could she be doing this?!! How could she not take any kind of care about herself, or her body?! I don’t want to get near her! I don’t want to watch her kill herself the way she’s doing!”
I’m rearranging the furniture in a new way, so that it looks like this …
“She knows she’s slowly dieing and it’s frightening to her. She doesn’t want to go through the journey toward death, alone. I want to be her friend and be there with her on this frightening passage she must take. I want her to know that I will be with her – and love her – to the end.”
And, with this new arrangement I can be – there with her – to the end.
So I will keep rearranging the furniture in my head; over and over again; until it finally stays put – by itself.
Because I so much more like this new furniture arrangement
– in my head –
* * * * * * *
I hope I have communicated well enough what I understand about this. I have done the best I can. But it’s hard to put into language what Pops reveals to me in my heart. I fully realize I don’t have a corner on the market in knowing how to live the spiritual life. If there are parts missing, or parts that don’t make sense, please ask Him about this. I know He will fill in any gaps in understanding – in mine or in yours. So I’m open to any input about what God has revealed to you in this.