Saturday night my mother passed way quietly in her sleep. It was 40 years on this day that my father died. At age 91, my mother had suffered the memory robbing Alzheimer’s Disease for the past ten years. It is a cruel disease that is very hard on the caregivers for these patients.
My mother lived a very full and active life. She was the model of the post-war bride and housewife through the 50s and 60s. In 1970 her life changed dramatically with my father’s death. With three teenagers she became a working mother as a school cafeteria cook. This job gave her new life and purpose. The close friendships of these cooks carried her through the grieving of my father’s death and in 1975 my sisters death in a car-train wreck.
As the sole survivor of her five siblings, my mother witnessed the declining health of her brothers and sisters. She had many times said that she would never want to live if she was stricken by Alzheimer’s. I remember the day at University Hospitals when she was diagnosed. The doctor gave her the diagnosis; she gasped; and minutes later was unaware of what had transpired. So, the journey began on this new chapter of her life.
Aside from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, my mother enjoyed a good life over the past 10 years. She suffered no major illnesses and was seldom ill with even a cold or flu. She was able to stay at home under the excellent care of Nancy her caregiver and my brother. They always made sure she got out of the house whenever possible to enjoy life. They truly made her life worth living.
Sunday evening we met with my mother’s pastor and the funeral director planning her visitation hours and funeral. We had preplanned as much as possible, but there is still plenty to do. Her pastor is a wonderful person. Her funeral service will include communion as a celebration of her life on earth and her new life in heaven.
My brother and I are partial to “On Eagle Wings”. We chose Isaiah 40:31 as the Bible verse on her memorial card. This is the verse that inspired this song. Although there is sadness mixed with a sense of relief in our family, we know that she is a much better place, living a life where she will walk and never be weary.
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.