Have you laughed today? How about yesterday or the day before? When was the last time you REALLY laughed? The self combustible kind that erupts without your control. The deep in your belly laughter you can’t suppress even if you tried.
What about fun. What sounds like fun to you? When was the last time you had fun, childlike fun. If these feel like hard questions… I for one, think you are overdue.
Our Escape Hatch
I get it. The current times are serious and the pandemic still constrains us. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we desperately need to exhale. We need an escape hatch. Some healthy restorative stress relief.
Life can be hard. And God made provision.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 promises that there is A Time for Everything.
A Time for Everything
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 1 For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
Mom Has Busted Out
Perhaps influenced by our losses of 2020 and thoughts of should-a, would-a, could-a, we have busted mother out of assisted living. Thanks to my sister Diana, mom has moved into her home, to spend time surrounded by the mayhem of family with no plexiglass and lots of human touch. Thankful that Becca is in Pittsburgh and can join us on the weekends, Ian and I are hanging out in Pennsylvania for an extended time to help with mom’s care.
This plaque hangs prominently in my sister’s family room. And here for my third day, I’ve experienced all of it, intensely. Every word of it rings true.
I was delighted to come, but not sure what to expect. Mom has declined and Parkinson’s owns her body. She is dependent on help for most of her daily needs. But…life in her presence is not austere. And that has been healing for my soul.
Unable to use her legs, transferring is essential — from bed to soft chair, to toilet, to wheelchair etc. After observing a couple of times, I was ready. With mom’s arms around my neck I counted to three to hoist her to standing. We stood together, tightly holding each other up.
With the toilet chair adjacent, I froze. What is the next step? I couldn’t release my grip to call for help nor could I remember. Trying not to panic I, reassured mom. “Don’t worry mom, I’m strong, I can stand here for a long time… I guess this is proof that I’m the B-Team.” And then… mom couldn’t help herself. I felt her body begin to gently shake. The rumble grew and I realized she was giggling. Chest to chest, unable to see her eyes I said, “Mom, are you laughing at me?” No response, just more laughter consumed her frail body. Good thing that safety measures were already in place.
After that first transfer and all the giggles, we were both in need of a change. Even though my transfer skills have improved, laughter is still ever-present.
“Good morning mother,” I announce as I enter her room. Her wide eyes relax slightly and with a soft raspy voice she manages “good morning sweetheart, happy to see the B-team.”
It makes me wonder if just maybe laughter was God’s idea in the first place. His provision to lighten the heavy things we carry. After all, He is the creator.
Want to know someone’s priorities, look at their calendar. We make room for what matters.
Our Release Valve
Maybe this pandemic which has taken so much already, is messing with our God given release valve. The way I see it, in serious times, fun and laughter is even more important. Perhaps it’s time to make it a priority.
I’m reminded of an ocean, a fun-seekers paradise. Still, it demands respect. Going in the water can be dangerous. So it is with our approach to fun.
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
We lose our way when we seek more than just refreshment. We drink too much, eat too much, watch too much of the wrong things… all in an attempt to never leave the water, to avoid present reality. Escapism is perverted fun, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A Spiritual Discipline
In my view it’s not always deliberate. I think sometimes our souls become lazy. We go for what is easier, not always what is better. What if we consider fun a spiritual discipline. Since 2021 is still limiting we should take this opportunity for skill development, to get good at having healthy restorative fun.
Yes to some pickle ball, a new recipe, singing in the car at the top of my lungs. Yes to dreaming about my next vacation, to playing in the snow, to a long walk while listening to my book.
Necessary for the Rhythm of Life
Of course our lists will differ. But God created us all to enjoy life.
While Mother is on hospice at the end of her days, it has been our light-hearted banter that has helped me to enjoy and savor this hard, but privileged work. So Mother, what sounds like fun to you? “Not being in pain and seeing my buddy again.” A time for every purpose under heaven.
What sounds fun to you? Perhaps it’s time.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke
Kay M. Emigh says
My Mother too had Parkinson’s the last 21 years of her life. The last 6 months she was in a nursing home near Tom and I. I had lived away for 23 years. As strange as it may sound, I treasured those 6 months I was able to see her everyday. Treasure the time despite the sometime difficult tasks. No regrets !
Kay… thank you. Yes… we feel good about our decision. You know what we’re dealing with… Parkinson’s is cruel.
Betsy Everett says
Your writing is so descriptive and vivid that I felt like I was right there with you, holding your mother up- a maneuver I have personally done a hundred times! And then to hear your mom laughing – so precious. I am very happy you have this time with her as I know it is an honor to care for our elders. I will forever remember the time I was able to spend with my parents in their final years.
Yes, I’m sure you can imagine. And, you’re right…. it is an honor.
Anne kole says
Your mother is a treasure, able to laugh in the middle of pain! The work you are doing with her has eternal value. I will never regret caring for my mother-in-law in our home for 4 years. So difficult and so right. Thank you for sharing honestly your joys and challenges. And I could use a good laugh these days! You’ve reminded me to look for it. Praying for you and your mother.
Thank you Anne. I love that thought… that this is holy work. Thank you for that insight.
Thanks for reminding me to laugh out loud! I sure needed it today.
Your writing is such a gift.
Good to hear from you Rhonda. Yes… laughter is good medicine.
Sandi Duval says
Your writing is frank, funny, heart wrenching and uplifting.
Many years ago, about 1978, I selected a different dorm for yr 2 at ISU in Normal. Several women on that floor had physical disabilities that inhibited their independence. As a child, I had a neighbor who fostered children of all races, abilities and ages. I loved playing with them and admired their fortitude. I remember helping at church when we hosted a day of activities for disabled adults so they could get out of their assisted living home and just have FUN. These interactions opened my heart and eyes to love them without prejudice. I transferred friends in and out of wheelchairs, vehicles, bathrooms…I even helped carry one of my brides maids up the church steps for my wedding(in my gown, my mother was aghast ) because I knew how. All of these experiences enlarged my heart to spread love to the most needy. Serving others without demeaning them enriches my life. Sometimes the little things speak volumes, a smile, holding a door, giving my cart at Aldi to the next shopper, letting someone to cut in front of me.
All of these little acts of grace keeps us grounded in Him, who gave up his life for us. You will never regret this bonus time with your family. I find it more sacred as I too age and need help now and then. Living fully in Jesus requires love, hope fortitude and surrender. Your mother has surrendered the care of her earthly body to her family. In doing so, she is showing you how to let go and let Him be your guide.
Thank you Sandi for your helpful perspective. I know that being the mom of a young adult with a TBI has changed me, just as you describe. That’s why all the hard stuff is an important part of our stories. God thought of everything.
This time last year my sister & I were doing the same thing together for our dad. Leading up to his final days we all had a lot of laughs mainly because like your mom he did not lose his humor.
I think about those 2-3 months caring for him in his home (thank you God) close to the top of special memories! Hardly a day goes by that in some way I think about it. Debbie, you will NEVER regret what you are doing.
God be with you all!
Sounds like we need to keep an eye on hubby! Love you all.
We feel good about this decision. Thank you Karen.
Melissa Harris Blaine says
As always …perfect words…and in perfect time. Your gift of writing is just what the soul needs and reading your message always brings a smile, touches my heart and lifts me up in some way!
Blessings to you and your time with your mother.
And I smile as I recall my precious time with my Mother and Morher-in-Law….it was truly an honor to be with each of them in this season of life.
Good to hear from you Melissa. Thank you for your reassurance.
Emmy Browning says
Beautiful blog. Cherish every hard and sweet moment. I always felt it was a privilege to be with mom and dad in their final years. Still miss them and the fun we had
Thank you Emmy. Hard and sweet all wrapped together… indeed.
John Reith says
Thanks Debbie. This was a bittersweet reminder of my mom’s long battle with Parkinson’s. My mom was released from her “prison” on Oct.16, 2010. It isn’t easy seeing someone you love so much be reduced to a shell of what you knew as a beautiful human being. You will never regret the time you are presently spending with your mom. God bless you. God is with you.
Thank you for the affirmation. Indeed, I feel His presence.
Mary werner says
Awesome words, as usual. They brought memories back to me of caring for my mom, dad and step mother. None had Parkinson’s, all had cancer—-it was an honor being able to with them till the end. My dad didn’t find humor or laughter in anything at the time.(. He had always been a kind, fun-loving man). The dying process was very hard. On the other hand, mom and my step mother were both very gracious, positive, grateful, and they could find humor in little things. Being a care giver is tremendously hard work physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it is a gift and a privilege!!! And how wonderful it is that your mom gets to be at your sister’s home with your family all around her!! I wish that for all people. What a blessing! May God Bless your mom and your whole family!!!❤️❤️🙏❤️💕🙏🙏
Thank you Mary.
These moments are so precious, Debbie. Enjoy every single minute that you have left. Brings back my memories with my mother on hospice and her sense of humor right until the very last, so very typical of her.
I cherish that and so will you.
Absolutely. Bonus time.
Vickie Everitt says
I was right there with your mom giggling!! It was a joy to read this. It was written in such a way I couldn’t help but feel I was in the room–I could feel the laugh bubbling up. Thinking of you and your family. God’s grace and mercy. Life’s treasure is to be with someone in their final earthly days. Such peace.
Awwww…. thank you Vickie.
Roberta Burns says
I have had a similar experience several years ago with my mother. My parents were in a very bad car accident in February 1971 near my hometown in LaPorte, Indiana. I was married and living in Peoria and my oldest daughter was 13 months at the time. My father only lived a month after the accident and died a month before turning 49 . I had a sixteen year old sister still living at home and essentially she lost both of her parents in the accident because our father died and my mother had sever brain damage from the accident. Mother spent almost 2 years in a nursing home recovering and then I decided to try having her come and live in our home and it turned out to be a great decision. This was the only grandparent my girls had. My girls would play with her and she enjoyed all the 13 years she was with us. Today they talk about all the fun times they had with grandma and we laugh about all the things they would do with her. My only granddaughter is named after my mother. It blessed them beyond words. It probably also helped to make my first marriage fall apart because I was raising children, caring for my mother and working. I would do it all over again because it ws such a joy for my children.
Thank you for sharing Roberta.
Lyn Harmon says
Thank you for your inspiring thoughts. I have fond memories of breakfasts with your mom at the Waffle Shop—always her treat. I was a stand in for your dad when he had another obligation. She was cheerful and fun, very much the optimist. Please give her my love and let her know I think of her often. Such a special lady.
Thank you Lyn. Rita remembers your times together.
bonnie scott says
When you lose your mother my dear you lose your best friend. My mother told me that years ago when her mother passed – I probably blew it off, until I lost my mom many years ago, I truly lost my best friend. I continue to converse with her frequently..! Especially at Thanksgiving, she made the best gravy – so every Thanksgiving I pray she’s with me to make the gravy. She hasn’t failed me yet. Boy I miss my mother for so many reasons. I was 25 yrs. old when she went to be with the Lord, I’m now 78 yrs, old. I LOVE YOU MOM everyday.
Aww what a sweet tribute to your mother. Thank you Bonnie.
What a treasure it is to read your blog! It made me smile to read your mom’s laughter though…as a nurse I can so relate to that.
I hope you’re enjoying every moment with the family, reminiscing the times you had with each other.
Blessings to you my friend.
So kind Frida. Bittersweet and special.
Berta Pitzer says
I LOVE this!!! YES to lighten up!!! I love how your Mom laughed in the midst of stress! May all of us choose to take life lighter! That’s what I’ve been talking with God about! Don’t take myself or the life around me so seriously!!
I’m thrilled you get this time with your Mom! What a gift to both of you!
We always seem to be on the same God track. I can just imagine your joyous laughter. 🙃
chris darr says
I’m so glad you can spend time with your mother. I have a soft spot in my heart for her. While the circumstances are difficult, they are still times for you both to treasure.
Chris … so wonderful to hear from you. Thank you. Treasured time for sure.
Ruthie Mendoza says
May you be blessed by this “hard, but privileged work,” Debbie. Our family was so blessed by walking, amid laughter and tears, beside Mom through her passing.
Thank you Ruthie.
You Mom is so blessed. I am sure it is blessing to all of you. Know that you all are in our prayers.
Thank you Dottie.
Meghan Roeshot says
Love this Debbie, thank you for sharing.
🙂 I am missing our precious and intimate time together.