Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)
TITLE: Yahweh Summons
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My cousins, Betty, Bob, and Dorothy arranged a trip for my aunt to go to Lancaster, PA. for a week. They had asked me to come take care of the dogs and the cat while auntie is away. I am always glad for any excuse to come to this old farmhouse, which represents so much history from my youth. I bring mom with me, but she recalls nothing of these familiar surroundings.
After breakfast and the dishes are done I sit at the round oak table with my laptop open, a prompt for me to begin another writing project. A cup of steaming Earl Grey is at my right hand; while Vera Bradley, the yellow tabby, winds herself around my feet. I watch from the kitchen window as gusts of wind rip the sleeves off of the trees, revealing their twisted gnarled arms, and I am reminded of the story that must be told.
I have wrestled, like Jacob, with God over writing my mom’s journey into this maze of Alzheimer’s disease and the incredible frustration that she, as well as me; her caregiver have encountered. I have kept journals for the past eight years of her regression, days that were significant markers in this silent onslaught of destruction. The plaques and tangles, stealth intruders, invade her brain cells, snuffing memories out, one memory at a time. These weapons of mass destruction have been deteriorating her brain for probably the past 20 years. Now she is in her ninth decade of life, a shadow of who she used to be, and although her mind is being ravished, her vital organs remain intact and functioning.
We live in an era of ageism, negative attitudes, beliefs, and conceptions of the nature and characteristics of older persons that are based on age that distort their actual characteristics and abilities. We, as a society, fear age and spend millions of dollars yearly to camouflage the evidence of the aging process.
In this entire flurry of activity, while society spars with age, where do our elders fit in? The shadow people, like my mom, who live on the fringe, are devalued and forgotten. Caregivers struggle not only with the everyday caring of their loved ones, but they must contend with a medical community that seems to be devoid of compassion and immune to the person behind the façade of Alzheimer’s disease. There are numerous roadblocks presented by the medical system, via its financial and bureaucratic demands; causing increased frustration to the elderly and those who care for them.
I watch mom’s hands; her fingers as thin as piano wire, blue-veined and fluttering like a butterfly. She grasps for unseen objects, people or whatever it is that her mind has projected, lost in her surreal world. Mom may not always remember that I am her daughter, but I will always remember that she is my mother.
I think to myself, God, if you require this of me now; you are going to have to help me tell her story. I thought it would be after she went to her forever home, but I will obey this challenge that you have set before me.
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