old age

Ask for mercy. Tonight, when you go to bed, before you fall asleep, ask for mercy.

When we are young, we want to live  forever, but that forever means staying healthy in body and mind. We are not familiar with God’s waiting rooms, with wheelchairs and walkers, with diapers for adults, with restraints that won’t let people stand up for fear of their falling. We are not familiar with adults having to be fed, one spoon at a time with food ground to a consistency of mush.

Ask for mercy, ask for an easy death or a long life with good health.
We all die. It is only the way of our death that is unknown until it occurs.

My mother is in a nursing home. At eighty-nine, she has macular degeneration and growing deafness. Her world has grown narrow. Her joy is using her walker to traverse the halls, the Friday night Happy Hour when local musicians entertain , the hymn singing. “I like music,” she said to me last week.

Two days ago, her caregiver noticed she her left eye was swollen and red. She arranged for the handyvan totake my mother to the local optometrist. My mother isn’t able to do that for herself. It appeared that there was a cyst in the middle of her eye. My mother’s caregiver arranged for the handyvan to take her to Winnipeg to see a specialist. It wasn’t an emergency but it was urgent. I drove to Winnipeg and met them at the Manitoba Clinic.

It took both of us to manoeuvre my mother’s wheelchair so the specialist could look into her eye. We had to help her sit forward and upright. The diagnosis? She has a viral infection that is the same as that which creates a cold sore. “Never heard of that before,” I said. She has to have drops put in her eye nine times a day for a week, then six times a day for a week, then three times a day for a week. Someone will have to do it for her.

The handyvan and my mother and her caregiver left and I went about my business. Driving my own car, making my own decisions, spending my own money. My mother will be wheeled into Betel. She will probably sit in the lobby with the others who gather there every day. They do not speak to each other but sit and wait in God’s waiting room, close to the doors that lock if they come too close.

Tonight, before you fall asleep, ask for mercy. For an easy death or a long life with good health.