Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Language of Love



“The party’s over, it’s time to call it a day…”

That song kept coming to my mind as Mother continued to ask, “Where is that little girl?”

My daughter and my ten year old granddaughter had left to go back to Arizona.  Mother knew someone was missing. When they were here, she felt all was well with the world.  Children are truly a gift from God.  Katie was a gift to me, but she was especially a gift to Mother this week.  She was comforted by Katie’s presence. 

Studies have shown that Dementia patients respond very positive to little children and animals. Adult care facilities and nursing homes have special days when dogs visit the patients, or when children come in and sing to them.  I witnessed Mother’s positive response to Katie’s visit.

Mother continued to ask, “Where is that little girl?”

“Katie’s back in Arizona. I miss her too” 

The moment my little granddaughter came, she brought with her a kind word, a gentle touch, and a caring that reached her great-grandmother’s heart with the ease of a dove in flight. Mother and Katie joined hands and immediately communicated in an unspoken language.....love.  Deep down in her heart, Mother knew this little girl was someone special to her.

These two souls had a wonderful time.  Katie took over as Mother’s assistant.  From breakfast to the end of Mother’s day, she was there.  Without a word spoken, Mother had the full attention of three people. My daughter, granddaughter and I were all at her beckoned call.  But Katie was Mother’s choice. 

Katie got up on Atlanta time (that's early for her!!!) to warm Mother’s apple-bran muffin for breakfast.  She held Mother’s hand to help her to the car, pushed her in the wheelchair, and maintained a careful watch wherever Mother was changing course. 

Katie would call, “Grandma, Mama Shockley is getting up to go somewhere!” 

No matter where Mother wanted to go, Katie was right there gently holding her hand.

After getting Mother in to her bed, we would kneel on the floor beside her.  Katie got in to the bed with Mother and snuggled up close to her great-grandmother so she could pray next to her.  It was a sweet time of prayer.  Amazingly, Mother’s prayers are still spoken with such clarity- undeniable proof that the soul is eternal. 

After prayers, Mother would ask with the plea of a little child, “Katie will you sleep with me?”   

“Mama Shockley, I’ll lie here until you go to sleep.”

“Okay.”

Mother would soon be fast asleep.  Katie would slip out and go upstairs to bed. 

On the last day, we drove to my brother's house for our traditional summer birthday parties. We all have July/August birthdays.  Even Katie's birthday is in August!  It was our last summer fling.  On the way, we stopped by a peach orchard so that Katie could pick some peaches. We made pictures and she loved the experience. 

My brother grilled hamburgers and his wife made all the trimmings.   Katie played in the rain (something rare in Arizona) and gave some attention to Punky the cat.  Then we drove out to show Katie the oldest covered bridge in Georgia.  We had a wonderful time spotting deer as Katie waded in the creek. Oh to have all that energy!  Why can’t we bottle it up and save it for later?  

It was time to go home and it was getting dark.  The sun was setting fast.  I was starting to wonder when the craziness would begin.  We had almost a two  hour road trip ahead of us.  Mother would likely be out of her mind with worry....the whole way home.

Dottie and Ann were in the front seat.  Katie and I sat on either side of Mother in the back.  We were all laughing and discussing everything we did that day.  

Then Mother started piping in. 

“Are we there yet?”

“Almost”, Ann replied.

“How much longer?”

“Not long.”

“Do you know the way?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

"How much longer?"

“Not long.”

"We all need to stop talking because we're lost!”

“We're not lost.  We'll be home soon.”

“Are we there yet?”

“Almost.”

Her anxieties were rising.  

Then it happened. 

Katie reached over and held Mother’s hand and gently said, “It’s okay, Mama Shockley.” Then she laid her head on Mother’s shoulder.  I watched Mother’s anxieties melt like snow when the sun comes out. She slowly laid her head back on Katie...and fell asleep. You heard me!  Asleep!  It was as if God poured His peace and love into the top of Mother’s head. Katie and Mother were both sleeping.

Tears filled my eyes as I watched this amazing scene.  Ann was watching in the rear view mirror and Dottie turned to see a memory that would last a lifetime. Mother was sleeping like a newborn baby...... and she slept all the way home! 

Love can build a bridge, calm a storm, and touch a heart that’s empty.  It’s a little word that has the power of a rocket. What is the origin?  GOD!  Love came straight from the heart of our loving heavenly Father when He gave His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world.  Jesus became one of us in order to show us God’s heart.  He knows your needs, He feels your pain, and He walks beside you.  He loves you and your loved ones....and He knows and cares about all of your struggles, dear caregivers.

God used my little granddaughter to remind me of God’s perfect love for me and my mom .....today, tomorrow, and forever.

“For God so loved the world that He gave HIS one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 

    

14 comments:

  1. This is a lovely, lovely post. Such truth-

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shelly! What kind words! I just took a look at your blog. I will follow you. I was immediately struck by your bucket list. My daughter's list would read EXACTLY the same. In fact, she was involved in a horse accident in South America (somewhere). Her daughter is now an accomplished hunter jumper. Yet, she had never been able to ride again.

    She's traveled all over the world. But she's never been to New Zealand...so that's at the top of her list. I could go on and on.

    You guys would have a LOT to talk about! Wow.

    I hope you can follow my journey...as I will follow yours.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Susan Terrell WynnJuly 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    This is so precious and so true.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an incredible child!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Carol: How neat! Thank you for reading my blog- does your daughter have a blog? And I am following yours. My sweet mother-in-law is in a nursing home after a major heart attack and is in Alzheimer's now. My father-in-law is slipping, but we love and enjoy every minute with them. Your experiences will help me prepare for what is to come with them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How wonderful it is to see our Lord through Mama Shockley and Katie. Thank you Carol for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Shelly...My daughter does not keep a blog. But she's on Facebook. Dottie Kohl Sutherland...she'd love to be friends. I will tell her about you!

    My heart breaks for your in-laws. I will keep them in my prayers. Thank you for your encouraging words. I cried when I read your post.

    Susan...So nice to hear from you!!! Thank you so much for reading and following my journey. I know Mother remembers you...and I will tell her you said hello.

    Anonymous...Katie is a rare jewel. God gifted us with her. It's an honor to be around her.

    Chris...I look forward to all of your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, for sharing this story about Katie and your Mama, Carol! Such a good reminder for me. How often do I fret and worry about the next step or means of provision instead of just laying my head on Jesus' shoulder and trusting His love for me? Too often! I will try to remember this picture the next time I am tempted to worry - like in the next 5 minutes.
    Lauree

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm crying...Katie...I JUST LOVE YOU! I love your sweet precious heart!! Thank you, mom for sharing these most wonderful stories of Mama Shockley!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another beautiful and touching story, Carol. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.
    Danny

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lauree- Thank you for commenting! I know what you mean. I think we all worry about everything all the time. I am learning everyday to trust Him with everything....always.

    Penny...XOXO

    Danny...I love reading your kind words. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful post. Katie truly is a gift from God. All children are. I'm lucky to know Katie. She is an angel on Earth.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such beautiful words Ms. Carol. This just makes me so excited to see what God has in store for little Miss Ella. She is already such a treasure to us all, especially my mom and dad!! I'm glad Katie was able to come visit you.....what a special time. Your postings always help me regain my focus!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Crystal....Thank you for such kind words! I completely agree with you.
    Jill....I'm thrilled you are reading my blog! My postings help me regain MY focus. :)

    ReplyDelete