can’t empathize. It is very easy for others
to say, “Oh, I know what you are going
through,” when they simply do not have a
clue. Somehow, just talking to someone who
understands and cares helps. That is what a
support system is all about.
One day, I was very teary and upset after
Mom said, “I just want to die.” She had said
that to me several times in the past.
Knowing that I am the most sensitive one in
the family, I could not understand why she
would ‘lay that on me’ and turn right around
and act perfectly fine and happy when a
phone call came for her a few minutes later!
It hurt me and I really resented it. Tell
someone else, but don’t tell me, is how I
felt! I am doing my best to literally keep
Several minutes later, a dear friend and
retired doctor called and was talking to my
husband, Lyle. He told me to pick up the
other line. When I got on the phone, Lyle
explained that I was upset because my Mom
had just unloaded on me. I asked, “Why would
she say that TO ME, of all people, and not
to anyone else?” The first words out of his
mouth were, “Well, of course she would say
that to you! YOU are the closest person to
her in the whole world and the only one to
whom she can relate her deepest feelings
to.” My whole outlook changed in minutes. I
lost the resentfulness. Instead, I felt
honored that she felt close enough to me to
tell me her deepest feelings at that
particular moment. I wrote that dear man a
note telling him how God used him to change
my whole outlook on the situation and how
grateful I was for his insight.
Baby Claire and Mom
Claire at 2 1/2 with Mom
Claire and her Mom, Easter 2009
Claire, Lyle, Mom, 2011
My JOY comes from many sources.
It is just knowing that I have been taking
care of my Mom and am fully committed to it.
I cannot depend on anyone else simply
because no one else, aside from my husband,
has made that commitment!
It comes from the look in Mom’s eyes when I
tuck her into bed and, as I kiss her, she
looks into my eyes and says, “Thank you for
all you did for me again today, honey. I
appreciate it more than you will ever know.
Where would I be without you and Lyle?”
It comes when she says, “I love you more
than you could possibly know.”
It comes when Mom says, “Claire, you are so
good to me, really you are.”
It comes when I leave her room; I am walking
out of her bedroom in our home – her home –
and not out of a room in a nursing home.
It is knowing that I have done
the best job I could possibly
have done for 16 years and that
leaves no room for regrets.
And most importantly, my joy comes from
knowing that if I had to make that same
choice to invite Mom to live with us today,
16 years later, I would make the same
To quote a line from a beautiful Gaither
song, “And when relationships demand
commitment then I’ll be there to care and
Claire's Mom, Anne, at 103