What you may not know from the photos, though, is that besides being a loving and supportive mother, my mom is also a caregiver. Eighteen months ago, her husband had a massive stroke, and he has remained bed-bound and dependent on my mother for his most basic needs, such as grooming and bathrooming. His hospital-style bed occupies their living room so that he will not feel isolated in a back bedroom. A nurse comes periodically to check his medications, and a "bath lady" comes as well. Therapists come, and then they don't--my mom and her husband are at the mercy of outside evaluators who determine if there is enough promise of improvement to provide services once in awhile.
My mother's dream is that her husband will someday be able to be transferred from his bed to a wheelchair; it would open up the whole world to him, in a sense. The chances are very small. According the brain scans, the stroke has wiped out one-third of his brain-functioning, and it is very difficult for him to remain focused, to follow through with therapies, to track what's going on with his own body. Mainly, he knows tiredness and frustration. And heaven knows, tiredness and frustration are pretty much what Mom has known for the last year-and-a-half, without a break, as well.
That's not to say that there haven't been some bright spots to celebrate along the way. A couple of amazing women have entered their lives to offer aid and friendship when my mother has needed it most. Old friends have fixed the deck and helped out with that sort of heavy-duty home maintenance. Neighbors have cut grass and trimmed trees. An honest roofer has been trying to help Mom with a leak in her roof, without charging for initial failed attempts. Mom has made lots of visits to keep up with her grandaughters in Philadelphia and her grandsons in Atlanta.
And...Mom has discovered a real talent and affinity for art. She has always used her creativity in sewing, cross-stitch, and quilting, among other things. But now she has moved into drawing, mail art, and art journaling. She brought her first art journal, almost completely filled now, to share with me this past weekend during her visit, and gave me permission to take some photos and share it with you on my blog.
I'm not going to make any comments on her pages, but I hope that you will look through them, and listen for all that they speak about her life, her heartache, her healing, her creativity, and her faith.
|Mom's art journal cover