Now That’s Love!

By on September 30, 2013

By Deb DeArmond –

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

“I can take care of your mom,” he said.

It took me by surprise—not because it was the first time Ron had offered his help, but because of the depth of care she now needed. These were her final weeks. She was ready, unafraid. But my once fiercely independent mother now required support with even the simplest of life’s daily demands.

As a late-in-life baby, I had learned to provide help to my aging parents long before I was an adult. The emergency room and ICU were familiar, though never comfortable, for me. I could recite medical histories for both of my parents by age 12, and knew what symptoms to watch for. I reminded them about taking medication and doctor appointments. It was quite different from the daily activities my friends were engaged in.

When Ron and I married, still teenagers, his caregiver education began. He learned about the world of late night urgent phone calls and navigating hospital corridors. We followed ambulances to the ER and listened to the pulse and throb of ICU monitors. He was always supportive and never complained. Not surprisingly, my folks loved him dearly—my mother could not have loved him more if he had been her own. It was a unique relationship.

When Dad died, seven years before we lost Mom, he asked Ron to take care of “my Dottie.” Without hesitation, Ron promised he would. I’m not sure he knew exactly what that might require when he made the commitment.

I was struggling with the pressure of caring for Mom and running my business, which had been back-burnered for nearly a month. Clients had been understanding, but the loss of income and future opportunities were a genuine concern. Yet, I wasn’t sure Ron would be able to step in as the primary caregiver when he offered to do so.

“She needs help with everything, Ron,” I reminded him. “She needs to be fed at times when she’s weak… and she needs help in the bathroom. Can you do that?”

“I will if she’ll let me.”

My heart melted. “I love your mom like she was my own. She needs help. I can do this,” he said firmly.

His willingness to share what had become a weighty responsibility—mentally, emotionally and spiritually—communicated his love for me as no bouquet of roses ever could. Although he empathized with me, he went well beyond letting me know he understood how difficult this had become. He offered real assistance. Helping hands. He was stepping in to lighten my load, to share the heaviness of helping my mom move from this life to the next. I can’t remember a time when I felt more cared for, more supported, more loved in my life. His commitment to share this responsibility changed how I saw him. It touched my heart and deepened my love for him in a way that’s difficult to describe.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2 (NIV). Paul encourages us to gladly share the load of others, as it accomplishes what Jesus called the “new” commandment—to love one another.

Ron and I discussed the situation with Mom and he asked if she’d allow him to serve her as her primary caregiver when I had to be away. “I’m embarrassed to need so much help,” she said, “but if you can live with it, son, so can I.”

And though it was a brief time, Ron cared for Mom in those weeks. He became Jesus with skin on, active and alive, his actions providing evidence of his love for her.

And for me.

How are you doing with the care of elderly parents? What’s your story? Your challenges?

 

Originally posted on My Purpose Now.

About My Purpose Now

Deb is ‘wife’ to her high school sweetheart, mom to three incredible sons and Gigi to two perfect grandboys. She is a former Californian who now lives in the Dallas area. She is excited about the next stage of life and what God has for her now. An author, speaker, and executive coach, Deb travels extensively and is always seeking a quiet place to write. Read Deb at: http://mypurposenow.org

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Now That’s Love!