Today is Mother’s Day, but for the last several years I’ve felt a little left out. My mom, Celeste Agnes Green Thornton passed away almost five years ago, just one short week after Mother’s Day.
The last few years that Mom was with us were difficult; Alzheimer’s Disease stole them from us. I first realized that Mom’s condition was getting the best of her when she forgot my birthday one year, something that had never happened before. At first I was I was quite put out by that, but as I came to understand it was only part of a larger pattern of forgetting things, some important, some not so important.
For a time it seemed she’d just forget things that had happened fairly recently, but could remember vividly things that had happened decades before. She’d forget where she was going at times and get lost driving around the city in which she had lived all her life; before long she forgot the names of our kids, and finally even our names. She had moments of lucidity, but as time went on, they became increasingly rare. In the end she had forgotten everything.
Visiting Mom was difficult and unpleasant those last couple of years. The kids didn’t enjoy it any more than I did, and I finally just stopped going. That last month of her life I had plenty of warnings from my siblings that Mom was sick, but I didn’t quite grasp how serious things were, and I failed to even pay her a visit that last Mother’s Day. She wouldn’t likely have been aware of it, but that’s not the point:
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
I missed a good teaching opportunity for my kids by neglecting that command, and set a bad example by not visiting Mom in spite of the difficulty her health condition presented. But even before that I don’t remember a time when I really showed Mom the respect she deserved, even after I became a Believer. The two of us had our difficulties & misunderstandings, and I was less than forgiving. And now it’s too late. I know that I’ve been forgiven for all that — even though I was most undeserving of forgiveness — and my sin washed away by the Blood of Christ but the impact of that will live on in my kids, and in my regrets.
So, if your mom and dad are still around, do yourself a favor; don’t neglect giving them the respect you ought. Even if it’s difficult, you owe it to them, to yourself, to your kids, and to God.
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