Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Everything There is a Season

I love that there are 4 different seasons of the year. Just when I think I cannot take another 100 degree day and feel like I am melting every time I step outside, a cool autumn breeze will blow through with the promise of relief. Likewise, just as I feel like I cannot take another bleary, blah, dull day of clouds and lifelessness, I will see the promise of new life budding on our trees outside. God is so gentle with us. He knows that we need change, we need a fresh start. He knows that we, as well as the earth, need times of renewal, rest, and growth. Our Church has incorporated this lesson into our Church year as well. We just finished the seasons of Advent and Christmas and now will enter into Ordinary Time for a few weeks until we begin Lent. Again, it gives us opportunities each year to start fresh and to make changes where we need to in our lives. If we embrace the changes of the seasons, our lives will be enriched and we will be able to really appreciate the beauty and importance of each time, whether it be a season of joy, exhaustion, or pain.

My sweet, adorable, and loving 87 year old Nee Nee in entering a very painful season of her life right now as she suffers with Alzheimer's Disease. As I am witnessing first hand, this is a merciless disease. She gets lost in time. People and events in her life seem to blur as her past and present mingle in front of her. Then, she has great moments of coherence and is completely aware of all that is here and now. Watching her struggle is painful. I know it is even more so for my aunt and my father. She has never been one to complain and even now will say, "I am glad I can still get around. My mind is gone, but at least I can still get up and get my coffee." I think if she could, she would remind us to be thankful for what we have. Be thankful that I have had my grandmother as an important part of my life for all of these years. Be thankful that my children have known and spent time with their great-grandmother. Be thankful that my children are getting a lesson in loving and caring for their elders. Be thankful that we get the opportunity to serve her, just as she has tirelessly served her family, never asking for anything in return. Be thankful that we are getting to learn to love and serve Christ, and grow in patience and kindness as we love her in her frailty and her confusion. It is a hard season for her and also for those who love her. If we can try to embrace our cross, maybe God can grow something beautiful through it. When we suffer, we have the opportunity, through grace, to become less like ourselves and more like Christ. It doesn't take away the pain, the winter is still long, and cold, and quiet. But there is hope and the promise that the seasons will change.


Kimberly said...

Amy, your post was beautiful...truly inspiring.

David's grandmother died from heart failure and complications from Alzheimers about 7 years ago. She died less than one year after the diagnosis. It was God's grace she did not suffer very long. David has many fond memories of going to visit her, the food she made, the cookies she baked, and I know he misses her. She was a woman of great faith, who was always up at the church, doing something.

Thank you for sharing your love for your grandmother with us.

Katie said...

That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing about your sweet Nee Nee.

Tammy said...

That was a beautiful post. Treasure all of your moments with her and lessons she still has to teach.

Amy said...

Thanks ladies for your sweet words!

Tiffany Austin Bauer said...

Hi Am,

I have read your posts before and you are so incredibly eloquent with words! I will be praying for little NeNe. I remember her so well, what a great woman! Scott's dad suffered with this terrible disease as you might remember. Caleb is officially potty trained and for the record, he did it ALL BY HIMSELF, praise God. He loves his Mother's Day Out so get ready for even more fun...he was singing Shout To The Lord the other day and asked me to sing him "Amazing Grave" (Grace). Our babies are growing up!
God bless you all, your children are so beautiful!

Susan Jacobs said...

Dear Amy,
Hello, my name is Susan Jacobs. I am one of your South Dakota cousins. (Aunt) Marcian and my dad, Ron, are brother and sister. Through Christmas cards and phone calls between Marcian and my Dad, I only know your family by name through their conversations and occasional photos. I have been emailing Barbara off and on since 2001. I believe she and I came into contact when my dad was sick. He passed away Sept. 2001.
As you may know, Uncle Don and Aunt Marcian are the remaining siblings in the "Jacobs family". Uncle Don lives in Minnesota with his wife Kay.
I think of both Aunt Marcian and Uncle Don frequently, especially since they are the last of their generation.
I heard from Barbara that Marcian was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I keep her and those close to her in my prayers.
I was happy to receive a Christmas card from Aunt Marcian again this year! Her cards are something I will always treasure.
I remember several family reunions in which she was able to attend, along with many of my other aunts and uncles. There was always an abundance of laughter when the Jacobs clan reunited! As a young girl, at that time, I was intrigued by Aunt Marcian's strange "southern accent"!
I feel fortunate to have attended the Jacobs' reunions. They were far and few between, so I cannot say that I was very close to anyone on Dad's side of the family. However, I am grateful that I do have some memories and photos of the Jacobs family, despite all of them being scattered across several states.
I found a picture today, printed from an email from Barbara in May 2002. It was taken during a visit to celebrate Luke's baptism. This photo reminded me of your blog; Barbara sent the website address out to family a few months ago.
I read your blog about Marcian and how her Alzheimer's disease is affecting her and those around her. The words you wrote are very touching...I believe you are right in saying that Marcian would want us to be thankful for all we have. My Dad was a humble man, he never wanted for anything, just a comfortable home and happy family. Your grandma sounds just like her brother.
Thank you for being willing to be open and honest about your feelings for your grandma. I would like to print your kind words and keep it with my Jacobs' family memorabilia.
Although, her disease may take away her present day, she will always have the love for her family somewhere deep in her memories.
I hope someday I can meet Aunt Marcian's extended family in person, until then, I am thankful for the technology that keeps our family closer now than it ever has been before.
Sincerely Your Cousin,
PS-A little more info about me...I sent a Christmas letter to Marcian, Barbara, and Warren. I have two daughters, their pictures are printed on the letter.