My Mother's Journey to Heaven

Recently I have had some beautiful experiences.  I graduated with my master's degree, I turned 24 years old, and I accepted my dream job.  It truly has been a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family.  However, this life is not a series of constant highs, void of lows.

Amongst the joy of these past few months I have experienced a vivid heartbreak that never really leaves me.  This pain is caused by the increasingly rapid decline of my mother.  

A few of my friends will remember who my mother was: a beautiful, caring, loving, woman.  She wanted the best for our family and for our future.  She loved us so much and with so much depth.  When we lived in Delaware and took the bus to school, she would walk us to the end of the driveway where the bus picked us up and then she got in her car and followed the bus to school--just to make sure we made it safely.  To my sister and I, she was heaven sent.

When I was in high school my mother started behaving in a way that puzzled me.  She would make comments and ask questions that were socially unacceptable.  Questions that could have been passed off as her being a mom and not being "cool" to us teenagers.  I didn't think much of it because she was still mom.  However, when she decided that she wanted to divorce my Dad, I had a horrible feeling.  It felt like something she would never do.

In the year after they separated and divorced, I was able to spend a lot of time with her.  Since my sister had been the girly girl growing up, she had the opportunity of hanging out with mom while I tried to catch frogs in the creek with all the neighborhood boys.  After my parents divorced, I was able to spend some quality time just being with my mom because she got the family house in the divorce.  My mother and I lived there while I finished high school.

This all changed when one day she decided that she wanted to move to California to be with her then boyfriend.  She wanted to do this right before my senior year of high school.  She told me that I could go with her and just finish my last year of high school in California.  As a young girl who just wanted her mother's love, I agreed.  After attempting to tell my high school coach, I was told that it would be unrealistic for me to move across the entire country with my mom and her boyfriend.

I then told my mom that I might be able to move with her after the volleyball season was over.  She thought that would work and she waited.  She stayed until half way through my senior year when she sat me down at a local restaurant and said, "You don't love me enough.  I'm moving to California without you."  She had her mind made up, and I was left with no choice.  She was leaving.

The house that only the two of us lived in was packed into a Uhaul and shut for the night.  Our last night in our family home was spent with her asleep on the couch and me on the floor of her bedroom.  I laid where the bed had been and stared at the ceiling.  After finally getting to sleep, I woke to an empty house.  She was gone and hadn't said goodbye.  I clutched the blanket on the floor, grabbed the pillow, and left my childhood home for the last time.

Later that afternoon I called her and cried.  Even being a teenager who thought it was uncool to cry, I broke down.  I begged her to come home and told her I'd do anything to bring her back.  She explained that she was already well on her way and that I had my chance to love her when she was there.  I was broken.

Years passed and I visited her in California when I could, but I started to notice more and more changes.  She started to forget words.  I was unable to have conversations with her without her having to point to an object in order to say its name.  My sister and I were concerned and tried to help her as much as we could.

Fast forward to June of 2012.  Her fiance kicked her out of their house and told her to move back to South Carolina.  At this point she was so mentally gone that she obliged and decided to make several trips across the country.  With no job and very little money, she rented an apartment in the ghetto of Greenville.  She remained under the illusion that her apartment was nice and that she was going to get a job so that her and I could live together when I graduated.

In the Spring of 2013, after months of her struggling to pay rent and her bills, she hit her low.  She was unable to pay for anything and she refused to go to a shelter or food bank.  By an absolute act of God, my sister was able to take her to a hospital, get all legal papers taken care of, and receive a diagnosis within days.

Finally, after years of wondering, heartbreak, pain, and tears, we had a diagnosis.  As it turns out, none of this was her fault.  She just has a form of frontotemporal dementia.  This condition has been stealing her social functions, her words, her memories, her rationalization, and is now currently stealing her ability to perform simple daily tasks.  Her brain is deteriorating at a fast rate.

This obviously hurts me.  It tears me apart and every single day follows me around like a cloud hovering above my every movement.  But God has a perfect way of using everything for His glory and for the good of His children.  So I will wipe the tears from my eyes and push forward towards the purpose God has for me.

He will never stop being good.  He will never stop loving us.