Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Silver Lining

In 2007, I wrote an article here entitled “To Everything There is a Season.” I was in Nashville when I wrote the article and I remember it as being one of those very difficult days that life as a way of bringing us.

My wife’s mom spent her first night in an Assisted Living Facility that night. We knew we were beginning a journey but we had no way of knowing what was ahead of us or what we would experience as we walked down this path.

And we had no idea of the people we would meet along the way.

It would be an understatement to say in the past three years and four months our family has experienced a lot. After spending over two years in the assisted living facility, her children had to make another difficult decision. She had to be moved to a nursing home facility where she could get more individual care.

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. And the pain of the heart watching someone you love suffering from that disease is an agonizing pain.

But the clouds of life not only usher in rain and storm but they also can add color to our sky. Every cloud has its silver lining.

When my wife and I were visiting her mom tonight, the silver lining was in plain view to us in the form of Doris Barrett. Folks who extend loving care to Alzheimer’s patients are very special folks. And they are really special when the patient they are caring for is your mother or mother in law or grandmother or sister. Our facility has more than a few special folks on their payroll and you get to know them when you are in and out so often.

Doris never had the opportunity to finish high school. She promised herself early on that her four children would be educated.

All four of her children received college degrees.

I should tell you that Doris has worked two jobs since 1977 to help make that happen. Her current schedule calls for her to begin at 6AM at another facility. She gets off at 2PM. She begins at our facility at 3PM and gets off at 11PM.

That doesn't leave a lot of television time for Doris.

I should also tell you she has worked at the same two facilities for those 34 years.

Doris’ oldest daughter died suddenly a few years ago of a massive stroke. She was 41 years old. Doris has experienced the pain of the loss of child to which some of you reading this can relate.

I can’t.

But what I can relate to is that somehow in the scheme of things, God saw fit to allow this incredible human being to be one of our caregivers.

By the way, when she cares for our loved one - she cares for us.

In the midst of all the clouds, she has added color to our sky. And she has added color to my mother in law’s sky.

Thank God for the silver lining.

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