For the past 14 years while my father has been in a semi coma after a mugging I have had the feeling that the pause button of my life is stuck . Our children were thirteen and eight years old at the time and now the eldest is married and the twins are graduating from university this year. Where have the years gone I wonder? It all seems like a blur of time spent going through the motions of living while at the back of my mind I was always waiting for that one phone call saying that he had died. Even so, when the phone call did come, it felt unreal!
Many times I had to force myself to do ordinary things like going away on holiday as I knew I also had a family who needed me. On the other hand there was my elderly mother who insisted on caring for my father at home. I felt torn between two worlds. There was my own world, my husband, children, friends, work, leisure, shortly, the world of living a life and then the other world, the world of the slowly dying ! What torture to see my once active, loving and larger than life father slowly dying with the days becoming weeks, the weeks becoming months, the months becoming years and eventually 14 years and three months exactly.
Now I find myself in a kind of limbo, an in between world with my finger still on the pause button of life, still waiting for the phone call, still unable to comprehend fully that he has been released and me too. Or have I? Now there is my mother 89 years old, frail and sad but still insisting on living on her own!
I know I am not alone and that many middle aged women assume the role of caregiver for their aging parents. It is a fact of life that this role reversal takes place, but it doesn’t make it easier. I don’t want you to be under the impression that I resent fulfilling this role. No, I take up this challenge because I love and respect my parents. I just need to gather the courage and strength to run this race to the end with patience, love and grace.
Therefore I will hold on to the promise I find in Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.(NIV)