This is an excerpt from the book Held by God, of which I am a co-author with my twin!
Over the years we found that some aspects of our relationship with our parents remained the same no matter how old we got. Despite our age, our mom has always been our mom, and even as adults we found comfort and security in that relationship. Being separated by only eighteen years, we’ve always had a close relationship with her. After moving away and establishing our own families and households, we still relied on Mom’s opinion and her wisdom. She was always there to listen and provide “Mom advice.” Whether it was child rearing techniques, where to find something that was lost, or how to cook a turkey, we sought her opinion.
Part of the emotional struggle we faced when Mom got cancer was the reversal of our roles. Instead of her being the caregiver, we were now caring for her. We gave her our advice and direction, and she dutifully followed. She trusted us to care for her, just as we had always trusted her to care for us. Although we were glad to do this for her, that role reversal brought with it some sadness as well as a loss of security. We felt as though we had lost the mom we remembered from our childhood. Lynn said that she had always enjoyed going home because she got to “be the kid again.” She would sleep in her old room, and in twilight sleep would hear the sounds of home. The television would be on, and Mom and Dad would be talking in the other room. In those moments she was a child again, without the responsibility of a job and a mortgage. The burden of adulthood was stripped away and she was safe in the protection of her parents. Someone else was in charge and she could sleep peacefully. When Mom got cancer, all of that changed. That sense of “going home again” was no more. When we went home now, we were in charge and responsible. There was no peaceful sleep. There was no sense of security. Home was no longer a place of comfort. Mom’s appearance and demeanor had changed, and at times it was difficult to remember her the way she used to be. The loss of that childhood relationship with her was very painful and just another reminder of what cancer had done to our family. We knew that we couldn’t change the circumstances and gain back that childhood relationship, but in God’s provision, he allowed Lori to get a glimpse of the mom we remembered.
The days of chemotherapy were very trying. We were all worn out, physically and emotionally. Lori was there for the weekend without Lynn, staying in the bedroom closest to Mom’s room in case Mom should call for her during the night. Exhausted one evening, Lori dropped into bed. She wasn’t asleep very long before she had an awful nightmare. While still asleep, she could hear Mom calling to her in her dream. “Lori, Lori, you’re having a dream, wake up.” She finally woke to find Mom coming through the doorway. Although weak and mostly confined to her bed, Mom somehow found the strength to get out of bed unassisted and make her way down the hallway toward the sound of Lori’s cry. For one brief moment, it was as though nothing in our lives had changed. There was no thought of cancer. There was only Mom bringing comfort to one of her kids. Mom was Mom again. She was needed, so she put her own weakness aside and came to help. Lori was reminded that Mom was still Mom on the inside regardless of how much the cancer had ravaged her body on the outside. It had taken so much from her, but it could not take away who she was. She was still our mom and always would be. For a short while, Mom was given the strength necessary to come to the aid of one of her children, and Lori experienced a momentary relief from the burden of being in charge. God knew that an exhausted child needed her mother’s reassurance and perhaps the mother also needed the opportunity to be the caregiver once again, rather than the recipient of care. Through the provision of one nightmare, he provided for both.
For more information visit www.HeldbyGod.com
On the journey toward Home,