…and then there is silence

Photo by Dapo Abideen on Pexels.com

…and then it’s the next day. You wake up and it seems that something is missing…what is it? There’s a start in your gut, you forgot…what is it? I should be up; everything is so quiet…

           And then you remember.

Your life has been consumed, the loved one that needed you to fix something that will whet their appetite and make them want to taste and eat a few bites. Measure out medication, find a way to mash it into applesauce so they don’t choke on it, see that a good amount of water is taken…check the urine output, check its color to make sure it isn’t too dark, that’s a bad sign. 

Let’s pull back the blanket and look at those ankles, making sure they aren’t swollen, help get them on the bedside potty and assure them they aren’t being too much trouble…soothe the nerves that have withstood decades of loud noises, bad news, good news, surprises of all types, children coming and going and… silence.

So, what do you do with yourself, you laid them to rest yesterday and today there seems to be something missing…?

              For me, first it was my dad, then my mother…and now, yesterday, my brother-in-law’s own mother. As I looked out my kitchen window, I saw his truck parked in his driveway, no longer having to go to the hospice facility to care for his mother, as he had faithfully been doing for so long…

What a great lady she was, the last of a vanishing breed of soft-spoken, cook-everything-from-scratch Southern ladies.

She left behind two very wonderful sons, beautiful granddaughters, and my sister, who loved her greatly.

                            Rest in peace sweetest Betty Watson.

She left behind two very wonderful sons, two sweet, generous, faithful grandsons who each have beautiful wives and two daughters, two great daughters-in-law, one of which is my sister, who loved her greatly.

8 Replies to “…and then there is silence”

  1. When I moved to Lubbock, my grandfather (alive at the time) told me to look up my cousin (his niece) and ask her for a job. I had met this cousin a few times as a small child, but I did not know her when I got out of school, but I dutifully went to see her. She didn’t know me either, though she had been quite close with my mother and especially my mother’s older sister back in the 1950s. My grandpa was her favorite uncle. And so she hired me on the spot – well as soon as we got ironed out who I am.

    Anyway, so this somewhat distant relative and I became close – sorta.

    Some of us in this family think she is nuts. And so do I, really. But then I think my whole family is nuts. But her husband was just then falling ill to Alzheimer’s. He still had his wits mostly, most of the time, in those early days, but he took a steep slide soon enough.

    Her husband was a fellow alum from my school AND spent many years as a missionary in Brazil. He spent the second half of his career teaching at the SIBI (Sunset International Bible Institute) here in Lubbock, and became a well-beloved instructor. Their life together might have been humble by a lot of standards, but it was very well dignified, and my cousin made for a grand southern belle of sorts (we have some of that out here in Texas too). She didn’t have a Cadillac exactly, but her Buick made a nice chariot nonetheless.

    But with her husband failing, she found herself in the unenviable position of taking care of a demented spouse. And like ALL of them, she struggled to hang on to him, to hang on to the past, to honor her commitment… all that stuff.

    Unlike so many, she never let go. She cared for him to the bitter end. And it got very undignified along the way.

    The last time I saw him alive, I went for dinner. She had prepared a meal, one like my grandma used to make, one like I had not eaten in many years. It was a blast from the past for me personally. A taste of HOME. A taste from my youth. I was in a holy place just on that meal. But she did it WHILE caring for him. And he was terrible company. She tripped all over herself to apologize constantly and to run to intervene CONSTANTLY. She had chux pads taped up to the wall by his chair because he had taken to suddenly hocking and spitting at the wall there. (You get the idea.)

    It was mortifying to her dignity and his, but she insisted on keeping and nursing him all the way to the bitter end. She loved him, and she could not imagine life without him.

    There was something pathological about it. Her kids argued with her over it. Practically no one could come visit or help or wanted to. Her nights were long, very long, and painful every night.

    And after almost three years or five (I can’t remember as well as her), it finally came to an end. And she was sad.

    It was then I realized I had witnessed something special. Against the best advice of professionals and family and literally everyone, she stuck it out and loved her man to the end. I doubt I ever see that again.

    WE are made to give our lives, and she did. She became a fool for love.

    Some time later, I wrote her to tell her how impressed I was with what she had done. I don’t know if I could do what she did. Even her children were split over it. So much cost beyond her giving. She was punished for it too. And yes, she had made some amazingly dumb decisions along the way too. But LOVE was her guiding star. She never wavered.

    I think of all the young ministers wives she “trained” for the work, and I doubt very much she could TEACH what she did.

    I have seen it.

    I did that kind of work ONE NIGHT out of my whole life and thought it would kill me.

    When it was done and after I wrote her, she told me he had found her a simple farm girl in East Texas and took her to see the world and love Jesus. He was all she knew.


    Your post brings things up. It does for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful story of something seldom seen now… commitment! Then there’s dedication. This made me cry, maybe I needed to do that. Don’t know if you read my post recently on a different kind of love, but that’s what I was talking about… doing for my ex, who has a wife not always willing to be present. The staff is amazed… but why? It’s what we do who take our vows seriously… right Agent X?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Harolene ~ What a beautiful description of life after the passing of a loved one. The silence. The what will I do today. Oh yeah, I don’t have to go there anymore. The memories.
    Today is the 32nd anniversary of my mother’s passing. How can that be. I remember counting the days after she took her last breath. I thought I would count until eternity. The first thing I missed was her 8AM phone calls as soon as I arrived at work. Always a “Good Morning” and “I love you” in our short chats. She would remind me of the song… “I just called to say I love you”.
    I still have the mini cassette tape from her answering machine. I do not know if there is a local business who could reproduce her heartfelt greeting to everyone who called before leaving their message. My mother’s greeting had the usual “Thank you for calling… then end with “remember you are loved”. Those four words are engraved on her headstone at the Watson family cemetery near my home.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s