I sat beside my dad as he lay in a hospital bed in the critical care unit. I rested my head on the bed’s railing and held his hand in mine.
Dad’s age has not stopped him from living an independent life while being the primary care giver to mom. I always knew that if something were to happen to dad, there would be tough decisions to be made about mom. She needs 24-hour care which myself and my siblings cannot provide.
The day dad went to the hospital, I did the hardest and toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. I moved mom to a nursing home. For now, this is a temporary move. If dad recovers, he will continue to care for her. If not – well, I’m not ready to go there yet.
This heart-breaking choice haunts me. Mom, who has become the child in our relationship, now sleeps in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers. I asked her for forgiveness, but she did not understand my plea.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or if dad will recover. This dark valley I currently walk is filled with anxiety, stress and sadness. It is a place I walk knowing that life can change forever in the next moment.
If I were not in my shoes – if I were merely watching someone else’s life – I would feel sorry for them. I might even wonder where God is during all of this.
But I am not observing it. I am living it. And God is here with me.
Mom can no longer verbally communicate. The disease has taken that away from her. But God speaks through her. I see Him when her eyes light up at the sight of my dad and when she tenderly holds his hand in hers.
I see Him when dad tells me how much he loves me and when he makes me laugh even though he is in pain.
I see Him when mom reaches out her hand and puts it in mine.
I see Him when my husband manages our home in my absence.
I see Him in friends who reach out to make sure I am ok.
I see Him in my aunts who are acting in mom’s place to make sure I get enough rest.
And I see him in my siblings as we encourage and comfort each other.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
With every step I take on this journey, God is constantly reminding me of his presence. He is holding me up and giving me the strength to walk.
And the best part is, He will never leave me.