Last week I went with two of my siblings to my mother’s quarterly assessment meeting at the nursing home. She has Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, dementia and heart failure. We spent a good bit of time reviewing end of life decisions …. do we want a DNR (do not resuscitate) order? do we want her transferred to a hospital for anything other than an acute injury? do we want a feeding tube or artificial hydration in any situation? These things are difficult to even think about.
The social worker gave me a booklet to read. It talked about the difficulties and guilt involved in putting a parent in a care facility. The thing that struck me most was the statement that at some point, our relationship with a parent changes: the child becomes the parent and must make hard decisions based on what is best for the parent, even when it isn’t what he or she wants. It’s especially hard in cases like my mom’s, as her dementia makes it impossible for her to understand why she cannot live at home.
Other relationships change, too. Our children grow up and we have to learn to become friends and mentors instead of parents. Friends move and we have to adjust to relating via phone calls, email or letters instead of regular socializing. Our spouse takes a new job, or retires and we need to change our daily routines and chore assignments. Sometimes changing relationships have results that are good and welcomed, but other changes are painful and difficult, and almost all change is unsettling.
It’s good at times like this to remember that there is one person whose relationship to us does not change …Jesus Christ. Oh, sometimes we may think He is ignoring us, but as a friend once told me, “if you feel further away from God than you were last year, who moved?” The author of Hebrews tells us:
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8
He is our rock and our fortress, the one we can count upon when every other relationship changes.