“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:2
The day had been hard. I was trying to keep my mother in the best facility in our area but she wasn’t cooperating.
We had gone through most of her savings and now we were about to start using mine.
The facility had a pastoral name and provided 24-hour care, a wonderful nursing and therapy staff, good healthy food, trips to the ocean, and beautiful surroundings. And my Mom had always loved beauty.
But her dementia, which came after the loss of my father to Alzheimer’s, had led to depression which led to her wanting to give up, lie in bed, and watch TV all day in silence.
And I was mad. Not loving. Mad.
She was pushing away the physical therapists who came to help her get strong. She politely greeted her roommate and visitors but had no interest in a conversation. Where she had once enjoyed going to the dining room, getting dressed up every night, she now ate off a tray if she ate at all.
So that evening after work as I was walking down the hallway to her room hearing that she had once again refused physical therapy, I was stunned when suddenly this sense of peace came through me, “My job is to love her.”
And impossibly just like that my anger was gone. She wasn’t my child. She was a woman who had made decisions all of her life and had the right to continue to make them.
If her choice was to lie in bed and watch movies, my job was to honor that choice and not fight her.
My only job was to make sure she was safe, cared for, and fed.
The promise in Scripture for honoring our parents is that our days will be long. But I learned through that season that honoring our parents and their choices can also lead to a better life for them.
My Mom would live another year and we spent many days together watching TV.
That was all my mother needed. And all I needed, too.