One small step for Mum & Dad, one huge step for love

Mum normally does not get going until about 8 or 8:30. Today, she was up well before that. Probably around 6:30am. When i asked why she was up so early, she said it was because something big was going to happen that day. And again I am reminded that Mum is fully aware of what this day will bring.

Mum & Dad, walking into Lovely Banks in Cobden

We’ve talked about that, my sisters and I. We’ve often wondered whether Mum really has a complete understanding of what is happening. I mean, how do you just move away from your husband of 57 years? How do you leave your family home? How do you just walk into a place like Lovely Banks, knowing it will be your last move before you die? How do you do any of that without breaking down, or worse, throwing a tantrum and digging your heels in?

Mum & Dad, December 19, 1953 married at the Leigh Memorial Church, Lithgow, NSW

I can think of two reasons. The first is that even though Mum is suffering her delusional fantasies, and she sometimes has trouble interpreting reality, she has enough of a handle on what’s going on to know that she needs this level of care. The second is that she knows Dad can’t be here carer anymore. Dad has chronic back pain, and so the lifting, the care, the pure and simple everyday being there was just getting the better of him. It was nothing for him to be up two or sometimes three times a night helping the disoriented love of his life to the toilet and back to bed again.

Settling in. The wonderful staff take Mum and Dad through some basics.

Dad told me tonight that this afternoon he has asked Mum, “You know why this was necessary, don’t you?” and Mum had said “Yes, because we couldn’t go on doing what we were doing anymore.” Some nights, Dad only had three hours of sleep. If even young guys have trouble coping with that, we can understand a 78 year old will never be able to manage it..

I think this says a lot about the love that Mum & Dad have for each other. Love is not doing what you want. If it was, Mum would still be home, irrespective of what harm it brought her and Dad. But that is not what love is. Love is a decision. Often and joyous one, but sometimes a painful one: to deny yourself, your wants, your comforts, and to consciously and selflessly do what the other person needs. So, as hard as it is, Mum decided that she had to make the move. That level of maturity, and that depth of love, is inspirational.

It’s a divine decision. It’s the sort of decision Jesus made, when he turned his back on his glory and made himself nothing for us. He denied his own wants and comforts, and instead he consciously and selflessly did what others needed.

Mum’s new room on Day 1

So we lie down in our beds tonight. Dad is alone in his room. Mum is alone in hers. And there is love. And there is peace. And we are thankful that God has led us through this day.

Have a read of Psalm 91. It’s brilliant!

Q: What do you think about love being defined as self denial and a decision to serve the other? is this actually doable? Leave a comment…

Grace and peace: Dave

9 thoughts on “One small step for Mum & Dad, one huge step for love

  1. Your words have brought tears to my eyes. you have such a loving and strong family and your words of the journey make the transition sound simple ( as it is so far from). much happiness to both your parents on the new journey of life from Kim in upstate new york

    • Thanks Kimberlee,

      True the deicsions are far from simple, but after a while, the choices become quite stark, and you know your options are very limited.

      God’s grace has helped us face these choices with maturity even though we feel much uncertainty about how things will be for Mum.

      Best wishes,


  2. Hi Dave.
    What a beautiful way to describe such a difficult time for your family.
    What a wonderful marriage your parents have had, how blessed to have had so many years together, and even now, although living apart, they are still together on this earth, and will always be together in eternity.

    Love, giving up of yourself for others like God gave His son for us.
    Love, like Jesus giving up His life for us.
    Love -doing the hard things, the things that hurt, for the good of others.
    It’s not the way our society would describe love, but I’m sure if it did, our world would be a much better place.

    May God continue to bless your parents with the great love they have for each other, and may He give your family the strength and comfort you need while going through these changes.

    • Thanks Judy.

      Change is normal, isn’t it? The challenge is to know how to respond. We are praying for a lot of wisdom.


  3. Hi Dave

    I know your sister Leonie. What you have written is just perfect, can’t think of another description. The place your mum is in looks to be lovely and your dad can visit whenever he wants for as long as he wants. Sadly my own mum went into care earlier this year but it was a long drawn out battle. My dad did not want to know and dug his heels in and sat on paperwork while places in nice homes came and went and being her primary carer we were not able to step in and go over his head. We were advised we should take legal action to have his role removed but morally how could we have done this. Had mum been in grave danger of course we would have done so. In the end she ended up in a quite run down place, even though the staff were lovely. I feel sad that this was where she left the world and keep thinking that it could have been so different. Still, she is in a better place now and their love made them stick together and cope the only way that they knew how and what they thought was right so I mustn’t judge. I am so very glad that your story has a different outcome. Love to you all.

    • Wow, Gail, that is a challenging situation, but sadly, not that uncommon.

      I think most people leave this decison too long, and I’m sad that provided additional challenges for you. The times are hard enough: we don’t have to make it more difficult.

      And how good is it that so many people can find a sense of community and support through blogs like this and other media.

      Strength for your journey…


  4. Hey Dave, beautifully said. I’m very moved by your words, and even the photos on their own tell a poignant story. Life is full of many transitions that pull on the heart strings in different ways, and I’m thankful that you can be with your Mum and Dad for a few days during this one.
    Hoping and praying that if (when?) we ever arrive at a similar story in our own relationship, it will be as peaceful and loving as your parents’ appears to be.
    So proud of you.
    Your wife Leonie xox

    • Thanks Lone,

      Yeah – how will it be for us? Not a question I want to think about too much. Even so, the experience with Mum is comforting. It’s reminding me that there are people everywhere willing to help and keen to serve.

      Thanks for encouraging me! So good.


  5. Pingback: 2010 in review – my blog and what you thought about it « Dave's Journal

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