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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: Yahweh Summons


The day is birthed by the roosterís crow and the sound of sugared bacon sizzling in a blackened iron skillet. The stoveís belly is full of hardwood and sighs in oak scented gasps. I pull my raveled old blue sweater close to my body as I go out into the crisp October air to pump water to use for coffee and for dish washing later. I am amazed that my Aunt Martha continues to cook on this old wood stove and pump water from outside when she has an electric stove and running water. However, I do love the smell of the hardwood and that aroma draws me back to my childhood and all of the summers I spent here with her.

My cousins, Betty, Bob, and Dorothy arranged a trip for my aunt to go to Lancaster, PA. for a week. They had asked me to come take care of the dogs and the cat while auntie is away. I am always glad for any excuse to come to this old farmhouse, which represents so much history from my youth. I bring mom with me, but she recalls nothing of these familiar surroundings.

After breakfast and the dishes are done I sit at the round oak table with my laptop open, a prompt for me to begin another writing project. A cup of steaming Earl Grey is at my right hand; while Vera Bradley, the yellow tabby, winds herself around my feet. I watch from the kitchen window as gusts of wind rip the sleeves off of the trees, revealing their twisted gnarled arms, and I am reminded of the story that must be told.

I have wrestled, like Jacob, with God over writing my momís journey into this maze of Alzheimerís disease and the incredible frustration that she, as well as me; her caregiver have encountered. I have kept journals for the past eight years of her regression, days that were significant markers in this silent onslaught of destruction. The plaques and tangles, stealth intruders, invade her brain cells, snuffing memories out, one memory at a time. These weapons of mass destruction have been deteriorating her brain for probably the past 20 years. Now she is in her ninth decade of life, a shadow of who she used to be, and although her mind is being ravished, her vital organs remain intact and functioning.

We live in an era of ageism, negative attitudes, beliefs, and conceptions of the nature and characteristics of older persons that are based on age that distort their actual characteristics and abilities. We, as a society, fear age and spend millions of dollars yearly to camouflage the evidence of the aging process.

In this entire flurry of activity, while society spars with age, where do our elders fit in? The shadow people, like my mom, who live on the fringe, are devalued and forgotten. Caregivers struggle not only with the everyday caring of their loved ones, but they must contend with a medical community that seems to be devoid of compassion and immune to the person behind the faÁade of Alzheimerís disease. There are numerous roadblocks presented by the medical system, via its financial and bureaucratic demands; causing increased frustration to the elderly and those who care for them.

I watch momís hands; her fingers as thin as piano wire, blue-veined and fluttering like a butterfly. She grasps for unseen objects, people or whatever it is that her mind has projected, lost in her surreal world. Mom may not always remember that I am her daughter, but I will always remember that she is my mother.

I think to myself, God, if you require this of me now; you are going to have to help me tell her story. I thought it would be after she went to her forever home, but I will obey this challenge that you have set before me.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 06/19/10
Your passion about the rages of this disease, and our society's dismissing of the aged, are expressed so vividly and powerfully in this piece. It is such a terrible disease. Thank you for this reminder.
Mildred Sheldon06/19/10
Such a touching and tender story of your mother. It tugged at my heart strings and all I can do for your precious mother is pray. Alheimers is not a fun place for either the patient or the caregiver. God bless.
Joanna Stricker06/21/10
Vivid, real, and open. Well written. You definitely hit some bells with me, thank you for listening to "Yahweh's Summons".