It's Sunday morning, and a lot of things have changed around the Edwards' household since mother has come to live with us; with Sundays having no exemption. I am taking mother to church today and have gotten up early to give her a shower and make sure I give her all the amenities. Choosing her clothes carefully, thinking that if given the chance, she might have chosen the same for herself. I have bought ample make up to use on her, with just the right color of lipstick, making for a beautiful pallet on my mother. Adorning her with my silver necklace and hair curled and sprayed to a tee, I take a look at this woman of 83 years, seeing a glimpse of the beauty she once was.
It's been seventeen days now since mother's arrival. I must say, adjustments have been made and I am feeling a little more settled but still a little addled. I have asked my sister Sue to come after church services for her weekly visit so I can continue the tradition of dining out with family on Sunday afternoon.
Mother is a little hesitant to go to church, but with words of encouragement and her "happy pill", I can maneuver her in most things. It seems that dementia isn't the only trickster in the house.
I've decided to take mother for preaching only until I see how she fairs in public. It's been about three years now since she has attended church services. With questions as to where I attend church and just how long it takes to get there, we head off to Silver Creek Baptist Church. Mother is a very independent lady, who frowns at wheelchairs, canes and walkers. I gently lead her up to the ramp and tell her to be careful going up. "Well,what are you putting me on this thing and you high tailing it up the steps for?" she barks. Mr. Duke greets mother with a "Hi darling!" and mother's tone changes. Walking into the church, I see that she is in her element. Well wishers, old friends alike, gather to mother's pew. Everyone is glad to see this lady who has taught Sunday School, sang in choir, a deacon's wife to name a few.
As we stand to sing, I whisper to mother that she can remain seated, since she has a hard time getting up and down. With a "what did you say?" beating me to my feet, I chuckle quietly. Mother's beautiful alto voice is still audible, singing every note as loud as she can. As the message is delivered, I notice that mother is nodding. With a slight elbow, I give her a nudge. She opens her eyes and shakes her fist at me with a tight lip; a look that I've seen in my childhood days when my sister and I would be misbehaving.
The Lord's Supper is being served today and the juice tray is passed. Empty holes where cups of juice should sit are visible but mother cannot see them since she won't wear her glasses. She sticks her finger in the hole thinking a cup is there. With several unsuccessful attempts to snare a cup, I quickly grab one and pass it to her. It's time to go and the pastor announces for us to sing a song and go out. I whisper to mother that we can slip out now to get a start on the crowd, knowing that it will take me a while to get her to the car. In her stern voice, she says "No, we're supposed to sing a song, didn't you hear what he said!" She begins to sing "Blest Be the Tie" in unison, rather loudly with that smug look on her face that only she can give when she has out smarted her "bossy" daughter.
All in all, it has been a good day. We arrive back home and my sister and husband relieve us for the afternoon. I just know that God had a big smile on his face today when mother came to church.