Friday, February 27, 2015


Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.
(Luke 24:29)

Mostly I don't blog about events in my life because I don't want to compromise anyone else's privacy. But tonight it is heavy on my heart that tomorrow we'll start moving my mom into an assisted living facility. My dad will stay in their current apartment. They will be in the same building but in separate wings. I think this is the right thing to do, given their differing needs. I am glad they're in an excellent establishment. As far as I know, they feel okay about it.

But I am sad. Even with all the good things, it's sad to see life go inexorably through its stages toward the inevitable end. I am so blessed that my parents' stable, loving marriage has been a foundation for my life. They have been married for over 62 years. I'm sad to move them into separate units.

Many years ago, when I was a young woman, my mom was about the age I am now, and my mom's mom was not quite as old as my mom is now, my grandma was in an assisted living facility, too. It was in New Jersey, her home state. My parents and I visited there shortly after I graduated from high school. Here we are...I am on the left, 18 years old:

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That visit was the last time I saw my maternal grandmother. I remember that I saw her in the dining hall and after dinner the staff led the residents in singing "Count Your Blessings." Afterwards, my grandma complained that she and others wanted to sing "Abide With Me," but the staff made them sing "Count Your Blessings."

For my mom's mom, then, here is the hymn of her choice:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O, thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.