When Life Feels Meaningless

Every now and again, Momma says something that makes me get up, grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and write it down. Sometimes I use the quote as my writing inspiration, other times the note gets buried in one of my too-numerous stacks. Today I stumbled upon one such note I scribbled on a scrap of paper more than two years ago.

IMG_2583
Back in the days when I lived with Momma in her senior apartment.

My mom was still living in her senior apartment and I was camping out on her living room sofa each night. (I’m so glad that those days are over!) It was well after midnight and I could tell Momma was restless and agitated in her bedroom on the other side of the wall, so pulled up an app on my phone and looked in on her via our D-link camera. There she was sitting in the dark on the edge of her bed just looking around. Her back was to the camera, but I noticed she was reaching for tissues every so often, so suspected she was crying.

I decided to go check on her. Sure enough, she was crying…and very glad to see me. I sat on the edge of the bed and, with my hand on her shoulder, asked what was wrong.

“Oh, Cindie! My life is so meaningless,” Momma lamented through a flurry of tears. What have I even done in the past few days? I feel like I’m not pulling my weight around here. I feel useless. Just so useless!”

Just a few short years ago, I would be hard-pressed to find a busier or more productive lady. Her life was filled to the brim with post-retirement activity. Mom traveled every year with my Dad to all of his Air Force reunions; their trips took them to so many interesting places. Mom kept her retired nursing skills relevant, oftentimes accompanying a friend to a doctor’s appointment, visiting someone in a nursing home, or helping someone recovering at home understand their doctor’s orders. When Dad went through surgeries and treatments for any of his five cancers (colon, prostate, melanoma, lung, and sarcoma), she was right there beside him helping him too. My mom was super-involved in her local church – her church family knew they could count on her in any of her various ministry endeavors too.

As busy as she was, she always found time for opening the doors of her home to those in need. Several of mom’s children and grandchildren received help from her (and dad) through the years. If a grandchild needed help earning money for something they “needed,” Mom and Dad always seemed to have a too-well-paying job for them to do. A few of them needed more substantial financial help as they grew older – she was always generous. Some needed a place to stay on the cheap – there always seemed to be an extra bedroom to sleep in (with magic clean sheets every week), and favorite foods in the never-empty fridge.

Momma can’t do any of that anymore, but she really wants to help – to feel useful again. Don’t we all want that?

My sweet mother’s tears reminded me that one way I can be a blessing to her in these declining years of health is to make that extra effort to make her feel useful in her remaining days on this earth.