How Can I Make You Feel Safe?
How can I make you feel safe?
This question runs through my mind every time I enter the room in the long-term care facility where my mother lives. When I walk through her door today she is asleep in her recliner, her body listing to the left as usual.
I put my things at the foot of her bed before greeting her. “Hi Mom!”
I speak louder. “Hi Mom!”
She wakes with a start and turns toward me. She blinks. “Hi Jo!”
“How are you today?”
“Tired, Jo. I’m so very tired. I just want to sleep.”
“I brought you an ice cream bar. Are you too tired to eat it?”
“No.” She presses the button of the recliner’s remote control until she’s sitting upright. “I can eat it.”
While she devours her ice cream, I wet a paper towel. When all that remains of her treat is the wooden stick I throw it away and wipe her sticky fingers and lips.
“Why am I so tired?” she asks as I sit down to visit. “All I do is nap all day.”
She asks this question every day.
Every day I walk her through the chores she did on her parents’ farm during the Great Depression.
Her career as a serious elementary and secondary student.
Her college days.
Her early years as a teacher.
Her days as the wife of a farmer who became an extension agent.
Her return to teaching after her husband became ill.
To read the rest of How Can I Make You Feel Safe?, visit Key Ministry’s blog for parents.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon. The first book in her cozy mystery series, See Jane Run!, features people with disabilities.
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