In the spring of 2014, my Mother, who was 90 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth. She endured a very extensive surgery to remove part of her cheek, tongue, and throat.
My brother, Bill, and his wife lovingly took her into their home to care for her during her recovery. Bill’s retirement last year allowed him to spend quality time with Mom daily: having discussions, reminiscing, and making new memories.
Over the past year, Mom’s short term memory has faded. Bill shows such patience and understanding, and reassures her over and over. Earlier this spring, he told me about a conversation they had. Mom had expressed to him that she felt like a burden. Bill’s reply to her was that this time they now had was their redeeming time. There were many years when he was busy working and raising his family and he was unable to spend time with her; now he was able to give her the care she needed.
This thought of “redeeming time” stayed with me. I thought about my Mom, my siblings, and my friends who are also dealing with the aging of their parents, especially those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
My thoughts collected into the following song, which I’ve dedicated to my brother and to my Mom.
(I’ve always written poetry, but this has a tune. I’m not musical, so I’ve enlisted my friends, Sheena and Rob, to help me get the tune out of my head and on to paper).
As I look back at all the times
When you reached out to me
And I was busy with my life
Or was I just too blind to see?
I had no time to talk to you,
No time to hold your hand.
Your phone calls went unanswered
And I failed to understand
That life was passing by too fast
And you felt the end was near.
You weren’t asking much from me
Just to know that I was here.
Now I look in to your eyes
And see confusion mixed with tears.
I wish I hadn’t brushed you off,
Or wasted all those years.
My heart has come to realize
The joy I brought to you.
From tiny babe to grown man,
Your love’s what saw me through.
Now the time has come for me
To give you what you need.
A hand to hold, a gentle touch
You’ve given these to me.
It’s not too late for me to show
You how you’ve touched my heart
These are our redeeming days
It’s not too late to start.
I see you in a different light
Than when I was just a boy
The days we spend together now
Are filled with love and joy.
Your legacy will stay with me
When from this earth you’ve gone.
I can truly say this day
That I am proud to be your son.
It’s our redemption time
It’s our redemption time
If you have someone you need to redeem time with, do it now. Your time is the most precious gift you can give.