Tuesday, May 13, 2008


ON MAY 12, 1913, DOROTHY MAY HESSELBART CAME INTO THE WORLD, a bouncing, happy baby girl, sweet from the top of her head to the tips of her toes, and remaining as such for the next 95 years! How do I know this? Because she is my mother, and I've watched her live her life. She has always been gentle, loving, soft-spoken, passionate about serving the Lord, an avid reader, a constant learner, a model of utmost patience, a strong support to her family, a sweet companion, hard-working and diligent, talented in a myriad of ways (playing the piano, singing, sewing, crocheting, knitting, cooking, baking, and the list goes on!) She's been my friend, a wonderful listener, a great conversationalist, a wise decision maker, a sweet comfort and a strong encourager. It is impossible to put into a few words all the many things she has meant to me.

My mother has Alzheimer's and, most days, seems to be in the final stages of the dreaded disease, if sleeping her life away is any indication. This picture, however, was taken on one of her 'better days', a few weeks before her 95th birthday. It was the day we introduced her to another of her great-grandchildren. Rarely does she speak a coherent word, but this particular day, she looked down at Gavin and said, "Oh, isn't he cute?" AMAZING!

She does not know who I am--only that I'm someone safe. She cannot call anyone by name, but will occasionally still say, "Jesus." It is a mysterious, heart-wrenching, disgusting, painful, debilitating, incurable, unstoppable disease -- and yet at the same time it has taught me things. Things like compassion and understanding, patience, endurance, kindness, and gentleness. It has taught me how to love on deeper levels. When I go to visit Mom I try to take time to speak with the other residents, smile, pass out hugs, say a comforting word. I seek out the staff and try to encourage them, thank them for all they've done and continue to do.

If I search for a "why" in all of this, the only thing I can come up with is that the rest of us have gained from all that she's endured.

For that, I say, "Thank you, Mom." Thank you for enduring, for suffering, for going through these trials so that the rest of us could develop stronger character.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and a blessed 95th birthday. I love you, and I rise up and call you blessed.

Your loving daughter...


dylansmommy said...

This is all so true. She has always shown me such patience and love, and I have learned so much from her. If only I could be like Grandma someday! Happy Mother's Day Grandma. I love you so much!


ginal said...

Wow , a wonderful message from the heart for your mom. I had tears on my eyes when I finished to read it.
Even you know my mom was not like yours ,I truly love her.

Dorothy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mom!