Paul died on Sunday morning. 39 years old, severely autistic....but still such a shock. In the aftermath of the news I sit reflecting on life, the Plan of Salvation and motherhood. I write in honor of my mother-in-law.
I don't know how life with Paul really was. I have heard many stories, seen a few of them in action and have asked her many questions. Still, I have no idea of the struggles and blessings she has experienced through her time with Paul.
My own experiences as a mother leads me to know that she loved him dearly; more than herself. She looked at his newborn face and knew she would do whatever it took to protect him, teach him and travel with him through the storms and sunshine in life. She spent more time with him than anyone else did. She bathed him, not just for a few short years like the rest of us, but for over 30 years. Every day she woke thinking of his needs and went to bed checking on him. Everyday she prayed for guidance, ability and patience. Everyday she sought to understand and to help him understand. Everyday.
I think she might be feeling conflicting emotions right now. Joy that Paul is free from his body and able to do so much more. Sorrow that she no longer gets to feel him touch her hair. Guilt, though unjustified, about what else she could have done. Relief that he went first so she didn't have to worry about him if she had.
Amid all the emotions, I pray she is feeling true peace and comfort that comes from Jesus Christ.
Gloria, I honor and respect you for the many unnoticed acts of service you have rendered day after day, year after year with patience and love to Paul, and to all the rest of us. I know you won't see it as that.....you see it as "just" being a mother.