| By Bishop Earl Boyea

The Blessing of Parents

Writing about this is a bit unusual for me, but here goes. Back in April, I was able to be with my folks (Dad is 92 and Mom, 91) for my 70th birthday. During a period of three hours (drinks, dinner, walk, and cards), Mom initiated singing Happy Birthday to me about 12 times. She clearly was enjoying this more than me. And she got my name correct most of the times. She is suffering from dementia. It was the most delighted I have seen her in quite a while. She was especially taken with her own rendition of “How old are you?” I doubt she was remembering the birth of her first-born but was caught up, in a child-like way, in the moment.

This is now a cherished memory for me as we look forward to Mother’s Day. This slow fading of Mom has taken some adjustments on the part of us 10 kids. The biggest task has fallen to our father, who has nobly filled in with cooking and washing of clothes and seeing to Mom’s frequent use of the bathroom. Every day, he is becoming more of a hero for me. The real surprise came a couple of years ago when he answered the phone and carried on a conversation. I asked who he was and what he had done to my father. The phone was always Mom’s work!

It has obviously been a great blessing to have parents around for so many years. There are so many who have said goodbye to parents at very young ages. In addition, the problems with dementia are often much more difficult than our mother is experiencing. So, blessings simply abound!

This brief account is simply to give a context to my wishes to all the Moms – “Happy Mother’s Day!” – and to all the Dads, thanks for your love and care for your spouse.