Family Focus
A DEBT OF LOVE Dennis & Barbara Rainey
You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God. Leviticus 19:32
As a teenager, I recall my dad pushing back from the dinner table and walking a few blocks to visit his mother. Sometimes I would go with him, though the visits were pretty boring. There was little more than the ticking and occasional chirping of the cuckoo clock and the creaking of Grandma Rainey’s rocking chair. Not exactly high-tec entertainment for an adolescent.
But my dad’s commitment to maintain a relationship with his mom made an impression on me. I’ve never forgotten it.
Looking back now over the 26 years my own mom lived alone after my dad’s death, I wish I had done a better job of keeping up communication with her. Sure, we lived 4 hours away, and yes, we had 6 children in 10 years. Barbara had health issues. We were incredibly stretched and busy.
Even my attempts at calling Mom once a week didn’t always happen. And though we went to see her several times a year, I’m convinced I didn’t think often enough about the loneliness she was experiencing with her increasing age.
As I went through her bedroom after her death, I discovered a dresser drawer full of notes I had written her over the years. I believe she kept every one. It made me wonder how many times each of them had been read and re-read.
It made me wish there had been more. It made me wish I’d been as attentive to her all along as I became in the last two years of her life after she got sick – holding her hands, kissing her on the check, turning off the television when I visited so that we could talk without distraction.
If it’s still possible, I urge you to make the sacrifices to keep your relationship intact with your parents – encouraging them, appreciating them, making sure they know how much they mean to you.