Hug Your Mother: A Look at Caregiving and Alzheimer’s Disease

A teenage girl with grandmother at home, hugging.

Linda Lawrence

Editor’s Note: This is second in a series of articles written by Ms. Linda Lawrence that addresses the challenges and blessings in caring for an aging parent.

When Dad died, my husband and I invited my mother, who had Alzheimer’s, to live with us because we knew it was the right thing to do – not because it felt good.

Mom and Dad’s marriage had not been good, and Mom now craved closeness with her daughters. I craved solitude so I kept distance between us but prayed often that God would give Mom the affection I did not feel. God answered that prayer.

One Sunday I woke up especially cranky, not wanting to be around people, even though my mother was actually gone for a couple of weeks, visiting my sister. I went to church though, knowing it was the right thing to do.

As the service started I was annoyed to see that an intellectual scientist was going to give the children’s sermon, sure that it would be a waste of time.

“What is a hug?” he began. He’s going to talk about hugs? That was not what I expected from him.

“Did you know Jesus likes to be hugged, too?” he asked.

Blank stares.

“He does. When children wanted to climb on His lap and hug Him, the big people who were His friends tried to scoot them away. But Jesus said, ‘No, no, let them come’ and they hugged Him; and the Bible says He blessed them. So, how can you hug Jesus?”

A quiet “I don’t know” was the only response.

“One way to hug Jesus is to hug your mother. Jesus said that what we do to other people we are doing to Jesus.” [Matthew 25:35-40]

That reminder struck me with a jolt. God was trying to tell me something.

“One way to hug Jesus is to hug your mother,” he had said. My cranky, critical spirit thought he should have said “. . . hug your mommy and daddy,” or “. . . hug your parents,” but then I saw the message was for me. I need to hug my Mother.

That evening I talked to Mom on the phone, trying to sound loving, but honestly, thankful that she was still at my sister’s. Mom said, “I miss your hugs, honey. You always make me feel so loved.”

Really? What a wonder. I didn’t feel loving or affectionate, but I acted out the way I hoped to one day feel. Mom needed to feel loved so God covered for me and somehow had been miraculously transforming my dutiful obedience into love without me realizing it.

God is a loving God, and now I’ve learned that one way he wants to hug me is through my mother.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Lawrence is retired and resides with her husband, Carl, in Corvallis, OR.

Drifting (Part 1 of Series by Linda Lawrence)
Hug Your Mother (Part 2 of Series by Linda Lawrence)
How Can I Be A Caregiver? (Part 3 of Series by Linda Lawrence)
Alzheimer’s Became a Blessing? (Part 4 of Series by Linda Lawrence)
Treasured (Part 5 of Series by Linda Lawrence)
The Shepherd Restores a Soul (Part 6 of Series by Linda Lawrence)


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