My mother’s journey takes a shift in trajectory

– mum walking over to our house for dinner

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
– photo taken Good Friday

This post – written Tuesday April 11 – is designed primarily for family and friends. But I am happy for anyone to look over my shoulder and read, because I wear my heart – and my faith – on my sleeve. This space is an honest, open reflection on who I am and where I am, and my journey can serve as an encouragement to others along the way.

That said, this week marks a real change in trajectory for my mum. The past few weeks have been a serious struggle for her. She has lost appetite, lost weight, lost interest, and lost a lot of her ability to engage with the world around her. She is not doing much other than sleeping, napping, and eating only when I sit with her and make sure that she does.

– talking with Max Retriever

Up until the middle of March mum was getting up and fixing her own breakfast, taking her own medicine, playing the piano, reading, and taking the initiative to go out for short walks. But there has been a shift.

We have seen the doctor several times, of course, and even visited the ER, but there is no one thing anyone can pinpoint other than being ninety-one and general decline and missing my dad.

“We can best describe it as, ‘failure to thrive,'” her doctor – an experienced geriatric specialist – said. I believe the assessment is spot on.

So our approach, going forward, is that of shifting the focus of care to interventions best described as palliative. We want mum to be comfortable, we want her to enjoy her life, we want her appetite to improve, we want as much rest and as little anxiety as possible, and we want her to experience peace in every way.

Extra Help:

– Max keeping an eye on things

Monday, nurse Elizabeth from Always Best Care came in for an evaluation. Their staff will be with mum three times a week for the morning. They will provide “companion care,” to supplement some of my ongoing work, and cover some of the personal care responsibilities I am not so well equipped to do.

Is this simply another milestone, or are we seeing a more foundational shift that is setting a whole new course? Time will tell, and I will keep things updated via this space.

What really counts, moving forward:

Regardless, the scripture I quoted from 2 Corinthians holds remarkable insight: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 

Because (and I have written about this before) we will all come to the day when our bodies fail us and our minds too. So why not cultivate the aspect of humanity that never fails and that will outlive what is temporary?

One day, all I am going to need is my relationship with God. For my mum, I suspect, that day is likely not so very far into the future; she is as well prepared as any person I have ever known.

Peace and blessings, eternally – DEREK

walking back after lunch


  1. Derek, this message about your Mum, although I am sure was written with tears flowing, was beautiful. You described your wonderful Mum so well.
    Hugh and I will be keeping Grace, you, Rebekah and your entire loving family in our prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek, having journeyed this path as well, I appreciate your candor, your faith, and your faithfulness to your Mom. I lift you and Rebekah up in prayer and that your Mom is provided comfort and companionship. Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Derek, Grace & Rebekah,
    My mom had failure to thrive as her cause of death. We all wish to live freely & make our own choices. I pray for your family’s comfort & peace. God’s blessings

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m So sorry to read your news about your Mum ,when I think I have had her as a special friend for all of her life! Such a lot of memories of when we’re little girls in Barking seeing each other SO Much !And sharing The Awful Second war together!and Both celebrations whenJapan and Germany ended The most blest thing to remember is we both Loved and still do Our Lord Jesus !Please give Grace my special love and Prayers !Im sure we will meet again soon in Glory !love Brenda

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Derek, this is heartbreaking, but a very real stage of life. I pray for God’s peace in your mum’s heart and all those who love and care for her. Failure to thrive sounds like a broken heart. I can’t imagine how much she misses the love of her life. Grace and peace, Andre

    Liked by 1 person

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