She still loves a hearty meal and has never been known to turn down ice cream. Her eyes light up when she sees her children and loves to visit with anyone around her. She may not know your name but she knows you are related to her. At ninety five years old, my mom, Peggy, who is on the fourth floor of an assisted living facility, is enjoying life as much as any elderly person on the planet.
Staff members like her because she doesn’t get mad when another resident tries to steal her walker. And better still, my mother hasn’t lost her sense of humor. Aides scroll down their phones to find a joke because Peggy still gets them! When a recent medical interviewer asked her, “Do you know the name of the vice president of the United States, she smiled and struck back with, “Do you?” Touché, Mom. Sassy as ever, this great grandmother doesn’t miss a beat. She’s enjoying the interaction that comes from living with a group of residents who make up the Remembrance Unit on the fourth floor of Sunrise Senior Living.
Though I live several states away, I know she’s doing well because the kind staff send me a monthly progress update. It’s a weird feeling reading about your mother’s behavior from a staff member and brings me back to elementary school days when my mother read my kindergarten report card. “Plays well with others.” “Tends to daydream.” “Sociable.” “Always finishes her snack.” “Likes to finish other children’s snacks.”
The age old flip flop. I’m the parent and she’s the child.
Mom’s getting ready for still another flip flop and a new perspective. A catapult into the great unknown, heaven perches on her doorstop. She won’t remain forever in that locked facility with the numbered code on the elevator door, installed to stop runaway members of the fourth floor tribe.
Although the fourth floor is locked, the views out the window are spectacular. When I visited her in September, my sister and I encouraged her to walk out onto the patio. The view alone is worth the short shuffle in a walker. I could see for blocks and blocks as we roost above the tree tops in our patio chairs. Beyond the ranch-house style neighborhoods and the broad cement roads that connected them rose the beautiful foothills I remember from childhood. What a vista.
And yet that panorama will never compare to the one God has prepared from heaven. I can’t imagine what views we will enjoy, peering from eternity. Past lives? Breathtaking glimpses of the world we left? Maybe. Angelic hosts that would put any American Idol winner to shame? Yes. God, in his word has promised us a vision incomparable to anything we’ve seen on earth, surpassing the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or the Swiss Alps.
You don’t believe me? 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” And you thought your trip to Europe was awesome. I’m looking forward to it but for now I’ll enjoy the fourth floor’s beauty and my mom’s company.