In the last year of my mum’s life, especially when she was overcome with health problems, I remember my dad saying that his purpose in life was to look after her. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t living with him by then or that the practical looking after was done by others. She was his purpose.
So it was devastating for him when she died. Not only had he lost the woman who had been the love of his life for over 55 years but he lost all sense of his role in life. I have lost count of the times I have heard him pray to God to ‘take me now’ because of this.
Since his recent move into a care home, I haven’t heard that. He is distracted and engaged by the new things around him, in particular by the friendliness (and prettiness!) of the nursing staff. He is making new relationships alongside maintaining old ones because of the proximity and accessibility of the home.
Perhaps he is finding a purpose again.
And I am reminded of the apt promise of Psalm 145.14, which Dad and I read together when he was in hospital last month:
“The Lord will uphold those who fall.”
(And here he is, showing just how engaged he is in his new home!)