My mother just turned 89 and I was able to celebrate her birthday with her. Since she doesn’t want any presents, I just made enough time to sit with her and keep her company. I can’t visit her very often, since she lives in Germany, and I live in the U.S.A.
She is getting very frail and can’t walk anymore without help. She lives in a nursing home now and is taking care of her everyday needs.
Throughout my time with her I was looking for opportunities to share my faith with her and explain to her about eternal life. It is her belief that when she dies that will be the end of her. Unfortunately, every time I mentioned anything about spiritual life, she either changed the subject or tried to ignore me.
I was always looking for something to share that would uplift her and get her out of the mood of complaint and resign.
One day, during my visit with her, she didn’t even get out of bed, because she didn’t feel well. I moved my chair close to her bed. We talked for a while. I started looking around her room when my eyes fell upon a book which was nestled in between a few teddy bears in a basket on the floor. I picked up the book and asked my mother if I could read the story to her. The story in the book is one of my mother’s favorite since her grandmother used to tell it her when she was a child.
The name of the book is: “What Three Little Bears Experience in the Woods;” by Margarete Thiele. As the story goes, three young boys named Hans, Rudi and Wolfgang were given each a small bear which they named Puhz, Jochen, and Wollbaeckchen (Wooly Cheeks). When the family goes on an outing, the boys take their bears along and loose them in the woods. The three bears go on an endearing adventure, meeting all kinds of animals in the forest, riding in a walnut shell on the river, taking to birds, and eating all kinds of critters. After several days, their owners come looking for them, and they are reunited in at small café at the edge of the woods.
I enjoyed reading the story and learn myself about the unusual journey of the little bears which were so dear to my mother’s heart. It took me all afternoon, resting my voice in between reading, and showing my mother the colorful picture of the voyage.
By the time we were finished with the tale my mother thanked me over and over for reading the fairytale to her. And every time I talk to her now, she still reminds me of how much she enjoyed the story.
I was not able to talk to my mom about God or eternal life, but I could renew a long lost childhood memory. After all, I am satisfied with my gift for her Birthday. I love you, Mutti.