Then I remind myself that this is a decision we’ve all agreed is best for everyone concerned. Mom needs someone with her all the time now. In the early years of her living with us, we could leave for several hours or even a few days without worrying that she couldn’t take care of herself. That’s no longer the case. Could we hire more people for more hours to come into our home to care for her? With a two-bedroom home, that’s just not feasible. Since leaving her alone is no longer an option and we can’t guarantee that someone will always be here with her, we need to make arrangements for her to be somewhere else where 24-hour care is available.

We have done so—not without pain or doubt, but surely with love and divine guidance. I realize now that I continue to honor my father as I care for my mother, but I also honor her by doing what’s best for her. In this case, that means making the decision to place her in someone else’s care, though we’ll still be actively involved in her life on a regular basis.

People are living longer these days, and though some may be physically and mentally healthy enough to care for themselves until their last breath, many are not. As a result, some will spend their last years living with relatives, while others will move into some sort of facility like the one we have chosen for Mom. There’s no easy one-size-fits-all answer to what it looks like to honor our parents, but so long as we first seek God and base our decision on the selfless love of Christ, we can rest in the knowledge that we are not only honoring our mother and father, but God as well.

February 10, 2011

Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her most recent release, Red Ink, and the upcoming People of the Book, coming in April. Visit Kathi at www.kathimacias.com or www.thetitus2women.com.