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An elderly warrior, and the weapons necessary

We moved Mom into an assisted living center recently (well, my brother and nephew - God bless them - did the heavy lifting.) She is sorta settled and sorta unsettled.

Her apartment is great, and thankfully set up much like her old home. Her cat, Barney, made the move too, and that helps.

The "unsettled" part of her keeps moving things around. I'm not sure if its her way of trying to make it feel like her own, or if it's just her aging brain. Anyway, things were muddled the last time I was there, and my brother suggested that I "help" Mom straighten out her closet and drawers. Thankfully, she was open to my gentle offering.

I tried to put her winter clothes together, and tuck away sandals that she'll likely never wear again under the more comfortable slippers she will need. I sorted through lighter tops and folded them away under sweaters.

In her dresser, she has a drawer that I thought was jewelry. There were a few trinkets in there, but mostly, there were rosaries and scapulars. Dozens and dozens. I recognized one rosary as my grandmother's. The scapulars - some were worn and torn, others brand new - were tucked neatly away in small plastic bags and little jewelry boxes.

This was my mom's war chest: her weapons for the years and years and years she has spent as a faithful warrior for Christ. I know all of those rosaries have been fingered and prayed at some point. Mom always had at least one rosary handy - in a purse, in the car, in a bag for traveling.

When I was fourteen, I fell off our horse and broke my arm. My mom, a nurse, splinted the arm efficiently and tucked me into the car to drive me to the hospital - a good 25 minute drive from our rural home (and trust me, an eternity when you have a broken arm.) As we headed out, she handed me a rosary, and said, "It's good to hold onto." When we got to the hospital, they literally had to pry that rosary out of my hand.

That drawer - that war chest - reminded me that our family has been blessed in so many ways by the prayer warrior who has been our matriarch for so long. Now, as she steps closer to death, her mind a bit jumbled, those prayers still spring softly from her lips. The warrior may be old, but her fight continues.

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