The Cost Of Honoring


Sunday we attended the funeral of my wife Kristi’s mom, Charlot.

Charlot lived a full 92 years, and until the last 8 months of her life had been independent and active. But a cyst in her brain gradually stole her balance, then her ability to walk, her independence, and eventually her life.

Charlot had no desire to leave her home, nor her precious dog Dudley, so Kristi and her sisters cared for Charlot at home till the end. At first it involved driving her to many doctors appointments and her all-important weekly visit to the hair dresser. But as the months went by, it became necessary for someone to be with Charlot around the clock.

Near the end, when Charlot couldn’t walk, Kristi and her sisters had to dress her, bathe her, lift her out of bed and into her wheelchair, then lift her into her chair in the den. It was physically demanding and emotionally draining as well, watching their mom decline.

The four daughters paid a price to honor their mother. They sacrificed time, energy, and personal convenience. They spent whole days caring for Charlot’s every need. They gave up their evenings to watch Judge Judy and Rachael Ray with her. They made sure she was comfortable till the end.

And I never heard a word of complaint from any them.

Not everyone has this kind of opportunity to honor their parent. But we all have times we’re called to serve when it’s not convenient. I want honor others unselfishly and cheerfully no matter what the cost.

photo by Eric Hands

The following two tabs change content below.
I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I’ve written a lot of worship songs. I also like to paint.

Latest posts by Mark Altrogge (see all)


  1. says

    So sorry for your family's loss, Mark. This post is dear to my heart. I cared for my mother in much the same way the last 18 months of her life, and I am sure that Kristi and her sisters will tell you that the cost of honoring is a precious opportunity they will never regret.

    • says

      Thanks Patricia. Sounds like you know what it's like. And you are right, Kristi and her sisters have no regrets, only wonderful memories, despite the tough parts.

  2. Elaine says

    Praying for you, Kristi, and the family as you walk through this loss, Mark. My sisters and I had the opportunity to serve our father in much the same way until his death in April 02. It was hard and sad at times but it was a precious time as well, leaving us with sweet memories. The Lord brought several believers who served us unselfishly as we cared for our dad; it was a testimony to the Lord's goodness as the body of Christ came together to care for one of His sons.

  3. says

    I am praying for your wife and you and the rest of the family.
    We walked through a similar valley with both of my wife's parents. Though they were difficult days we look back and see that they were sweet as well as strong bonds of love were made even stronger.
    May God bless you all in this time.

  4. lisa says

    Our condolences, Mark and Kristi. This post is special to me, as my husband and I have the privilege of caring for my wonderful mother-in-law, Arlene. She is the most gracious lady I know, and I want to be like her when I grow up. Caring for elderly parents can be a challenge but it is one of the most dear privileges we can have, and we know that it's God will as well. What a wonderful opportunity to honor them and give back some of the love and care they've giving to us. I'm sure Kristi would say that there was no quesion in her or her sisters' minds about whether or not to make that sacrifce. For us it was one of the easiest decisions we ever had to make: absolutely, no question — we take care of Mom. God has been so faithful and kind and we are making precious memories. I pray that Kristi and her sisters will have those precious memories too, and that they'll feel God's pleasure over their glad sacrifice.

    • says

      Thank you, Lisa,

      You and Don are wonderful examples in the way you care for Arlene and for Dale as well. You're right – it was an easy decision for Kristi and her sisters – they just wanted to do the best thing for their mom – and it was. Kristi and her sisters and you guys are such great models for the rest of us.

  5. says

    Love is patient, love is kind. … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful illustration from the life of your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>