Saturday morning musings….
Someone asked me last night if I worried about E.
Short answer: No. I’m not worried. I am realistic and saddened by this disease. Sometimes I’m angry at the disease, but I work to treat E with grace regardless of what the disease throws at us. I’m not worried; I choose to trust God.
No, I am not worried about E.
I don’t know what our future holds, nor can I change what this disease holds for E. Worrying definitely won’t change the progression of her disease. Instead I try to do what I know to do to help her, love her, and keep her safe. I choose daily to trust God with the parts I don’t know and can’t change. And I chose to trust Him with what I do know.
I know Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that will lead to not only memory loss but also loss of ability to do normal Activities of Daily Living.
I know E has already lost many of these ADLs – she cannot cook, doesn’t know the day or the time, has no clue where she lives, and requires help with dressing and bathing. She was declared by the court to be incompetent to make legal, financial, or medical decisions. I know she relies on me for these things.
I know her memory is gone – she thinks this a facility and I am simply one of many who work here. The others include the speech therapist, the caregivers who work on Monday and Thursday, the nurse, and the shower aide. She probably thinks Ron is the kitchen help since she most often sees him there cooking, cleaning, or eating. She has not called either of us by name in months.
I know that though she no longer seems to know I am her daughter, she knows she is safe and loved.
I know that though she’s lost many things and her brain is broken in many ways, her personality is still evident. She still loves music. She still loves to read. She still loves good movies. She still loves tacos, Tex-mex, and pizza. She still loves to talk about my dad and still loves when I tell her stories of their time together. She still loves church and having little girls give her hugs and showing her pictures they drew during the sermon. She still loves a good joke and laughs a lot. She still says thank you each morning when I wake her with her morning meds (something Ron with attest I have never done; I have never thanked him for waking me!) She still has a beautiful smile. She is still charming and delightful.
I know that though E is still E in many ways, in others I have lost the woman I knew. I am losing her little by little each day. I know I am experiencing a new kind of grief.
I know this disease will eventually lead to death.
And I know there are many losses before death for many with Alzheimer’s: loss of the ability to swallow or feed one’s self, loss of words and the ability to speak, loss of continence, loss of the ability to walk, and the complete loss of who they once were.
I pray that E goes Home to Our Father before she experiences these losses. Before I experience them with her.
I also know one thing will never be lost: she will never be lost in the eyes of God. Her name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life the day she heard and believed the gospel of salvation. She was marked with a seal – the promised Holy Spirit who will lead and guide her until her death. Her mind may be slowly dying, but her spirit is already living eternally.
Ron and I are honored to care for her for however long she is in our home, regardless of her ability to understand or appreciate the sacrifices we are making daily. We aren’t just doing this for her, and we definitely aren’t doing it for thanks. We aren’t just caring for my stepmom, we are caring for our sister in Christ who was made in the image of God. We are caring for her as unto Him.
And because I know the One who made her – who knit her together in her mother’s womb, who knows every hair on her head, who wrote every one of her days in His book before one of them came to be, who knew no sin but became sin that she might become the righteousness of God – because I know Him, I can go through each day trusting Him.
Even on the hardest of days I can choose to trust God. So, no, I’m not worried about her. Her future is in His hands.
May I be found worthy.
E moved into our home the first week of December. I will be writing more about Alzheimer’s and caregiving.