“Hi, I’m Debbie and my mom has early stage Alzheimers”.
10 words I never thought would leave my mouth. Ever. Ever. Ever.
I was sitting in a small office at the local senior center with four elderly women each of whom was caring for a loved one with some form of dementia. Two facilitators were leading this support group for care givers. To say it was a bit surreal is an understatement. It felt more like I’d been transported to the Twilight Zone. On Jupiter. Without a space suit.
They talked and I listened still in disbelief that I was in that room for that reason on that sunny Friday morning.
Life is weird.
So many other things had come unglued in my life at the end of 2016, but the health and mental capacity of my mother was not one of them.
January 3, 2017 — our lives took a radically different turn.
I wonder what God has up His sleeve?
As the three of us siblings sort out, what now? and talk more than we’ve talked in years, I know that I know that I know that God has a plan and it’s a good plan and there is a greater plan of redemption at work —
“I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised . . . I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)
Can I make any sense of this verse in light of my mom’s diagnoses? No.
Is this the future any of us hoped for? No.
Do we have any idea about anything beyond March? No.
Are we promised answers to devastating news? No.
But BUT . . .
Do I believe that God can be trusted? Yes.
Do I believe that God is a good good God? Yes.
Do I believe that God knows what He’s doing and has it all planned out? Yes.
Do I believe that He won’t abandon us, not one of us, ever? Yes.
YES YES YES YES
For the time being, my brother and sister and I are rotating being in their home to love and bring support to my mom. (There’s a full-time care giver for my dad who’s had health issues for over a year.)
Their loyal friends are also showing up, bringing meals, visiting over tea, driving her to appointments, and just being present to these two wildly beloved and admired humans who for decades have spent their lives out in love and kindness and compassion. Now it’s time, I guess, for them to receive back all they’ve poured out.
(After church last Sunday as we stood by the car and teary people came over one by one to offer encouragement and hugs, I told them it seemed that I was in the presence of the King and Queen of England — except that we were in a Chevy Impala.)
The apostle John declares that light shines in the darkness. (John 1:5)
Light shines IN the darkness
So, in the midst of the darkness of cognitive impairment and memory loss, light shines! Over the next several months our extended family will be celebrating:
- 2 high school graduations
- 2 college graduations
- 1 graduate school graduation
- A new baby
- A wedding
Graduations, weddings, babies . . .
God is good and His Kingdom is here in life and in loss; in hope and in helplessness; in faith and in fatigue; in celebrations and in confusion.
“I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail and my spirit may grow weak, but God, BUT GOD, remains the strength of my heart, He is mine forever.”