The blog I never wanted to post

It’s official. My mother has Alzheimer’s.

We’ve suspected it for months … maybe even years. It started as little things. Things she said or did … something not quite right; occasional at first, but growing in frequency. Now we know, but knowing doesn’t make it easier.

My poor Daddy is a saint. He has to do everything, and does it without complaining, without asking for help. Cleaning the house, washing and putting away clothes and dishes, preparing meals … everything. She tries to help, but it’s the kind of help you’d get from a six year old. They’ve been married fifty-four years, and she’s been his best friend and helpmate for all that time. Now he can’t have a meaningful conversation with her and it’s heartbreaking to watch. He defends her, saying, “She’s trying. She’s doing her best.” Tears glisten in his eyes when he admits, “It’s hard, though.”

Yes, it’s hard. On so many levels.

What a horrible disease! I think it’s worse than cancer. Well, at least as bad. Cancer eats away at the body. Alzheimer’s does too, but in a roundabout way … via the brain, the memories … the very essence of who a person is; slowly chipping away at what makes a person who they are and turning them into a child, eventually a stranger.

She has good days and bad days, but even on her bad days she still knows me; always seems happy to see me, but sometimes she doesn’t recognize my brother, and I dread the day when that happens with me. Even worse…what happens when she doesn’t recognize my Daddy? I’m afraid that will break him. They’ve always been so close; a wonderful pattern of a successful marriage that so many people aren’t blessed to have. I count myself very fortunate for their example, but they’re almost too close. For years they haven’t pursued any individual hobbies or activities of their own; always together to the exclusion of anyone or anything else. It worries me. Their lives shouldn’t be that wrapped up in each other. What’s going to happen when one of them doesn’t have the other?

I pray for my Daddy. For strength and endurance, for health, for so many things. He’s one of the finest men I know, a term not applicable to many men nowadays; in fact, I’m afraid “fine men” are a vanishing breed, heading for extinction. In spite of this, I’ve been blessed to know several: my Grandaddy, my Daddy, my husband, and his Dad. I pray my sons will follow these examples and be the Godly men (and eventually husbands and fathers) they were created to be.

Meanwhile, my family will continue down this “detour” on the roadmap of our lives. Though the road we’re to travel seems to have been highlighted with an ugly color, and we’ll be navigating toward the inevitable “valley of the shadow of death,” Jesus will be making the trip with us. He’s the ultimate navigator, and knows where we’re going and exactly how to get there.

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11a, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” Not will make. According to this verse, it’s already done; we just can’t see it until the time is right. Everything … even Alzheimers. Something to be thankful for.