Late November I moved to the Mississippi Delta to help care for my father who was in the late stage of vascular dementia. Dad courageously fought this battle until Sunday February 6. His celebration of Life service was held February 12. And just like that, the journey was completed.
I am still in the Mississippi Delta accompanying my mother who is aging gracefully. Will she move back to Virginia where all three of her children live? Only God knows. Today, we nap, we enjoy the rain fall, we begin to move forward without our patriarch, even though we are not quite sure what that looks like.
My mother is of boomer generation and I am a Gen X. We have total different views on getting thank you cards out. Let me assure you that the cards have been prepared, stamped and mailed. My cards on the other hand are still being delivered to me so that I may address, stamp and send. I need more time to think, reflect and rest. I just march to the beat of my own drum. I do not think that she is wrong and I don’t think that I am wrong. The gift comes in the honoring, compromising and being content. He was my dad but her husband. It was important to her to get them done as soon as possible. It was my duty to honor her and serve her.
The best thing to do when comforting others is to sit in the grief, in the hard stuff with them and live moment by moment. Easier said than done, right? My moment by moment means watching a morning of game shows and judge shows. (pssst …. I hate game shows, judge shows and tv in general 😂) but I love my mother and I’m willing to serve and that may just mean several more months of doing just that because love trumps all and I choose love.
It is easy to think that we humble ourselves before God, but our humility towards OTHERS is the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real.
~Andrew Murray, The journey towards holiness .
After my initial post regarding my return to the Mississippi Delta to help care for Dad, came many inquiries and questions. One basic question to the many direct responses was regarding God and how does this (dementia) fit his good plan. And how is it caring for someone who will no longer know you. Well friends, I am a person of faith, I am a believer and can only answer from that point.
Dementia is a hard thing to witness and since I am called to be a caregiver, he is providing me with everything I need daily and moment by moment; I lean into Him a little harder each day. Some days are easier than others; and most days I wonder what is God’s plan; how is He or will He use this for Glory and our good. Dementia was not apart of God’s original plan for us. Creation was good, healthy, filled with love. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were not content with this plan and they became disobedient. They sinned and it was through this very act that mankind began to experience strife. Love was still here but now so was hate. Life was still here but now so was death. Good was still hear but now so was evil. Good health was still here but now so was disease and that includes vascular dementia. And though sin entered in, God’s imagine was unchanged. We all share in this image and that includes dementias. However, sin did damage our ability to reflect God’s image. John Dunlop provided “ when sin entered the world, it compromised our ability to enjoy our lives on earth. This is seen in countless ways, but one of them is dementia and the way it wrecks havoc in the lives of it sufferers and those who love and care for them“ (John Dunlop, Finding Grace in the face of Dementia).
Dad’s brain does not function properly but he is not a half or less than a person. He is an image bearer of our God and deserves to be treated as such; with love, dignity and respect. It is my prayer that I serve well.