A New Loss and A New Joy

I thought Mama’s words didn’t hurt me anymore. I thought I had adjusted to the things she says through the warped perspective of Alzheimer’s.

It no longer fazes me even when my sweet mama shouts that she hates me. I know it’s the disease talking and not her.

But I was unprepared for what she said last Saturday. And it still brings me to tears when I think about it. It’s another loss that I hadn’t realized I was facing.

Saturday morning we got the exciting news that my daughter-in-law was in labor with our first grandchild! We were beyond excited!

As we prayed, and waited for THE call, I went over to take care of Mama. After I helped her eat and got her all clean and fresh, we sat together on the love seat.

I said, “Mama, my son Allen and his wife are having a baby!”
And Mama answered, “I don’t care.”

Anyone who ever knew my Mom knows that she loved babies more than anything. Even years into her Alzheimer’s she would still light up whenever she saw a baby or a small child and stop in restaurants to smile and chat with the little ones.

I couldn’t believe Mom would say she didn’t care. I tried again. “Mom, my son Allen and his wife are having a baby right now. They’re at the hospital.You’re going to be a great-grandma again!”

And Mama seemed angry and yelled, “I don’t care!”

“But Mom, I’m going to be a grandma!”
“NO!” she hollered, “You CAN’T!”

And I blinked back stunned tears. And I reminded myself that this is not the heart of my mama. She doesn’t know what she’s saying. She doesn’t mean it. This is the disease talking.

But it didn’t help much.

Because I realized I was dealing with another huge loss. Because of Alzheimer’s I was losing the chance to share one of the most precious moments of life with my dear Mom. An event that would have thrilled and delighted my mother in her healthy days.

I went home and cried. And I mourned the shared rejoicing that wasn’t to be.

And then we got THE call. And we went to the hospital. And I held my first grandchild and cried tears of joy. Blissful joy. And for those moments nothing else in the world mattered.

Later in the week I sat by Mama on the love seat again. I showed her pictures of my sweet granddaughter. And Mama said, “Oh my goodness!” And she said, “Cutie.” And my heart took a bit of comfort.

I wish Mama could truly grasp it all. I wish she could join with me in shopping for the baby and babysitting and pouring mushy grandma love all over this precious little one.

But I’m thankful as I remember what a wonderful Grandma she was to all of her grandchildren. What a beautiful example she left me of unconditional, sacrificial love.

And even though Mama shouted that I couldn’t be a grandma, I know I can. Because she showed me how.

Abounding Grace

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.

Today I looked at my to-do list and just felt stressed out and guilty. And then Dad called and gave me more to put on my list.

I was tempted to get right to work, but I stopped myself and read my Bible first.

And I read, in 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

I’ve always taken this passage to mean financial giving, which I believe is the context. But now I’m wondering if it doesn’t also apply to serving in general.

Doesn’t God want us to minister to others with cheerfulness? How do I honor Him if I’m serving with a grudging heart wishing I didn’t have to do whatever I’m doing?

It’s not fun to change Depends or pick up dirty tissues or file thickening toe nails. But if I do it out of love for God and others, and purpose in my heart that this is how I’m to serve in this season, then He can help me do it all with a cheerful heart.

Because He is able to give me all the grace I need. Abounding grace! He is sufficient. His grace is enough.

He has given me abundance for every good work that He calls me to do!

I don’t have to feel overwhelmed with stress. Instead, I can focus on Jesus. I can cast all my cares on Him. I can walk close to Him, and thank Him for His provisions each step of the journey.

I can sing of the grace He gives and serve Him with a cheerful heart.

When I’m Old Can I go Home?

Last night Mama asked, “When I’m old, can I go home?”

And though I half smile at the innocent wonder of her words, I ache inside, as I try to grasp her feelings. She’s in the house she’s lived in for over fifty years—but she wants to go home.

She often hollers out, “Mama! Mama, where are you?” It’s the most frequent cry of her heart.

And I try to imagine what it’s like to not know where you are and to be wanting your mama so desperately and unable to find her… and to have pain and not be able to explain it, and to have needs and not have the words to express to them.

I so want to comfort her and give her peace.

And then I read Psalm 139 this morning. I read about how God knows our thoughts and is acquainted with all our ways. I read about how He hedges us behind and before.

I read, (vs. 7 to 10, NKJV) “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”

And it gives me such comfort to know that Mama is not alone. She may not recognize God’s presence with her at this time, but He IS with her. When I can’t understand her thoughts, when she can’t even understand her own, God does.

He knows her thoughts. And even when she is in the very worst darkness of Alzheimer’s, she is never truly alone. Her Heavenly Father is with her. His right hand is holding her. He is hedging her behind and before.

Mama knew Jesus when her mind was healthy, and He knows her always. He will never, ever leave her.

He is preparing her forever home. And in His perfect time Mama will find her Mama again. What a joyous reunion it will be!

And yes, Mama. When you are old, you can go home.