Lessons of Good-byes

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I found an old tape my dad had made of my grandpa–telling some stories of his life in Sweden and singing some Swedish songs. I’m listening to it as I type this. It is so precious to hear his voice and accent and laugh again! And it reminded me of this post. And it makes me think of how wonderful heaven will be–when I hear Grandpa’s voice for real. And when my Mama will be restored and know me again! I’m so thankful they believed in Jesus when they had life and clear thinking. What a blessing to know we will be together for eternity!

God's Grace and Life's Challenges

I learned lessons of life and good-byes tonight. I sat on the sofa, with my parents, as Mom read the little stories of her life I had typed up for her about her childhood and young adulthood and then her courtship with Dad.

At one point she read out loud, “Ray and Nina got married.” She turned to Dad and asked in a strong, surprised tone, “Did you get married?”
Dad teased her back, “Did you get married?”
Mom laughed and half shouted, “I don’t remember!” Then she suddenly turned and looked at Dad and seriously asked, “Who are you?”
Dad, unfazed and accustomed to the question, calmly replied, “I’m your sweetheart.”
“Oh,” Mom said contemplatively. “You’re my sweetheart.”

Dad and I sat and visited, while I continued to comb Mom’s freshly washed hair with my fingers. I asked Dad some questions and he told me stories of his own…

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  1. This blog touches on the other side of the coin represented in your blog “What I’ll Say to My Children if I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.” That was a powerful message that needs to be told and has huge ramifications in our world today. But there is more to the Story, at least for some of us, namely, those who have a faith in God that supports the hope of heaven. One comment you made in that blog was rather blunt and shocking, but I’d like to look at it from the other side, the side you’ve referenced in this blog. I believe with all my heart that my mother would indeed be better off dead. I love my mother dearly and we’ve had a unique relationship in our family as I have been the only unmarried, no children sibling. This has allowed us to share life on a very different level – a very special level. Because of our faith, death has no sting. When she dies she will immediately be ushered into the Presence of God in all His glory. What could possibly be more wonderful? He will enfold her in His arms and whisper in her ear: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. You are mine. Welcome Home.” And, as if being in His Presence wasn’t enough, at that moment she will be completely healed of all disease, and pain will be totally eradicated. There will no longer be the dementia that has stolen her ability to care for her own basic needs and causes her deep emotional trauma. There will no longer be the emotional wounds of a lifetime of loss and disappointment. There will no longer be the chronic pain she has endured in her body for most of her life here. Her tears will be wiped away. She will be Home. She will be the person God created her to be. She will know, fully and completely, the amazing love of her Father. It will be nothing short of glorious. So, while I believe that life here is to be valued in all its forms, I long for the day when my mother will be made whole and enter into Life. And it will be a Life we only glimpse now. Jesus told us He is going to prepare a place for us. Why? “That where I am, there you may be also.” We’ll be in His very Presence! And, we are told that “eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor has it entered into heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” Is it any wonder that “precious in the sight of God is the death of His godly ones”? I will miss my mother’s presence with me here, but I will never wish her back. Heaven is my hope and my comfort and my very real joy.

  2. Thank you, Judith. Heaven is my hope and comfort, too! I appreciate your beautiful description of heaven and eternity with God. It is the truth that keeps me going through this difficult journey. I speak of it often in many of my posts. I will have joy for my mama, even as I mourn my own loss, when the Lord takes her Home. And I love the thought of spending eternity with Mama and her being healthy and strong again and knowing all of us! What a joy that will be! Heaven becomes more precious to me every year. Meanwhile, I trust God will give me grace and strength to love and serve Him in whatever way He chooses. I’m so glad you have this certain hope, too, Judith. May God bless you and your mother. ~Cheryl

    1. Thank you for your blessing, Cheryl. I am new to your blog so my response was compartmentalized to that one post. As I’ve read more I see the fuller picture of what you are saying. Thank you for helping me and others process our journey with dementia.

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