Our caregiver, Julie, came yesterday morning with plans to get my 96 year old mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, up and showered and fed, etc. But Mom wasn’t going for it. I heard Mom scream, “Get out of here! Get out of here!”
Julie, who truly is an incredible caregiver, left her alone for 15 minutes and tried again. Again I heard screaming. Julie kept trying different approaches. Mom kept refusing to get up.
When my husband got home from a meeting, he went in to Mom’s room and tried his usual approach that tends to calm her down. He said, “Hi Mom. You are Eunice and I am your son, Jeff.”
Mom looked at him and said, “So what?”
To make a long story short, Mom didn’t get out of bed until after two in the afternoon. And the shower was postponed until today. Thankfully today was a much better day.
But the challenges of yesterday remind me of days I had with my own mama. And the little gifts of grace God would send to help me through them…
August 2, 2015
Some days there just seems to be so little I can do. And I wonder if I’m helping at all. And then somehow Mama, in the middle of dementia, says just the right thing to bless me…
I lean close to Mama as she sits in her rocking chair and say, “Hi, Mama.”
She looks right at me and says, “I don’t know who you are.”
Dad looks likes he’s dozing and I know if I talk with Mom I may disrupt him, so I go and sit across the room. Mom doesn’t turn to face me. She keeps looking at the door and the picture on the wall. She occasionally says random things.
Dad wakes up after a few minutes and I give him the prescription I’ve picked up for him. He seems anxious to catch the news on television, so I sit by Mom a few minutes and help her eat one of the homemade cookies I’ve brought over.
Dad has the volume so loud I can’t really talk. And often these days when I do talk with Mom it seems to agitate her. I decide to leave so Dad can watch his program in peace. I say, “Good-bye Mama. I love you.”
And she answers, “I know you do.”
And I cling to that.
Because lately it feels like there is so little I can do to connect with Mom. And it grieves me to think that my visiting with her often riles her, when all I want to do is surround her with peace and joy.
Alzheimer’s is a continuing journey of learning and challenges and tears. It draws me into a deeper reliance on God and His grace. What a comfort to know, that even when Mama doesn’t know my name, God always will.
And even though I can’t always comfort Mama or be with her, God is always, constantly watching over her.
And God is with me, too. And He knows my heart. And He collects my tears and records them in His book. (Psalm 56:8)
And I call out in prayer and say, “I don’t know what to do, Lord. I’m not sure how to help. But I love You and I love Mama and Dad.”
And I picture Him smiling and gently saying, “I know you do.”