It doesn’t seem that long ago, although, it was, that I said I don’t know how I would handle it if my mother no longer recognized me. I also recall saying how devasting Alzheimer’s is because you lose your loved one twice: once when they no longer know you; and twice when they die. At the time, I did not know that I would be given the opportunity to share not only my experience as a caregiver but also to tell my mother’s Alzheimer’s story.
To die twice, could anything be crueler? I used to think no. That is until I asked God for grace and peace. Grace, to help me stand alongside my mother, so I can help her endure her Alzheimer’s journey. Peace, so I can be strong enough to let her go when the time comes.
Moreover, I became fully aware of an answered prayer while waiting at a stop light. (Funny how God reveals himself, isn’t it?) On this particular day, I felt exhausted. My caregiver responsibilities weighed heavy. I worried over my decision to move my mother to a Senior living facility. There was no going back. Sitting at the stop light, I wanted to scream and throw a tantrum. How much longer will this slow-killing monster have its way with my mother’s mind? I thought. Then, with more guilt and shame than anyone can imagine, I admitted that I wanted my life back—
My life? Oh God! I thought. Please forgive me. I’m so sorry for thinking of myself when my mother is slowly dying. I couldn’t believe that I allowed such a thought to pass through my conscience. Mom deserves a better daughter, I said to myself. I wonder if other caregivers have similar feelings. I hope not.
What happened next, still gives me goosebumps. My aha moment surfaced. In the twinkling of an eye, as the Bible says, I realized that God had indeed answered my prayer. Had I not asked for grace and peace, and had He not delivered? While I was wallowing in self-pity, I almost missed the greatest gift—the sweetest blessing—God gives. A tear trickled down my cheek. I knew that what God granted my mother and me was time. God is giving me time to not only spend with my mother but also time for me to get used to the idea that one day we will say goodbye.
All my life my mother and I have been best buddies. She encouraged me when I needed a push to succeed. She advised me through tough decisions. She disciplined me when I did wrong and, during my teenage years, she cried alongside me when my heart was broken. She comforted me when my dad passed, saying that everything will be all right. And even though I strive to be the strong, independent woman that she raised me to be, there are days, like today, where I feel I let her down. Do we ever stop being the child?
As our journey continues, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. For it is because of God’s love that grace and peace are ours in abundance.
We are blessed…