Those of us who have had loved ones with any form of dementia, know what it
is to walk in darkness before
admitting or acknowledging that there is a problem. Those with the dementia
must surely have been dwelling
in the land of the shadow of death as the disease crept up innocuously,
gradually grabbing their faculties,
forcing them to flounder until found out.
My mom was what one might have termed eccentric for most of her life, and
so her new little idiosyncrasies
went unnoticed or seemed acceptable for quite some time.
I remember the day at her dinner table when she removed the carrot she had
just put in her mouth, gazed at it blankly,
asked what it was, and exclaimed she'd never eaten one of those before. She
was 75. Not only had she eaten them
before, she had planted, cultivated and prepared them all her life. My
blood ran cold; my breath and heart seemed to
stand still. Something was very wrong. The roller coaster ride which
accompanies any serious illness in a family began,
and none of us, least of all her, could get off.
As hard as it is to watch our loved ones diminish, and though there be
terrible times to walk through, God is with us in
even the smallest of pleasures: a ray of sunshine, a little bird, a phone
call from a friend, a kind word. It is He who gives
us the strength to carry on, teaching us love, acceptance and understanding
for others within and outside our families.