Alzheimer’s World is a place I never thought I would visit, let alone have two parents living there. Alzheimer’s is so weird. It affects different people, well, differently. Each person has their own neurology and biology and chemistry. It is what makes the world go around. How different and unique each of is. And so there is no one way to deal with this ugly disease. No perfect way that always works. No platitudes that really touch on the reality of this world some of us are forced to inhabit. And quite honestly, this disease steals the life from those who are caregivers. My world has greatly contracted. I cannot even begin to properly explain how small it has become. Sadly, outings to pick up prescriptions for mom, or to buy groceries, become the highlight of our week. Tomorrow she has a procedure for some cancer. It is just the second day this week we will have left the house. Each day is its own mystery. It is hard to plan ahead. And every morning, well, we just are not sure how the day will roll out. We always get the most beautiful good morning…but from that moment on, it is a crap shoot.
Her procedure went better than I had hoped. But I hit a pole in the parking garage of the hospital and took out a good section out of the passenger side of the car. I was so angry. And mom had no recall of it. She did not know why she had a bandage on her leg. She did not know where we were, or why we were there, or what day it was. She maintains her humor and tries to be witty and funny…trying to disguise the fact she can’t recall something from 5 minutes ago. She tries to be so philosophical, and tries to give advice. *sigh* But she talks in circles and doesn’t even realize it. She speaks the same platitudes over and over again. And again. The world of Alzheimer’s is a swirling world of sameness; of repetitiveness. And some days it makes me dizzier than others. Ha-Ha.
God knows I am not perfect and I know the Lord is still working on me. He has a fertile mission field in my heart and soul. And this week we start Lent. How am I to make my mom understand that? She wants her sweets and her potatoes and her bread, and her meat. She was born in the 1920s, when plates were arranged with meat, potatoes, and vegetables and if her plate is not arranged like that, she complains. She doesn’t ever complain about what we feed her. It’s not that at all…it’s presentation. If everything doesn’t seem to be present, it confuses her. *sigh* So we are challenged this Lent. With more! LOL! I have priest friends who talk about hospitality…that if you go to someone’s home and they serve something that is not Lenten, or appropriate during Lent, to be hospitable, you accept it and thank them, omitting things other places in your day. But you do not make a big deal of it. You graciously accept their hospitality and move along. I am thinking something like this may apply for Lent in a house with an Alzheimer’s patient, who is already confused by life as it is. We can eliminate meals or other things, as we can.
“When you fast, do not be somber like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18
And so we are psyching up to begin Lent. We are trying to lessen our presence on Social Media…being on FaceBook less and less. We are trying to control our food intake to be more towards Keto and less and less carb. We are trying to read more in Scripture and religious books. I am doing a wonderful Lenten study and am participating in a Psalter Prayer Group. We added an app on our phones for daily reflection and prayer (we both love it). Our favorite is the morning “Java with Jesus” offering. We are taking steps. Some of the steps are baby steps…some are leaps. Regardless, we are stepping towards better. Not relying on the same, but moving forward. Lent is all about that. Making positive changes, to enhance your love affair with God. It is a wonderful, annual opportunity to refocus. This year, we are dragging my mom along with us. And may we all move closer to God in these next 40 days. Blessings.