It has been a rough couple of weeks. I’m sure you all can relate. Too much to do, too many places to go. For us, we moved ourselves and then a week later moved my elderly parents. Our whole family is now closer which is wonderful – but getting here was killer. We are beginning a new journey of dementia.
I need peace.
Driving down the road on a crisp, fall, sunny morning, I felt tired; emotionally and physically. I glanced at the craggy mountains that surround our little Central Washington valley. Sunlight glistened off a fresh new dusting of snow. Snow? In October? It was beautiful and took my breath away. Nature spoke.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” Psalm 121:1
A sense of calm peace filled my soul. Thank you, Lord.
I need strength.
Several miles later, I rounded a corner. I glanced over at one of my favorite spots along the Yakama River. Normally, I would see fly fishermen gracefully casting their line over the rippling water, but today the body silhouetted in the rising mist was a large bald eagle. His stark white head glowed in the morning sun. His solid, dark body radiated power and majesty. Nature spoke.
“Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31
I am not alone. I can do this! God will give me the strength to see my task to the end.
I need love.
Arriving at the assisted living home, I gave my parents a “good morning” hug, then sat down to discuss our list of tasks for the day. While Mom and I discussed various needs for their tiny new apartment, the conversation kept circling back around to Dad wanting his truck so he could drive home. He has no drivers license – no truck – and no more home in Southern Oregon. With dementia becoming an ever-present part of our daily lives, sometimes it is difficult to get past topics that consume and confuse his mind. I glance at my Dad, his face is familiar; like looking at a comfortable familiar sweater, but this man in front of me was both familiar and a stranger.
Some days I get frustrated with the same questions and conversations over and over. Other days, it just makes me tired not knowing the best way to answer questions that I just answered ten minutes ago. And how can I best support my Mom as she is on the front lines of this battle?
This is a journey I have never traveled before and there is truly no map nor is there a direct route back to “normal”. Kind of like traveling with a gps and taking a wrong turn…”recalculating!” But what I do know is that I must pray daily for patience and strength and remember that this man nurtured and loved me for all my life, now it’s my turn.
“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Psalm 71:9
I can only fill my heart with love – draw upon my strength from the Lord – and keep on keeping on.
Has dementia touched your life? Feel free to share ways you remain strong in the face of this disease in the comments. #LoveWhatMatters