Dementia is such a strange disease, one moment you deal with someone who is happy, another with someone who is in the midst of depression. They can be joyful one moment and angry the next. One day they know who you are, and the next they don’t. Either way the real toll is upon those who care for those with dementia.
When I go to visit Mom I usually sit where I find her, or walk the halls, as she rolls herself around in her wheelchair. Mostly we sit in her room while she tells me a tale that has more paths than the ocean does salt. The memories and facts she has stored up in her come out in a never ending stream of what to her is reality.
The hardest part I believe lies in dealing with my Fathers death. He died in 1981 in yell county Arkansas where he is buried. Mom however doesn’t remember he has passed most of the time. At first I reminded her when she asked me where he was, but now I just say “you’ll see him soon Mom”.
For me the hard part is how much I look like him. The other sad part is that I am named after her brother who is also deceased. (Both of whom I miss!) So when I see mom she forgets who I am and I become either Dad, or Uncle Dan. It’s kind of weird, and a quite honestly a little uncomfortable.
I think we all want to be remembered for who we are, so this kind of memory loss is more upsetting than when she can’t remember facts and dates. but it goes much deeper than that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset and sad all the time. As bad as I was…I’m kind of glad she forgot so much about me!
It’s just that there is something humbling about being forgotten. It reveals and exposes pride that I never knew existed. Funny how God can take a situation like this and change me. Nothing is wasted in His hands if we take time to look and see what they hold. Looking to him is where we find hope in the hopelessness that often comes at times like this.
I am never forgotten, and when this life has passed Mom will remember me! For the hope I have is in a power greater than medical science and research. It’s in Jesus Christ! So I don’t grieve like someone who has no hope. Rather I look past where Mom is today, and look to the future coming of the one who will put a final end to dementia!