Reflection, family, and love
Valleys are often referenced in Scripture. They are places where God’s hand is most evident, His strength most needed.
My valley is not easy to talk about, but I’m going to try. I live with dementia every day…no, not me…as least not yet. My mom has severe dementia. Every day gets a little worse. There are very lucid moments, and for that I am extremely grateful. But just last night, I asked Mom to pour herself an iced tea for dinner. I like to give her simple tasks to keep her engaged and feeling useful. This is something she does every night. Not difficult in my eyes. A simple routine. Well, instead of iced tea, she scooped vanilla ice cream on a napkin with a spoon and asked me if that was ok.
No, it’s not ok. Ice cream, iced tea. I get it. What disturbed me most was that the task was part of her nightly ritual before eating her meal with us. Nothing out of the ordinary, but in her mind, she must have confused the two. Then the other question, why put the ice cream on a napkin instead of in a bowl? I can’t begin to understand how her broken brain processes. It’s so painful to watch.
My daughter reminds me that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. I’m a master at laughing at things that are not always funny. More often than not, laughter is my emotional release. Instead of getting angry or crying, my go to emotion is laughter. But not with my mom’s situation. I remember her as my best friend, as a mentor, teacher, playmate. And it’s not funny seeing her disappear. I can’t laugh.
Why do I tell you this? I think it’s so I can process it and personally remember to praise God somehow for the valleys. But also it’s to help us have a better understanding of dementia and our responses to it. We can’t control how we feel. Emotions happen. Right now, my emotion is deep sadness for my mom. Just don’t expect me to laugh.
I like answers. I like to write my thoughts and put a little bow on the end of the package so it’s all pretty and nice. Not today. Not this time. All there is a resolve to love my mom and make life as easy and peaceful as possible for her. That’s all I’ve got. And prayer…“Oh, Lord, please wrap your arms around those people in all of our lives who are in need of an extra measure of comfort, peace, love and joy. You’re the Master of that. And thank you for my mom. In Jesus’ name…Amen.”