January 15, 2009

Night Wanderings...

Have you read anything about Alzheimer's? I've only just begun. After a week of real-life observation and a session with a doctor pronouncing the grim diagnosis, the subject has become suddenly relevant to my life. It's not a stray word or a vague notion anymore. It's attached to somebody I love, somebody I long for continuing relationship with, somebody I ache for as they enter this lonely fog of confusion with the fancy name...

Funny how life takes unexpected turns, how one day this life seems fine and its relationships forever, and the next, you realize it's not so. You have today, maybe. For better or for worse. Hope of a deepening relationship this side of eternity is in vain. Death is not the only thing that can rob you of your loved ones. There is this living creeping fog...

And just when you think the grief is over and it's just a fact of life to be accepted, you read a new paragraph that describes what you're facing, and are reminded again, this is for real. It's a deteriorating condition. It's not going to go away. Things are going to get worse. You really are losing the one who gave you your name but no longer knows it some days... Grief over? I don't think so.

And then there are the fears that rise especially at night, from being related to this case by genetics. What if I'm losing my mind as we speak? What would that be like? Not to know or be known... Just when I think I've nipped this fear off in the bud, I forget some simple thing and the insinuations arise... hmmm, could be 'early-onset'... This makes for an atmosphere-lightening joke when you're with your sister; alone in the night it's more of a nightmare!

But in the midst of these dark ponderings hope arises. I woke this morning remembering I have a Father who knows my name, who never changes, who won't grow old though He is called the Ancient of Days, who knows me and will love me forever, though my mind doth me part. This is good to remember.

I have been thinking too lately about life's purpose. What is my life's calling? Am I fulfilling it? Am I maximizing the days I have for relationship by making sure the ones I care about know I care? Am I sharing my heart while I have the capacity to share it? Will there be longings for relationship with me that go unmet because I have withheld myself till it becomes no longer a conscious choice? And, am I celebrating the life I have, the relationships I share, the love I enjoy? Every day, a new day, an opportunity to be truly present with and for the family still in my home. This is something to treasure. I see it now with new eyes--something to remember while my mind can cling to the remembering...

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.' (Lam.3:21-24)

4 comments:

Maelee said...

I've waited to comment, hoping that I would find words that could act as a salve on your heart. There are none, Linda, except the ones you have found yourself. The God who knows the stars by name will always hold and care for you, no matter what the future holds. I empathize. My grandfather spent his last 15 years in ever deepening confusion with one difference - he always knew people and we never had to go through the pain of lack of recognition in his eyes. You are ever in my prayers as you walk this road.

Daughter of the King said...

As always, Linda, your questions probe right into the heart of God and pull out pure golden threads, which you weave into portraits of his majesty. Interestingly, it is the same with your wanderings into his creation from which you observe, draw, photograph and describe the beauty and majesty that many of us miss. You remind your readers that it is such a priviledge to be a child of God; to be unconditionally and eternally loved and accepted; to be able to trust him; to live this sometimes difficult life -- to receive beauty out of the sorrows. Thank you for sharing your painful, honest, somtimes funny, and often marvelous moments so that we can see what you see and ponder what you ponder. I love you.

Linda said...

Thank you both. Friends are a priceless wonder.

Bethany said...

These are very good observations/thoughts. Keep up the good posts MOM...