One of the greatest indignities of the disease called Alzheimer’s is that in the later stages your body forgets how to do the most basic of daily routine care.
Like how to use a toilet.
In the hospital setting, a family member is not allowed to assist with these very private needs. Hospital safety regulations prevail subjecting that person you love and care for to accept help from a bevy of healthcare nurses and aides. All of them very capable and kind, but scary strangers to a confused mind.
In the wee hours of the morning, two of those beautiful people were assisting mom within the tight quarters of the hospital bathroom. I sat outside in her room listening. While they assisted Mom, her nurse asked a routine memory assessment question: “Do you know why you’re here, Charlotte?” Momma thought about it for awhile, then shook her head ‘no’ when she couldn’t come up with an answer. Then she added, “I know I came here to honor my Savior.”
I think there was a little tug at each of our hearts. This dear woman of faith who each day awakens to fewer memories than when she laid her head on her pillow the night before still realized her purpose in life.
It took quite an effort to get through all the steps of this basic human need. As mom finally got seated back on the edge of her bed, she prayed a prayer I have heard her say many times in the past few months. My heart melted just a little more when I heard her pray aloud
“Thank you, Jesus, for all you do for me.”
Momma wrestled her uncooperative legs onto her bed, where her nurse tucked her under her covers and her nurses aide arranged her pillows where they provided the most comfort.
Yes, life as Momma knows it is changing drastically. Life as I know it is changing too.
Momma’s next prayer reminded me that in the midst of life’s storms, we can bring glory to God. Tugging her blanket up under her chin, Momma closed her eyes and talked to her Savior.
“Thank you, Lord, for this day. Lord, continue to give me the grace to be obedient to you.”