Saturday, October 27, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I returned home from an errand and tossed my purse into a chair by the kitchen table. I had a writing project to complete, and a quick check of the clock told me I had about thirty minutes before my mother would expect her supper to be served. I hurried upstairs to my computer, inadvertently leaving purse and cell phone behind.  While I was working I could hear Mom's voice on the monitor and assumed she was talking to the cat.

I worked diligently for a half an hour, then hurried downstairs.  I remembered my phone, and while Mom's supper was heating I saw that she had tried to call me three times in that thirty minute period that I'd been upstairs.  I took her plate to her and though she was grouchy, she was happy to see the food.  I put my phone in my pocket and went back to work on my project.

A few minutes later a police car pulled into the driveway.  I hurried to the door.  The officer said there had been a 911 call from our address and said he needed to speak to Anna.  I took him into Mom's sunny apartment, and there she sat, her empty supper plate beside her, music wafting in the background, the cat asleep on her lap.

"Ma'am, you reported that you were being neglected," he said.

And regardless of the fact that her only daughter appeared in danger of being hauled off to jail by a uniformed police officer (and even though his enormously tall colleague came galloping through the door unannounced in the midst of the conversation), Mom drew herself up righteously and said, "Well I DO feel neglected."

I said, "MOM!  You called the POLICE on me!!"  When she looked at my face her attitude changed but only slightly.

She shrugged, "Well, I'm senile. I know I'm well cared for."

There were apologies all around, an admonition from the policeman and his colleague  not to leave my cell phone behind again, and they left.

When I listened to my phone messages it became apparent that Mom had not called the police from confusion or emotional upset, but out of a vindictive desire to hurt me.  In the first two messages she had asked for a box of crackers to eat with her diet coke.  The third message said, "Linda, I am thinking of how I can annoy you the most.  I am going to call 911 and report elder abuse."  And she did.

This dealt me a heart hurt as deep as any I've received during these eight years of caregiving. My son told me I couldn't take it personally, that it was the disease.  "Yes, Son, I know that, but let me have my moment!" I exclaimed.

I needed a moment to feel the betrayal, to suffer the grief, and to process through to forgiveness.  In prayer I felt the Lord emphasize the importance of forgiving Mom now, and I remembered that Scripture that says what is bound on earth is bound in Heaven.  As a dear friend told me this morning, ".. though it is now a dim reflection, at times barely visible at all, one glorious day your momma will sweep her arms knowingly, lovingly around her beloved Linda as the Father wraps you both in His embrace!" 

I want to be ready to walk right into Mom's welcoming hug once the last vestiges of Alzheimer's and sin have fallen away and we meet our Lord in Glory. And so I forgave her, and prayed for her, and today we've had sweet fellowship together once again.  

This morning I installed a nifty one touch phone, with large printed names of four family members Mom can call, both home and landlines. She now has only to lift the receiver and press one of our names so the process of dialing won't be so frustrating for her.  Giving her more options of people to call should lessen greatly the chance of her dialing 911.  

I've vowed never, ever, to forget my cell phone again.  But if I do, I know the Lord will be with us just as He was yesterday when two police officers arrived at my door to inquire about the welfare of my Mom.  

Scripture:  "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).  

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).  


  1. Oh dear...that must have been quite traumatic for you. I love your statement, "Let me have my moment".

    Aren't you thankful that the Lord understands each and every emotion we have and must work through?

    The reminder that one day you and she will meet again without Alzheimer's in between is very good. What a day that will be!

  2. Oh Dear that is hard I know.One of our family 's inlaws had it. My Mom had it.

    We have a missing gentlemen in my area missing we all heard on the radio Yesterday.Police are going by alnight and days.

    I live in bush land of acres, acres. So I have prayed for the man. He has Alzhimers.

    Our families the Lord has taken them home to Heaven.

    It is a terrible disease and it can be so hard for the ones who have to deal with it. Like you.

  3. I came here through Becky's blog. Let me have my moment. Rang true to me too. I am recovering from breast cancer and every now and then memories come flooding back and I break down. I admonish myself for caving in but your words give me reason to believe that I might need these moments to grieve what I have lost. God bless you !

  4. @Terri...prayers going up for you right now. I think the Lord holds us in His loving arms while we cry over what we've lost. Sometimes I think He weeps with us. It's ok to process through grief so long as we don't set up camp there. And each time a painful memory brings tears we can run to the Lord's arms again.

  5. I'm here from Hospitality Lane, and so glad I clicked the link. This is a wonderful post about forgiveness and relationships and, indeed, "dying to self" so that the work that's needed continues seamlessly. These are tough lessons of which we all need reminders and encouragement. God bless you as you care for your mom; you have been a blessing to me today!

  6. I'm here from Becky's too. You're so right. To do what needs to be done in the days and months and years we need our moments.

  7. Hi Linda ~ I came over too from Becky's blog and wanted to leave you a hug. You're a wise woman and gave us all an example of how to process through offenses... until that day.
    Blessings to you.

  8. Linda, I know just how you felt. Mama was recently in the hospital, and I stayed with her for two days and a night while she was delirious. She thought she was at home, but I had changed everything around in her house and was upset with me. I tried to tell her she was in the hospital, but she wouldn't believe me. "I wouldn't lie to you about that, Mama," I said. "I'm not a bad person, you know." Her response: "Well, I didn't use to think you were, but you've changed. I've seen movies about people like you." I asked her what she meant by that. "Family members who try to convince other family members they are crazy." My two sisters finally arrived, and of course she had nothing against them! I hadn't slept in 36 hours, so I told them the "evil" sister was going home to rest. My sister laughed and said, "Bad girl, bad girl." Well, my mother who hadn't been able to remember anything or think clearly for many hours suddenly piped up and sang, "Whatcha gonna do when they come for you!" It was funny, but the whole thing hurt, too. I think you did very well to forgive as quickly as you did!

  9. Paula, thank you so much for understanding the hurt! So many have just thought this hilarious--and I can see that, I really can--but the pain of it is that my mother has abandoned all her former protectiveness of me. Used to be even when I was wrong I was right in Mama's eyes! Empathizing with you today...

  10. Linda, I've felt many times that my mother has lost the ability to emphasize with me, and she was once so good at it. That's a real loss for me as well...and for you.

  11. I am visiting from Becky's blog! I will add you all to my prayer list. My uncle spent many years with various stages of this disease. He didn't know his family and talked to them like strangers. Awful for his family but like you.., with God's love, they forgave him;). Blessings, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  12. Hi there - visiting from Becky's. My MIL has Alzheimer's too, and I know a little bit of what you're going through. Fortunately, the disease has not affected my MIL in that she is calm and happy all the time. Just doesn't talk or respond very much. I'm sorry you're going through this, but I very much admire the way you are handling your situation with your mom. It's so good to know that she will be whole again someday, and that for now you can be loving and be loved back in her good moments!

  13. I can't begin to express how these comments have blessed my heart--thank you Vickie for this: "...for now you can be loving and be loved back in her good moments." So true, so true! It is a testament to the Lord's grace and power that Mom's vindictiveness in her dark times isn't robbing us of the ability to express love for one another during her good times. I'm so grateful to Becky for being the catalyst for these warm and supportive comments that have helped me through this hurtful experience. God bless each of you.

  14. That is such a sad time... I know you were very hurt but glad you and your Mom are alright again. Alzheimers causes so much pain. I feel for you.

  15. Oh My. So sorry for what you are going thru. I understand. My heart and prayers go out to you.

  16. I lived with my mom for six months when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She called the police on me a couple of times. She meant it, too. That stung! But I know it was her disease that caused her to feel that way because she wouldn't have ever done that before.
    I love your scripture verses and I sent them to my sisters. We are going through such a hard time and we are struggling. Sometimes little things make a difference in a time where the whole world seems to be falling apart.
    Thank you for such a loving post, and for being there for your mom and inspiring so many me.


  17. Hi,

    I came across your blog while doing research for a project I'm doing at school. I am a student at Ryerson University and I have two grandparents who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

    I'm trying and determine if there is a need for technological (either web or mobile) solution that could improve quality of life for the caregivers of an elderly family member by organizing some of their responsibilities. Currently the focus is on three main pain points: coordinating tasks among a network of caregivers, managing medications and tracking symptoms.

    Would you be open to having a discussion about this initiative either by telephone or email?

    Thanks for your time.

  18. @Meagan, you can contact me through the customer contact page at my website:

    It sounds as though you've constructed a valuable study. Good luck with it!