Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today is a Gift

Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease nearly five years ago, and is now functioning at a higher level cognitively than she was at the time of her diagnosis. At that time, my research led me to the expectation that she would exhibit a slow but steady decline, and this has not yet happened.

Elsewhere in these entries I've described in detail the medications and the environmental factors that I believe have helped Mom to hold her own and even to improve. To review briefly, Mom takes the Alzheimer's drugs Aricept and Namenda along with an antidepressant. She receives a cholesterol lowering medication that I think may have helped her cognitively as well, and I give her several supplements including fish oil, a daily multivitamin, calcium, and lutein. She lives in a room with southern exposure, receives daily exercise, and is provided music and books. Most importantly, she has enjoyed a lifetime walk with the Lord and her faith has not wavered.

Tonight while I was in prayer, the thought came to me that the time my mother has lived with us has been more for me than it has been for her. The Lord has provided Mom the comfort that comes from resting in Him during this time, and when she dies she will rest in Him still. He has allowed her this time of peace while my heart is being strengthened to bear her loss, but I haven't always understood or accepted that this long goodbye is a gift. Today I am praying to be more appreciative of this gift of time with my mom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To Respond With Love

When I began taking care of Mom I congratulated myself on my ability to hold my tongue when she snipped at me. I felt quite noble when her occasional snide comments fell into a pool of my determined silence. However, the Lord made it clear to me that if I am to follow His example, some action must be taken. A reply that expresses understanding of Mom's frustration or my arms going around her for a hug are examples of loving responses.

My mother, regardless of the state of her ability to remember, reads my moods quite accurately. She is well aware that my silences are not loving. Today my prayer is for the ability to respond in love toward Mom even when she is grouchy with me.