Monday, August 5, 2013

A Grateful Update of Sorts

We had another visit with dad this weekend. It was the first time I've seen him since clinging to his seemingly lifeless hand in the emergency room just ten days prior.

He was so happy. So charming. My soul was delighted in the time we spent with him. He threw his arm around my shoulders like he did when I was a child. He wouldn't move without holding tight to one of our hands. I was filled by him. I thought it impossible, but this visit wasn't taxing, instead it was just the opposite -filling, encouraging, sweet.

As we left I was surprised to feel tears sting my sky blue eyes that mirror his. Walking to the car I felt pride push my short legs just like the ones that support him. My butt chin itched begging me to touch it, to remember his matching dimple. Oh how God has crafted us uniquely, yet so similarly.

Jason remained composed. Led me to the car, put it in drive and whisked us off to a dinner with his family. My heart hurt with joyful containment for the first time since this disease began to haunt us. We drove in silence and I thanked God.


My stubborn, hurt, angry soul screamed to Him in glorious awe. It thanked Him for the work He's done in and through this damned disease. Never did I think it possible, but my growth felt so there, so palpable, so rewarding. For the first time in a year, I knew He was there with us in the day. I could feel Him pacing the halls, taking it slow down the ramps, seated in the dining hall during dinner hour. And, I felt Him push me across the black heat of the parking lot, cozy into the passenger seat beside me, lay a hand upon my blonde head and tell me, I'm starting to understand. That His wisdom is permeating my thick skull.

"As you know, it was because of an illness that I first came to you, 
and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. 
Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself."
-Galatians 4:13-14

Friends, I wish dementia on no one. If I could eradicate the pain, the ugly, the fear that accompanies the disease I'd do it in a heartbeat. But, for a moment, I saw His point. He brought us here, you and me, to commune with Him. And, due to dementia, we're doing just that.

Because, friend, you have not treated our illness as a trial or burden but as a gift, a part of life, of friendship, of love. You've joined in our prayers, you've cried our tears, you've felt our joys, you've held our pain. Friends, it's dementia that's gifted me these emotions and the paired words I put here. You've welcomed my family into your hearts as Christ asked us to do to one another. And that is beautiful. Simply, wonderfully beautiful.

Though I've prayed for change many a time. My heart is in a moment of thanksgiving for dementia, for the depths of pain, love, and grace, for you faithful friends, for prayer, for strangers who identify, reach out, and care, for this messy, beautiful thing I get to call my life.

Thank you for welcoming us -Mr. Thomas and me, Mama Bird, Popsicle, Bubs, Miah, Hazel-, all of us alike into your hearts. We're a motley cast of characters with more to offer than we give ourselves credit for and you've asked for nothing but our story. Truthfully, I'm so glad to share.

2 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I struggled watching Alzheimer’s change my grandfather over the course of 2 years and it's devastating. I know I'm a stronger and better person because of it, but that doesn't make it any easier. Thank you for sharing your story and know that you are in my prayers! I'm so happy I found your blog last week.

    Karissa
    http://kandkshaw.blogspot.com

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