I helped with a funeral for one of our ladies, Christine, who died at age 90. She suffered from Alzheimer’s for eight years. Her husband, Ed, was incredible in his care for her! I have rarely seen someone with this much devotion to his wife.
Delivering the message brought to my mind my own mom. She suffered from Alzheimer’s for five years until she died from complications from the disease and other medical problems. It’s tough watching your mom go through something like this.
I am not confident I completely understand the ailment but the essence is that the person begins to forget stuff they used to know like the back of their hand.
In my mom’s case, she never got to a place she completely forgot who we were but she could not concentrate for very long on much of anything. And, she couldn’t do some of the things she loved to do like cooking and hosting folks and working with kids.
I hated watching my mom go through this stuff since she stopped being completely her. Yes, there were those fun moments when mom would say something outlandish that would make us laugh. But, most of the time it was just painful to watch.
Some of my favorite moments with Mom near the end was when she would sing. She remembered the old songs of the church and we would sing them and you could tell it registered some real memories.
I guess I started thinking about her today due to trying to help the family deal with the grief of losing their wife, mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. I remember my brother and I helped lead the funeral for my mom. That was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.
I knew and know my mom is with Jesus; the same thing I assure folks all the time concerning their loved ones. In spite of all that, I still cried like a baby! And, even today, 11 years later, I still have my moments I just want to cry when I think of her.
That’s the thing with grief. It isn’t something you ever “just get over.” It continues to hit you at strange times and in strange places. It can be triggered by a certain smell or by a certain picture or by seemingly nothing at all.
It ain’t easy losing someone you love. I know my mom is in a much better place right now and is in her right mind and is experiencing peace and rest. But, I still miss her!
I am thankful for friends and family to draw close to me for comfort. I am thankful for the presence of the Holy Spirit who listens when I complain about my disappointments. And, I am super thankful for the memories!
I remember mom running down the sideline cheering me on at a football game; mom holding me when I found out we had to move away from home; mom giving me a huge bowl of ice cream; mom, full of pride at my graduation, my marriage and the birth of our three kids.
One thing I am learning: grief is cathartic; it is healing! You got to let yourself truly experience the entire process. Answers might be tough to come by but one thing I know for sure; God and others will walk with us if we let them…