I’ll be heading back to Florida this week as my dad is having back surgery on Wednesday. While I’m down there, I’m planning on visiting with my Gram as well. This will be the first time I’ve seen her since she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, although as I’ve said before, we suspected it all along. Fortunately, we have hired a young lady who’s coming in for four hours a day, Monday through Friday to keep her company, help her with some light cleaning and cooking, and administer her medication since my dad is no longer in a position to do it on a daily basis. We don’t want to see her go into a nursing home, although we realize that she may not be able to remain on her own forever. I know it will be difficult for me to see her again, and listening to the same conversations over and over and over will certainly try my patience, but I love her – she’s my Gram.
Last night as I was listening to the radio program Family Life Today, I heard a very touching interview with Dr. Robertson McQuilkin that was recorded several years ago. Dr. McQuilkin spoke about the power of God’s sustaining grace as he was caring for his wife, Muriel, who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease many years before (you can listen to the broadcast HERE). At the time of the interview, Muriel had been completely bedridden and unable to speak for six years. Dr. McQuilkin had quit his job as the President of a Bible seminary to become the primary care giver for his beloved wife so she would not have to be placed in a nursing home. It is truly a touching story of a love that lasts for a lifetime.
Alzheimer’s disease isn’t new to Sam and I. Both of his grandfather’s had it, as did his mother. I suspect that he will most likely have it too, one day. I am dreading that diagnosis, and praying that the Lord will spare him from it.
Alzheimer’s is a silent prison that entraps the mind and enslaves the spirit. A few years ago, a song was written by a country music artist, Tim Rushlow (the front man for Little Texas) that speaks about the devastation that Alzheimer’s disease causes families. As I listen to the words, I am moved to tears as I sit wondering if one day Sam and I will be in this same situation; and if so, I’m praying that God will give us the patience and strength to care for each other through all the emotional pain the disease brings.