“Peace on Earth…”
It was four years ago today that we lost my mother so suddenly – a day that I will never forget. I think of her so often and miss her so very much. Life has a new normal now that we are adjusting to – not a “normal” that is better – but a “normal” that is real. When I think of my mom I have complete peace that she is where she should be. I know she is at peace – and that gives me great peace. Time helps to heal the pain of loss – but I still miss my mom – I so very much miss her!
I call my Dad most nights now – it is a routine I started when my mother passed away. I used to call him just to make sure he was not lonely – and now continue to call him because he needs the extra care – and support. You see, my dad suffers from increasing memory problems – actually its dementia -although it is so hard to say that word. I think of my dad as he was – not as what this terrible disease has made him. Calling him keeps him grounded – keeps him as much as possible in the present. Calling him helps to keep his direction clear – as clear as possible in the ever downward spiral of dementia.
He has good days and bad days – some days where it is even hard to detect he has memory issues although those are very rare now – and days where he doesn’t know who we are. Last night was one of those nights. He knows my voice – he recognizes the sound and tone – those are his words. But he doesn’t know my name – and he has to ask how I am related to him. And when he realizes that I am his daughter he feels great relief – an acknowledgement that he belongs – he has an anchor to hold him in place – to give him a sense of security. His mind is so lost at times – he fights to bring it back to a place that makes sense. And when he hears my voice – he knows my voice – he may not know my name, but he knows my voice. It gives him great peace to know he has someone that knows him and loves him – and will guide him – he knows he struggles – but he also takes great comfort in knowing he is in good hands.
My dad has great peace about his situation – he trusts that He is in the hands of his heavenly Father. He tells me that when he feels lost or confused he prays. It is so interesting that memory problems don’t seem to affect his spiritual being – He never forgets his faith, or his relationship with God. He can pray on his own – and he can lead the family in prayer before our meals with the authority of a great minister – that has never left him. And he has great wisdom – he loves to hear what is going on in our lives – and although he doesn’t always quite remember the details of our lives – he wants to know how we are doing – and he can offer the greatest wisdom – as if his mind is in complete health. I never cease to be amazed at his thinking ability. He has never lost his humour – still so sharp and so clear. Little by little we are losing part of my dad – but his deep inner core is still very much there. And I realize if we dig deep and hold on tight to his hand – we find it – it comes back. And that brings great peace both to my dad and to us.
We know it will not always be this way – the decline will more than likely continue – and there will come a day when he will not know us at all – but for now he does – he may not know our names, or where we all fit into his picture – but he knows we fit in because he knows us and this gives us peace.
There is a saying – “Love the people God gave you because He will need them back one day.” I know this to be so true. And there is great peace in knowing that our brief journey here on earth is just a part of our journey – there is more – so much more to look forward to!
That gives great peace!