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A Journey into Alzheimer's - A Journey of Love

by Pastor Bobby Keating  
9/01/2008 / Health


Each of us has our 'cross' to bear. There are in this life a seemingly endless procession of trials and tribulations. Jesus told us that we would suffer these trials and tribulations and the Apostle Paul told us to consider them as joy.

I have always, in my Christian walk, took each trial and each instance of tribulation as an opportunity to win a victory. This has been a sustaining attribute of my Christian beliefs. I have found comfort in Christ and have won many battles because of my deep abiding love for Christ.

When I discovered that my dear sweet mother was entering the gates of a dimly lite and foggy world known as Alzheimer's, everything that I knew was about to be tested. The fact of my mother's condition weighed heavily on me. How could this be?

It may help to give a little info about my mother. She is, at this writing, 82 years old. In the 57 years that I have known her, she has been a source of happiness, strength and love in my life. She worked hard all of her life to make sure that her children and all of her family had the very best that she could offer. She has always been kind and loving and has always sacrificed her wishes and desires for the good of her family.

The onset of her dementia was rather sudden, not a slow progression as I had seen in others. It was as though her short term memory simply disappeared. She began to ask the same questions over and over, not remembering that 10 minutes earlier I had answered her.

At the beginning of every month she would take out her 'bill' journal and make out all of her accounting. She got to the point that she would just sit and stare at the accounting materials before her, not having the first clue as to what needed to be done. I took that burden over for her.

Days and months passed with the dementia taking a stronger hold. We visited her doctor, went to specialist and the conclusion was 'Alzheimer's Disease.' We began treatment with Arasept, a medication designed for dementia patients. This seemed to slow the progression of the disease but there was no indication of her getting any better.

Years before, my mother had asked me to promise that I would never put her in a nursing home. I agreed dismissing the thought as absurd. A promise, however, is a promise. I chose to keep my mother at home and give her the best treatment that I could. I intend to keep my promise.

This has caused many changes and restrictions in my life. I have to be with her at all times. I cannot leave her alone because she gets confused and frightened when I am not there. Many of my friends and relatives think that I am foolish for giving up my wants and desires to take care of my mother. I admit that it is a very restrictive lifestyle but the things that I have learned are proving to be more valuable that I imagined.

Every day I thank God that He has given me the opportunity to give my mother the care that she deserves. I realized that she had worked and sacrificed to give me the things that I needed as I was growing up. This was her choice to do so. She could have given us up for adoption or abandoned us or simply ignored our needs but she did not. She care for and nurture us. Now it was my turn.

I realized that God was giving me an opportunity to take care of my mother. He was giving me the opportunity to learn about her and about myself. He was giving me the opportunity to be a blessing.

God, in His moral Law, commanded (not suggested) us to honor our mothers and fathers that our years would be longer. Even though I know that God did not cause my mothers affliction with this dreaded disease, He was using it to give me one of the most valuable lessons that I would ever learn. He was giving me to move from one level of faith to a much higher level. I could have felt sorry for myself and thrown a big ole pity party. I chose to take the challenge, give my mother the love and care that she so richly deserves and win another victory.

I realize that her condition will only worsen. I know that there will come a day when she will not recognize me. I know that it may even progress to the state that she will forget how to swallow and suffer all of the indignations that this horrific disease has to offer. I know this and I do not look forward to those times. However, I praise God for giving me the opportunity to care for her and for me to grow in the process. It would take volumes for me to explain the things about myself that I have already learned. The one most important thing that I have already learned is that I have learned to understand the love that God has given me. I know that the days and months ahead will bring great trials but I have also learned that the strength that abides in me can overcome every trial, every bad moment that is coming my way.

God has truly blessed me with the opportunity to grow and learn as I give my love and care to a woman, my mother, who has done nothing but love me. Without Christ in my life, this would really be almost unbearable.

I know that there are others out there who are faced with the same tragedy and even worse. These are opportunities for us to grow in Christ's love. These are opportunities to take something that seems to be horrible and make them a beautiful testimony of love.

Pastor Bobby Keating is an Evangelist, author, teacher, success coach, and Director of The Christian Success Institute. He has a passion to help others become Successful Christians. Pastor Bobby's Blog (http://pastorbobby.com).He offers a free marketing mini course at http://christianvisionary.com

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