In the last 24 hours, I’ve learned that a friend has a breast lump that needs surgery and she is fearful, I was shocked when I saw another friend’s face on the evening news who’d been arrested, and I got a call that our uncle in Chicago has a cancer that hasn’t been responding to the oral chemo he’s been taking, I’m not really taking all this in. It’s happened, I acknowledge it, but I can’t process it. Add to that that Dad is starting to become verbally abusive to residents when they go to the dining room. The weight of life is becoming overwhelming.
So I pray. I’ll pray until something happens. I’ll pray that the Lord walks into these impossible situations and does something totally unexpected, brings healing, justice and change. I’ll pray for my friends, family, neighborhood and country and keep asking the Lord what my job is and where and who I am supposed to serve. I’ll pray until I have no words and then tears will be my prayers.
It’s the only thing that makes sense to me right now.
There is an excellent video series on VideoWest documenting a woman's descent into dementia. In 2010, Gera Saunders learned she has dementia. She was 61 at the time of her diagnosis and a professor at the University of Utah.
To view the series (at this writing there are three videos and will be more later), go to http://videowest.kuer.org/gerda-series/
It gives you the perspective of being the person cared for rather than the caregiver. I highly recommend it. While you may not agree with her stance on end of life, she gives us a glimpse into her life and her family as they deal with this unwanted life event.
One day last week, I was sitting at my computer checking my email and observing the beautiful autumn sky through the windows. I was enjoying a leisurely morning and contemplating making a cup of coffee or tea when my cell phone started ringing.
After locating it and digging it out of my purse, I answered and my mom-in-law asked if I was on my computer.
“Yes, Mom. Why?”
“Oh, I’ll have to wait until you get off then.”
“Why is that?” I asked, thinking she didn’t want to interrupt me.
“Because you’re on my network and I can’t get on my computer.”
“What?” This conversation was not making sense to me.
“I get a dialog box whenever I start up the computer that says there are too many users on my network, so I’ll wait until you get off.”
“Mom, we aren’t on a network.”
“Yes, we are. You have my computer linked with mine, remember?” No, I didn’t remember because that wasn’t the case. She continued, “I have a little box that keeps asking me for my password.”
Now I was beginning to wonder if she’d been hacked and someone was fishing for information.
“Mom, we aren’t on a network. Our computers aren’t connected in any way. It sounds like your computer has a problem.”
“Can you come fix it?”
I looked at the clock, trying to calculate if I could make it there, look at the computer to diagnose the problem and still make it to the other side of town in time to pick someone up. The leisurely part of the morning was done and since there wasn’t enough time, I squeezed in a stop there before she went to lunch.
While I am the most computer savvy person in my family, I am by no means a tech guru. My prayer as I went up to their apartment was for a temporary spiritual gifting of tech repair. As I looked over the situation, I realized that Mom had been convinced that since her computer is covered under my name at the repair shop, that we were on a network. She had worked out while I was driving around that that wasn’t the case and was apologizing. She is aware that her memory is starting to slip and is fighting it as much as she can; there is an unspoken understanding between us of what is going on. I sat at her computer to assess the situation. Somehow, it was starting up in the administrator window rather than a user window.
Back in the day when I took a slew of classes to learn how to use different softwares, the instructors hammered it into me to never go into the administrator window. Don’t go into it if you don’t know what you’re doing. It is good advice. However I did it anyway. By the grace of God, I was successful in navigating around to get her back up and running, connecting to the internet and able to check her emails.
A small miracle to encourage me to keep going. And then, two hours later, another call.
“My hearing aid has broken into two pieces. Can you come and fix it, or take it to the hearing aid place?”
Here we go again, with more prayer and more miracles of grace. These small miracles encourage me through this journey and I am grateful.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.