Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Truly at a loss for words.

 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

My daughter is learning the above Bible verse this week in Bible class at school and quoted it to me today. It was something I especially needed to hear after the visit with my dad today, and it encouraged me.

Ever feel like you're at a loss for words? You know what you want to say, but aren't quite sure how to say it?

It takes on a whole new meaning with Alzheimer's. You are, quite literally, at a loss for words. Even if you do know what you want to say, you can't remember the right words to say it with. During the visit with my dad this afternoon, one thing really stood out to me. The quiet. The quiet caused by Alzheimer's. The eerie, lonely quiet.

Even when my dad spoke the few times that he did, it was still "quiet," because the words didn't make sense.

I felt weary of it all today, not only the quiet, but also of my dad having to be there at all, in the assisted living home, with others who had Alzheimer's or dementia, with the awful smells, and the gut-wrenching sounds of minds gone mad or emotions run amuck.

"Mr. A" was especially belligerent and moody today, yelling at another resident there. A resident who somehow got her hands on a cookie from the cookie tray being passed around at snack time, a cookie she wasn't supposed to have due to her swallowing issue. But she probably didn't remember she had a swallowing issue, and even said, "Why not?" when the worker that was taking the cookie away from her told her she couldn't have it. When "Mr. A" saw that the woman was fighting the worker and wouldn't let go of the cookie, he practically ran over to her with his walker and started to threaten her (she was in a wheelchair, by the way), but the worker told him to calm down and go sit down and she would handle it.

He calmed down for a few minutes, but just as soon as the woman (who lost the cookie battle, by the way ~ the worker crumbled it in her hand) wheeled herself to a table not far from Mr. A, he walked over to her and started yelling at her again, and the worker had to calm him down again. He finally walked off in a huff and said he was going to his room. "Good," I thought to myself, not wanting my daughter to hear his yelling and name-calling anymore. But at the same time, I felt bad for him. It wasn't his fault, at least not totally.

I wanted to take my dad out of there today and take him home with me, and make it all go way. All of it. But of course, I could not. He needs to be there, for his safety. It is not ideal, but there is no other alternative at this time.

Do you have loved ones you can talk to today? Talk to them. Talk a LOT. Spend time with them. In your cozy home or theirs. If they have done something to hurt you, forgive them, and talk. It is a precious gift.


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  2. It is quite amazing how God gives even our children the right words to say when we need to hear it. That must be hard, but I know you will have so many crowns to lay at Jesus feet one day. You really are doing an amazing job being there for you dad. I wish I didn't live entirely across the country. Because although he wouldn't remember me, it would still be an honor to meet not only you, but your dad as well. (((Hugs)))

    1. Thank you, Angela, you are so sweet. It is too bad we live so far away from each other. I would love to meet you and your family as well.