God Is Greater Than Dementia – Part 2
By Bobbi Junior
Being a caregiver is a tiring, challenging and demanding task, while caregiver burnout is a constant threat. In this series of posts, Bobbi Junior brings her unique perspective to bear on the subject of Christian caregiving.
In this entry Bobbi shares a personal story of her mother’s battle with dementia.
Read Part 1 here.
In this entry Bobbi continues to tell a personal story of her mother’s battle with dementia by revealing by revealing her journal entries .
That’s what it feels like now, I wrote. My family’s life was in turmoil for many years, and now my husband and I and our grown kids are in a place of rest on the far side of our Jordan. But you’re calling me to help Mom until such time as you give her rest, until she’s able to take possession of her new living circumstances, which you directed her to.
I guess that’s the definition of caregiving. We provide, willingly, but with your strength, your wisdom, your support until our recipient is in a position to rest. It might be in this life, or the next. But until then, I will be the caregiver.
Your words through Joshua are a promise, Lord, and I know I can hold you to it. One day, the time will come when I can go back and occupy my own home and life, and rest in the rest you’ll have given me.
Until then, I’ll provide care, and trust in you.
Oh Jesus, this brings tears to my eyes. What a blessing. You really do understand how a caregiver has to put her life on hold sometimes. Thank You for such clear direction as this next season in Mom’s life unfolds. With you, I’ll do my part.
JOURNAL ENTRY November 3, 2011
I have to admit, Lord, I’m still in a state of shock. It’s hard to believe that after so many years supporting Mom to live independently in her own home, she’s voluntarily made the move to a senior’s residence.
Dementia is a relentless master, though. Even Mom recognized that. I remember the day I was visiting her and she suddenly stood up and fumed, “Someone needs to write this down. This is happening in other people’s brains. You need to write about this.” That’s when I realized my journaling was doing exactly what she’d demanded – that there be a record of this period in her life when her brain was betraying her.
I’ve continued to journal as my brother and I have been drawn into this craziness. For a long time, Mom pulled Lawrence and me into her fantasy that things weren’t as bad as they were, that we could maintain the illusion Mom’s condition wouldn’t deteriorate further. Still, her ability to care for herself and her house became more erratic, and pretending couldn’t change that. But since she never set up a power of attorney for us to make decisions on her behalf, all we could do was follow her lead, no matter how turbulent that was. Each crisis made it clear this couldn’t last, but I had no idea how the change was going to be put in motion.
It still amazes me how the Lord managed to work everything out so Mom voluntarily made the move to assisted living. My prayer group at church sent up an ongoing barrage of requests to the Lord on Mom’s behalf these past couple of years. I know Mom’s not a believer, and neither is my brother, but God still moved in her life. He cleared Mom’s mind enough for her to take the steps to apply to live at Whyte Hall, to understand that she was signing a rental agreement, to even be excited that the moving truck was coming to get the few things she needed to furnish her new apartment. It took barely a month from start to finish, and the move was completed November 1st.
Lawrence is staying with her for a few days, sleeping on the floor in her little 1 bedroom apartment, to help her get used to the new routine. He’ll drive the five hours back home at the end of the week. Then I’ll take over.
He phoned me yesterday, though, and said it’s appearing that we’ve simply changed one set of challenges for another.
Lord, I’m praying that you’ll stay close as Mom goes through this transition. Her chapter of independent living has concluded. A new chapter is beginning.
Bobbi’s program, “Not Me Lord” airs on HopeStreamRadio.
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