Every time we visit I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the wonderful nurses and attendants who honor those they care for through attentive and compassionate service. What greater gift of love is there than the service offered by people who care for those who cannot care for themselves? Also, what a gift it is to those who are able to learn so much about LOVE through being used in such service. Perhaps this is why GOD allows us to begin and end our lives through dependence on others; the process for all involved demands that we give and receive great LOVE, the goal of our time on earth.
Alzheimer's is a horrible disease - one my grandmother watched her father die of, and one in which she lived in fear until it overcame her. As so many others have experienced with family and friends, we watched her decline slowly at some points and rapidly at others. She can walk slowly with assistance, but saying even one word is a struggle. Many times friends and family may visit and she doesn't seem to even recognize their presence. The times when we can make eye-contact and receive her wonderful smiles are cherished.
Though we miss verbal interaction, I am thankful that she most often maintains a peaceful, silent presence, instead of the sometimes angry, hurtful personality that this disease often evokes from its victims. It's hard to lose people to death, something we as eternal beings were not originally designed to endure. It's often harder to lose people to dementia-type disease, because we must say goodbye at many levels, without the final peace of knowing they are in a better place.
"This is...way...wanted it...to be."
"This is the way I wanted it to be, too, Grandma," I said.
Her daughter, son-in-law, husband, Geoff and I all received this gift of words, and tears streamed down our faces.