Spiritual Alzheimer’s

She came down the hall laughing. She had just come from the bathroom and so I prepared myself for any number of funny scenarios.Cindy Richardson

“Mom, what is so funny?”

“I’m wearing two pair of pants! Isn’t that silly?” She continued laughing and I joined in.

But I was thinking, How do you put on a second pair of pants and not realize it?

The answer to that question wasn’t funny at all. It’s called dementia.

When my mom began forgetting to take her medicine we thought it just old age settling in. When she got lost driving home on a familiar road, we thought she was tired and it was too dark to see the road signs. But the day she put on two pair of pants we knew it was more than something silly.

A myriad of thoughts runs through your mind when someone you love has dementia. What caused this? What can be done to stop it? How long before she doesn’t remember me?

The answer to that last question haunted me. I begged the Lord to be merciful and allow her to remember me. Her condition was the topic of many prayers.

Not only was her mind failing but her physical health declined as well. As a 40-year diabetic, she was legally blind. Unpredictable blood sugar levels were extremely hard to regulate. She struggled with anxiety. A few mini-strokes required hospital stays and I pleaded with God to take her home to heaven before she had to live in a nursing home which was her biggest fear.

Although my mom was a woman of faith, she sometimes let anxiety get the best of her. I inherited that tendency. I was anxious about her health and her care.

One day, while crying out in prayer, I felt the Lord answer in a surprising way, You’re praying as if you have Alzheimer’s, spiritual Alzheimer’s!

The realization hit me hard. He reminded me of His faithfulness to answer many prayers: provision when my husband lost his job, broken relationships restored, hope renewed.

I didn’t have to fear that my mother might forget me. I just had to put into practice Philippians 4:6, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Through prayer, I was able to be at peace with my mother’s dementia. Although no longer able to recognize her surroundings, my mother never forgot me.

I am determined to never forget the faithfulness of God.

©2015 Cindy Richardson