“The reason we’re here…”
My son was an early talker and small of stature. When he would ask a question people would say, “How old is he?” and I would reply “2” and they would be amazed. This little guy of mine had lots of different questions, he like most healthy children was curious about people and the world around him. Throughout his childhood the questioning never stopped. When my son was a boy being educated at home, it seemed that some days the questions would not end. Most days I had the grace to do my best to answer them and other days I just didn’t have the patience. Overall, I think I did a pretty good job because he is now a 24 year old man who is still asking questions.
My mother, now a widow lives with my husband and me. Everyday, I am answering the same questions over and over again. Mum has Alzheimer’s and the disease is eating her brain. The questioning is tiring. I wonder if it is tiring for her too. It is interesting to me – I don’t say, “Mum, you just asked me that 2 seconds ago” but perhaps the tone of my answer said that to her yesterday. After I answered the same question for the X time, my mum said, “I keep asking you that, don’t I?” “Yup.” Not sure the experts would agree with me answering that question honestly. There are times that I have to be more creative with my answers. I don’t want to lie but I know that my mother can’t handle the truth depending on the nature of the question.
Two types of questioning needing the same type of patience. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul writes, “Love is patient…” The patience required for my mother’s questioning I call it endurance. I can’t set a boundary like I had to when my son was a young boy. Mine is to keep my answers short, varied, and as if I am answering for the first time…that last one my friends requires patience that I have found trying as of late. My strength for this needs to be renewed. When I can deflect the question and move on to something else, often enough the questioning subsides.
“When love walks in the room everybody stands up….”
This is love. Yes, this is love to answer the same questions time after time, and day after day. The answers will not stick to my mother’s brain that is riddled with Alzheimer’s. It is not just the memory loss, but the declining cognitive ability. Her confusion has increased. The woman I am caring for is just a shadow of the mother that raised me, the Nana who remembered everyone’s birthday, and the woman who had a career before she even met my father. My father’s passing though painful and intense was over quickly. This losing of my mother “an inch at a time” is not easy to compare to anything else. It is a sacrificial love. A love empowered by my Abba Father. Only by His unending Love and Aid am I able to do what is needed today.
“…take care of each other.”