Kay's Blog

in Hope

Lessons From Dementia

My 90-year old mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and while she has good days, she has some moments in which she doesn’t know where she is, isn’t exactly sure what is going on around her, and leans heavily on me for support – mentally, physically, and spiritually.


The disease is always in a progressively downward motion, and we have had to move her to the memory care unit of the assisted living facility where she has been living. It is a move she has protested and argued against in her more coherent moments. We go over and over and over the reasons for the move, but it has been a tough decision for her to process. Lately I’ve heard her talking aloud to herself and this is what she says: “I don’t like where I’m going, and I’m not even sure WHY I’m here – why do I have to go to this place? I liked where I was. But I know Kay loves me and would never do anything to harm me; she always has my best interest at heart – so I’ll trust her decisions for me.”


This morning those words rocked me as the spiritual parallels stared me in the face. How many times in my life – particularly in the last year – have I questioned the path God is taking me on? Frequently I don’t like the new path – it isn’t familiar, it isn’t as comfortable as the road I was on before, and to be honest, I complain loudly about it. I want to stay where I was – I want life to be what I’m used to. But after my griping and moaning and some intense conversations with Him, I settle down – like a weaned child on its mother’s lap – and I say exactly what my mom says about the changes in her life: “I know God loves me and would never do anything to harm me; He always has my best interest at heart – so I’ll trust His decisions for me.”


God, may I respond with trust more quickly tomorrow than I did today. Forgive me for doubting Your love; I always get myself worked up, become overly-anxious, and fearful when I forget that You are “rich in love” for me. I choose to allow You to still and hush my soul so I can rest quietly and peacefully in Your embrace.


Psalm 145:9 (NIV) “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all He has made.”


Psalm 131:2 (NAB) “Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me.”

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Follow up: Don't Tell Me to Move On

Follow up to Don't Tell Me To Move On: 

I’ve wanted so badly to respond to the millions of you (3.2 million have seen it and more than 10,000 have written back) who have shared it, forwarded it, re-posted it, printed it, and handed it out to others, and written exquisitely kind and tender words of empathy to me and my family. However, I’ve simply been astonished by the volume of response and have been hesitant to interrupt the beauty of what was happening by posting something else. I don’t know how to interpret the volume of response other than to say it confirms what I suspected: Grief is a long, arduous, slow process and it deserves to be respected and supported, not minimized and condemned. Your responses both comfort me tremendously – clearly, I’m not alone – and break my heart; so many of you have said, “This is my story too; you’ve put into words what I feel.”


You’ve told me about your sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, best friends, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, and co-workers and how their deaths created such a well of pain and grief in your hearts; how the grief remains fresh and raw, and how much you wish “comforters” had been more sensitive to your grief. I can’t even begin to tell you what a privilege it is to “hold” your grief... I feel as though I’ve been given a sacred trust and I’m honored. I ache for your losses and send you my deepest compassion and prayers for God’s gentle touch to soothe, mend, and heal your hearts.


The thousands of responses have impacted me. I’m walking through life differently. Instead of plowing through the grocery store as fast as I can, I now walk the aisles praying for those who pass by me intent on their shopping. I can’t help but wonder what invisible sorrow accompanies them; who are they grieving for? Who are they desperately missing? I get fanciful and wonder what if we all wore armbands that way people do occasionally on sports teams – but what if these armbands were colored to match a grief. Blue for a baby or child who died. Yellow for a spouse. Green for a loved one lost through suicide. Red for a sibling. Purple for a best friend. I wonder if we wouldn’t all be wearing an armband of one color or the other... it would make it so much easier! We wouldn’t have to wonder whether or not someone was mourning – it would be right there on their arm for all to see – and I wonder if it wouldn’t make us all much more patient and considerate of each other because we wouldn’t be able to ignore the pain so plainly visible. Of course that isn’t ever going to happen, but its food for thought.


Another thought I’ve been contemplating the past two weeks is the way so many of you expressed the ways that your loss has negatively affected your life... how nothing has been the same... how you’re not at all the same person you used to be... how challenging it is to continue in daily life. Since I feel the same way at the one-year mark (April 5), I can’t help but get a little anxious about the future. I’ve started searching the Bible for verses that can encourage me to believe that my life isn’t ruined by our tragedy. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m spending a lot of time meditating on the book of Ezekiel. The Israelites were taken captive in Babylonia – the land was laid waste, their cities were decimated and plundered, the inhabitants enslaved. But in Ezekiel 36, God promises to make the land rich and productive again, to free the people, and to rebuild all that was demolished and ruined.


Yes, God, please. Please rebuild the “ruins” in our lives. Even though we often feel helpless in the ruins, YOU are not helpless among our ruins. Please bring freedom, productivity, and restoration once again. Show us how to LIVE even though some of those dearest to us are no longer here. We want to flourish again. Please.

Posted by Kay Warren with

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