Friday, October 14, 2011

I have been caregiving for my parents for the past two years.  My mother was diagnosed with a very rare cancer and my dad has Stage IV Alzheimer's and skin cancer.  I moved them in with me about two years ago as soon as mom received the diagnosis.  You can read about that journey at if you would like.

It has been a very busy two years.  I'm very proud of the progress my mother has made.  But in the midst of her personal triumphs and successes is the dark, ever-present cloud of Dad's Alzheimer's that is rapidly stealing the love of her life from her.  They celebrated 50 years of marriage this past September - a testiment to their strength and love and endurance through almost impossible odds.  They are still very much in love, sneaking kisses in the kitchen and holding hands at every opportunity.  They write each other love notes sometimes and leave them on their pillows to read at nights.  Still he quietly and silently slips away.  The disease strikes both the old memories and the new ones - the very new ones - the ones we created just today never took hold, were never synthized in the brain.  It's all just-another-day for my father as he tries to keep up with conversations and things that are happening.  All the while he really has no idea that he is ill - and yet he knows his love is hurting and feels frustrated by it, often.  Through it all they will never leave one another's side.  They will never forsake the other and they will forever be in love.  I gift that is so rare these days that it almost sounds like a tale from days-gone-by.  We should all be so lucky to have a life-partner that is truly in it for LIFE.

This weekend I will be moving my parents in to a senior, independent living facility.  They are moving on and I'll be moving to my own place closer to the city of Milwaukee.  We have developed some traditions which I will miss but will look forward to re-living each time I visit with them.   I won't share them with you because they are important, memory-making moments for us. 

I dont' know what I will go through emotionally when they are not here in the house anymore.  My brain will, no doubt, move through many emotions.  I have friends who never speak to their parents, are from a divorced home, or have lost their parents.  A classmate of mine from high school, Debbie, lost her father a few years ago and this year just lost her mother.  A close and dear member of our extended family lost both of his parents in a car accident - I believe he was 19 at the time.  I KNOW how fortunate, lucky and blessed I am.  Even as Dad is enveloped by this disease I will adore him, respect him, love him and make memories with him till his last breath.  Because he is my father and he deserves that.

I was wondering what would happen if our heavenly Father began to forget about us?  Little things at first like perhaps he stumbles over our name or forgets where we live for a moment.  Then begins to forget some of the memories we have made together.  What if he has no recollection of that day and time in space when you finally knew He was what you were looking for and you accepted Him for what and who He is?  What if he forgot about His own Son and what He did?  What if God just...forgot about us...

God won't forget us - we rest in that promise.  But we forget Him all the time.  We knew him once, didn't we?  Then something happened and we started forgetting.  Sometimes we remember for a moment but maybe the memory hurts, so we push it back.  Maybe we just simply forgot who He was and how important He used to be to us.  Maybe we forgot about Him...

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