That Thin Line between Past and Present

There’s a thin line between the past and the present these days. The time I spend with Dad is circular. He is in the 1970’s and 80s, planning revivals and concerts. He is convinced that we have a revival to do and that the preacher really only has one good message so I should prepare to preach. I could show him how it’s done, Dad says.  I suppose I’m facing what most caregivers face: Do you play along or bring him back to reality?  I choose the latter, although it’s a temptation to enter his world and tell him it’s pack-a-pew night and the church is full. Nathan came in this weekend and was such a blessing to us all. The above is a picture of the three of us.

Today we move Mom in with Dad.  We are praying that her presence will help but still the not-knowing is ever-present.

I wish I could report that I am strong enough to take all this. I used to believe the following statement was scripture:

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

It’s not in there and it’s not true. God will often give us more than we can handle for the expressed purpose of showing us that we must trust Him in our weakness.

However, God will never give us more than He can handle. And that’s good news.

14 thoughts on “That Thin Line between Past and Present

  1. When I was in this season with my dad I remember thinking I wish I didn’t have to go through this. And then I thought of friends & family who lost their parent(s) early in their adult life or even childhood. I was then convicted how blessed I was to have had him with me so many of my days.

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  2. I had this in my saved notes from several years ago:

    If I get dementia, I’d like my family to hang this wish list up on the wall where I live:
    Rules for a Good Life
    * If I get dementia, I want my friends and family to embrace my reality. If I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
    * If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am.
    * If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read and visit with friends.
    * If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past.
    * If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me.
    * If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
    * If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Even now, if I don’t eat I get angry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need.
    * If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.
    * If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.
    * If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
    * If I get dementia, don’t act frustrated if I mix up names, events or places. Take a deep breath. It’s not my fault.
    * If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot.
    * If I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original places.
    * If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings.
    * If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.
    * If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love.
    *

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  3. Jud’s Mom had Alzheimer’s. We found that trying to bring her back to our reality was just frustrating for all concerned . We chose rather to enter her reality because it gave her comfort . The blessing for us was that we were able to go back in time again, to a kinder, simpler time and it evoked comforting memories for us as well. Great picture of all of you!

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  4. Praying for you Matt. Don’t think we’ve ever met face to face, but your dad came and did a drama revival at FBC LaPlace when I served as Minister of Music there. Your Mom was so sweet and your Dad so passionate. Been where you are now and no easy answers, except to follow your heart. None of us knows exactly how the one with Alzheimer’s is coping, but I remember trying it both ways. Praying for y’all as you traverse this incomprensible path. “God Will Make a Way”! Blessings my brother in Christ. May His Spirit provide comfort at every new turn along thus journey. Give your parents my love!

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  5. My dear and precious Matt, we love you so much and pray for your strength and wisdom. Of course my heart is broken and I also see a little picture of what my life might be like in the future with Jack. Yes, it is frightful. Jack is becoming more and more dependent on me but not as confused as Mark….at this point. Please give my sweet sister and Mark a hug from me and Jack. We look toward a reunion with our Lord and with them. I have tried to call Lil but got no answer. Tell her I love her.
    We are back home now. Love and prayers, Aunt Glad

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