I was sitting in the backseat about ready to open a floodgate of tears.
My grandma sitting in the passenger seat had just asked with all seriousness why there were orange cones along the road. My mom patiently explained that there was roadwork happening along that stretch of interstate. And had been for about a year. It rends my heart in two to see the simple, ordinary things of life slip from grandma’s comprehension little by little.
My grandma has dementia.
When my family first realized this was the case, we put on our brave faces and determined to keep a stiff upper lip. But the more she disconnects from reality, the harder it is to keep my lip from quivering.
When you’ve explained something ten times and she still doesn’t understand. The five calls in one day we receive with the question of how much change she should get back if she gave the salon lady a twenty dollar bill. Her frustration when she can’t remember the right word. The tears she sheds every other conversation.
And the ache I get inside when I wonder if one day she’ll forget who I am.
Sometimes it makes me want to give her a hug and never let go. Sometimes it makes me want to keep my distance before she’s any less the person I remember her being.
My lack of patience has been tempted to not answer the phone… again. Sometimes my mind argues that I don’t have the strength to deal with it again without bursting into tears or getting upset cause we no longer understand one another.
But God’s never given up on me. Even when I refused to listen cause I didn’t understand Him. Even when I’ve called on Him five times in the day with the same problem. Even when I don’t feel I have the right words, much less anything worthy to give Him.
He’s never given up on me. He’ll never leave me nor forsake me.
All that and still His grace is always supplying strength in our weakness.
Those precious moments when grandma will tell a full story from her younger years. Those people who thank her for asking a question in Bible Study (whether it had to do with the topic or not). Friends who hug on her and bring out a rare smile.
If you’ve ever blessed my grandma in these little ways, thank you. You don’t know how much it means to her. And to us.
Just a moment to pause and think today. That even when it seems that a mind stealing condition is taking center stage, God is working behind the scenes, weaving hints of Act II to come in this heart rending plot called life. And when the end of Act I comes and grandma and I go to heaven, I can’t wait to hear about all the things she remembers.