About a month after Mom passed away, I was visiting Dad when I heard another resident, Emily, say to a volunteer. “I want to watch THAT TV!” She was pointing to the wall covered in crosses – all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s beautiful. I guess when she glanced up at the wall, Emily thought, at least for a few seconds, that she was looking at a TV, and she wanted to see more of that show! The volunteer leaned down, whispered something in her ear and kept pushing her wheelchair toward the dining room.
I KNOW THAT SONG
That’s when I heard Emily ask the volunteer, “Do you know ‘It Is Well With My Soul?’” She said she did not, and I headed their way. I wanted to let Emily know that I DO know the song, and I would love to sing it with her! As was the norm there, by the time I walked across the room, Emily had forgotten all about the song and was asking the volunteer, “Where did you put my car keys?! I need to go home!”
EXHAUSTION AND HEARTACHE
It had been about 2 1/2 years since we moved Mom and Dad there…after many years of care at home. I was exhausted, and it broke my heart to see my parents trapped in their bodies, their memories having deserted them. Many tears were shed, not just by me but also by Mom and Dad. I knew we had much to be thankful for, but still, exhaustion and heartache were constant, unwelcome visitors to my soul. I loved Mom and Dad so much and felt honored to be caring for them…we were making many new and precious memories, but it was still hard.
Many families, most I believe, are providing all the caregiving in their own homes. Or…perhaps they are stepping in to provide most of the care for their loved ones in nursing homes not trained to care for Alzheimer’s patients. Other families trust caregivers in memory care homes to provide love and safety while they continue to work to pay the high cost of care. However care is given, it’s an important, demanding job, and many caregivers are just worn out physically and emotionally.
BUT…IT IS WELL
So, that night I had been sitting beside Dad, holding his hand, with unwanted tears pooling in my eyes. It had been about a month since Mom passed away, and he seemed lost without her. It made me so sad to see him look for her…I missed her too.
Then, when I heard Emily say the words…“It Is Well With My Soul”, it felt as if they were spoken to me alone…reminding me that…yes, this is difficult, but it is well with my soul!
Do you know this song? It was 1873 when Horatio Spafford wrote the words. He had received a telegram from his wife saying “Saved alone” after she and their four daughters had been in a shipwreck on the Atlantic Ocean. None of the children survived. I can’t imagine it. Spafford was traveling to meet his grieving wife when he wrote it…some of the words are…“You are the rock on which I stand; by your grace, it is well…” (Hillsong version).
The words…“It is well with my soul”…were healing to my weary self that night. Be encouraged…and remember to take good care of yourself.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
The Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 helpline – 800-272-3900.
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