Isaiah 55:8

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

I do not understand God. Not at all. Not one single bit. Why does He allows certain things to happen or not happen? Why does He allow young people to die? Why does He allow elderly who have a irreversible degenerative brain disease live for such a long time? To what end?

Today I visited with my Auntie. I’ve written about her before somewhere in this blog but don’t remember where. It doesn’t matter. Suffice it to say, she has been and continues to be a significant woman in my life. She has Alzheimers, having been diagnosed 10 years 2 months ago. She is 89 years 6 months of age. She always said she wanted to live to be a hundred. She may get her wish. The question is how will those 10 years be lived?

I try to visit every 2 weeks but it has been difficult to do that lately, so it has been about 2 months since I last saw her. That’s a long time. Too long. Today it was perfectly clear that she knew she was supposed to know me, but wasn’t sure who I was. There was that look. The one that says, “I’m here, but not really.”

We chatted as we always do. She is quite conversant and outgoing. She doesn’t remember what she’s said from one sentence to the next though. It is clear that there is little if anything that she says that is believable or accurate. She asked me if she had a sister named Molly. I told her no, but that she had a sister named Sallie Mae. She didn’t remember that name. At all. Nor did she understand that I was the first child of Sallie Mae, thus her niece. Nor did she remember my brother who is her power of attorney. My sister’s name struck no memory chord. The connections were too abstract for her to grasp. Nothing struck a chord. Nothing. Confusion reigned, which she even acknowledged.

In her prime, my Auntie was a formidable watercolor artist, crafter and stained glass artist. She managed the stock-purchase plan and payroll for a very large oil company whose name and branding is instantly recognizable. She is a woman of deep and abiding faith. She accomplished much for a woman who was forced by a demanding father to leave high school in the 11th grade.

We had a good time together, Auntie and I. The next time I visit her I’m going to bring a book of photos with captions saying who everyone is and what their relation is to her. At least she’ll be able to look at and enjoy it everyday, fresh and new.

In the meantime, today, I was someone pleasant who came to visit, someone to hug her through her tears of loneliness and fears of abandonment; laugh with her over a silly story; wash, trim, and style her hair. Someone to let her know she was loved. A love that was familiar, but not with the face.

And ya know what? That’s okay.

Glory to God for all things!

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ian
    Jul 18, 2006 @ 06:17:52

    The picture book does sound like a wonderful idea.

    And Auntie does sound like a wonderful lady.

  2. Mimi
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 17:24:15

    What a beautiful post from a beautiful woman, dear Philippa!

  3. Jim Taylor
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 14:38:57

    While I miss those hugs and kisses I guess that I am relieved that Betty did not have to go through years of some sort of “disability”.

  4. Julana
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 13:57:11

    It always encouraging to me to read stories of people caring for people with disabilities. Love is action.

  5. Anonymous
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 12:04:30

    This is beautiful Phillipa. What a blessing to have had your aunt in your life.

    Deb

  6. Laura
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 11:14:42

    What a wonderful thing you did for your Auntie. The picture book is a really good idea. I’m sure she will enjoy it.

  7. Meg
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 09:24:52

    I think a lot about this kind of thing, especially with two novo-genarians in my life (stepfather and father-in-law). They are both so wretched; the one misses my mother more with every passing year, and the other is blind and deaf. I’m at a point of praying that they have a blessed end. Why *do* they last so long? The Church says for purposes of repentance, but I think you have to *recognize* that fact to get any benefit out of it.

    Or do they last so long for *our* benefit, so that *our* natural impatience with old age gets burned away in the fire of daily life with the elderly (see Alana’s blog)? All I do know about it is, both you and my sister are light-years ahead of me in this field. I have such a hard time being around people who aren’t All There.

  8. Elizabeth
    Jul 12, 2006 @ 09:12:09

    This was a beautiful post, thank you !

    Your visit was a *blessing* to her, make no doubt. You gave her your unconditional love and time, with no gain or recognition for yourself in the conventional sense, but God sees and appreciates all our actions, great and small……..

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