Day after day and night after long night when I often don’t sleep – I watch for the light.
It creeps under the doorway when everything is quiet in the hallways. Then it flirts with the window in the corner of my room as it changes from the mere beginnings of another day into the full-blown afternoon and then again – the silence of evening.
People come into my room and do things to me. They change my sheets and my clothes. They make me feel clean again. They help me go to the bathroom. I wish they didn’t have to do that, but I am so completely helpless.
Once I was a vital pastor who cared for her people and taught about God’s love. I am now a baby – an infant in an adult body.
How long will it take before I die? I am so ready to die, dear God. Will you please let me die?
I remember a beautiful piece of the Bible, and every day I think about these words, “Many homes are up there where my Father lives. Jesus is preparing them for my coming. When everything is ready, he will come and get me so that I can always be with him in heaven” (John 14:3).
I wonder what my home in heaven will look like. I am glad that it will be nothing like this room and this sterile bed where I wait to die.
It will be beautiful, because God is beautiful and he knows how to create the very best for me. No Alzheimer’s exists in heaven. No dementia. No illness of any kind. No more death.
Only great love and the light of God’s goodness, shining through everything – his holiness everywhere.
How long will it be before I get to see that light? I am so ready to be with Jesus.
During Christmas break, I sit in Mom’s house, a mile away from where she now lives in assisted living, an experience away from her new existence within the world of Alzheimer’s.
Shadows play against the wall. Sunset in Oklahoma still wins as my favorite part of the day.
I once climbed my special tree on the family farm, perched alone with my journal in one of my favorite spots, a nest of branches and limbs that held me safely as I watched the turquoise sky that framed the wheat field turn into a frame of orange and red.
Now within Mom’s house, I worship the creator of a new sunset as it changes a taupe wall to a natural painting of shadow on light.
The shadows grow deeper for Mom within her Alzheimer’s world even as they lengthen for my siblings and I. We observe Mom’s confusion and recognize more signs of the coming stages.
Our mother disappears into Alzheimer’s land. Our world changes once again as memory fades and communication alters.
Another 24 hours is spent, and I wonder about my own life, my own calendar of events. How should I live in this new year so that each sunset brings with it a contentment that I lived this day well, that I finished my course with joy and purpose?
How can I live so that when my own shadows lengthen and deepen, the light I have shared will be what is remembered – my legacy to the world for my God?
None of us is certain of our timelines. We can only attempt to do our best, to live and love and work with pride, to complete the tasks before us and honor the One who gives us the energy to work, to live and love.
We can only commit to a stronger and higher calling so that when the sunset comes, we will rejoice in the light that dances at the end of the day.