Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back for a visit...and what a visit

Down in Seattle for the week. Several things are happening here. The first is that this morning I made a run to the airport to pick up Thyrza and her daughter and son-in-law. I gave them the keys to my Highlander (or Lander-on-High, as E would put it!) and sent them on their way toward Bellingham for a week's visit while I stay here for a couple more days. Yep, Thyrza's back for a visit. She's been so counting the days she had her clothes packed a week ago. Grampie has been alternating been thinking he is moving back to Maryland with him at the end of the trip, forgetting about the visit altogether and...not even caring that they're coming.  The truth is that suddenly this visit has taken a turn from potentially difficult at the end, when Grampie has to start grieving all over again, to completely awkward and strange.

You see, last Sunday when Beve and J went over to pick up Grampie for a dinner outing, a couple of nurses pulled them aside to say, "Did you know your dad has a girlfriend?" WHAT? But it's true. Apparently he's been 'keeping time' with a tiny woman (and I mean VERY tiny--about 4'10") who also has Alzheimer's.  They eat together, sit together, talk about going on dates. Grampie even asked Beve at dinner Sunday night if the place they were eating was a good place to take a 'girl' to get a burger, though I don't know how Grampie thinks they could go anywhere by themselves.

When Beve told his brothers later, they each found it highly amusing. But they don't have to deal with the potential landmine that is--even as I write this--driving up the freeway toward that skilled nursing facility, expecting her husband to be as thrilled to see her as she is to see him. We've been praying that once Grampie does see Thyrza, it'll all click back in, but we warned her daughter just in case. Because if it doesn't...YIKES! Needless to say, we made the decision not to tell Thyrza unless we have to, and the nursing home is on red alert to keep that little lady out of the way for the next week. But seriously...

The other night Beve rather mournfully said that his dad would be horrified if he knew what he'd become. I completely get that. I remember walking into my mom's room in her nursing home and having her say, "Have I told you girls? I'm in love."  But she was 'in love' with a very kind male aide, and didn't have a living husband who was about to coming walking through the door. But Alzheimer's is no respecter of such things. It destroys brains with no rhyme or reason. It doesn't keep pockets open for our convenience or even our love. It simply destroys at will.  We can pretend it doesn't happen, rail against it, but, in the end, cannot stop its destructive path.

I know of nothing similar to this in the spiritual realm.  The enemy would try this.  There have been created horrors that have mirrored such devastation (the atomic bomb comes to mind), and whole regimes that have tried. But there's always--always redemption. Some way, some how. Hope rises. There is resurrection. Not in the immediate--not the next day, or even the next generation--but somehow, some way, what humans mean for evil, God uses for good. I believe this.

So I have to believe this about this disease within the human brain. It cuts such a wide swath through the head that sometimes--as with my mother--not a thing is left by the time the last breath is let out. Not a word, not a glimmer of life in the eyes. A flower has more life to it than my mother did at the end. But, I have to believe--I do, I do--that God means good to come from this evil. I have to believe that even when Grampie is acting now in a way so wholly foreign to his real self that he would be not merely appalled but ashamed of his current actions, God understands. God means to do something with this. He intends good from it. How, I cannot say. What, to whom, for whom? Again, I have no idea.

But until He reveals that (if He does at all), we simply pray that He will walk with us through this week.  That He will smooth the rough places, give understanding to those who might misunderstand (and by that I mean EVERYONE, even that little woman, who will surely be bewildered by this), and will help Beve and me extend grace to our guests. (Just so you know, they are staying in a motel--they like their space).


Elle said...

Oh boy.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Wow...will be praying about this. What a story...for those on the "outside looking in" it could be funny...but to those caught in the middle of this and loving their could be very painful and difficult. May God be merciful and spare them this unnecessary pain, and may their visit be joyful and sweet.