We have covered a couple of rough days this week as I have shared some of my experiences with Alzheimer care.
We looked at fear and guilt, so today I want to lighten it a little and share another aspect of our journey that I believe is essential to your survival.
My father’s father most likely had Alzheimer, but it wasn’t identified back then.
I remember my aunt sharing stories about how, even though she lived next door and had been in their house a zillion times over the years, her dad would refer to her as “that lady you had over.”
My aunt had dancing eyes and a laugh that I would give a small fortune just to hear again…she had a rich voice like our Sarah girl and she would tell those stories and chuckle deep…she said you have to laugh or you will cry.
Oh you will still cry…but you have to laugh.
You have to laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh and you have to do it with people you love.
And we did laugh.
There was the time we were standing in the lobby of the nursing home and Rachel said, as only she can…Uh…mom….look at that….
There was a list of phone numbers posted in big marker on a huge white piece of paper with numbers of calls made.
Ours was up there in bold black at the top of the list with a ridiculous amount of calls.
Apparently the nursing home had to pay for outside calls and some people were abusing the system.
My dad, who couldn’t remember my name … who called our children his “nieces” (yes, even John was included in that) and had to be introduced to my husband on occasion…had managed to figure out the access code to the nurses station phone and made several hundred calls to our house that month.
Which explained all the hangups on our answering machine.
There was the time I tried to get him new shoes and after bringing three possibles in and struggling to get them on his feet and zero worked…I put his old pair back on him in exasperation, knowing I now had to return all three to different stores and start over.
As I crammed them in their boxes, he held up his feet and wiggled them around in those filthy, worn out, old shoes.
He smiled at me with great joy and said…
“Well, these fit perfectly! Thank you!”
So today my prayer is for laughter…for joy…for a lighter spirit and a garment of praise.
Heavenly Father, in our weariness we can lose our ability to laugh.
I think of Jesus and I think he must have had a wonderful sense of humor for a flock of fisherman to tag along with Him and enjoy His company on the daily.
I picture how He is not worried about things and how His humor is good-natured because He is good.
And so I pray today for light moments each day for care givers.
I pray they will give themselves permission to laugh and smile and find humor in some of the moments.
I pray for those times when tears are so heavy that You would lead them to those who can cry with them but can also then help them laugh again…smile again…find joy in living again.
Father, I know you have a sense of humor…You made me.
In laughter I find I can take myself less seriously and I can sense Your love and healing in those moments.
As surely as You sing over us, You must also laugh and cry with us, and in this Holy Communion may we grow closer to Your heart.
I ask in Jesus’ Name <3