Carol has a sort of game with our young children whenever they part. She says to them, “Don’t forget!” If we are in a place where others are ignorant of the game, they may shrug their shoulders and wonder, forget what?
My mom has Alzheimer’s disease. It has been a slow process so far, and God has been so gracious to allow for that, and have my dad be able to care for her for the foreseeable future. She recognizes all of us, even all of my children (at least I think she does;)), and the things she forgets are not matters of the heart, not yet. But because her mother had this, and because her sister just died and had this, I know a bit about the progression, to a state where she may not know who I am. Dad prays for a slow deteriorating; she is old at this point so a slow fade would take longer than she has years on Earth. This is not something I have prayed with earnestness. I’m not sure if that is God’s plan or not.
We used to joke (halfway) about “shoot me when I show signs of getting Alzheimer’s”, but in recent years I have realized how horrible a thought that is. For one thing, who knows how early in my life I will start to forget.
Just in this past week I have had two very disturbing experiences. The first I can’t explain in detail, but I neglected to do something in the right way, and when thinking on it later, I had to admit that I completely forgot. I quickly tried to think of a way I wouldn’t do that same thing again, especially if I had no recollection, a next time, and cam up with a fitting act of repentance. Good for the mind and the soul.
The next day, I pulled the pork roast out of the oven from cooking overnight, put it in the crock, and tucked it in the fridge. This was to be dinner; I only needed buns. I was to take kids to work at the grocery store later, so I knew I’d have a chance to get them. Later came, and as I went in Stoodts, I walked back to the cheese case, making a mental list of what I needed to make pizza, for dinner, that night. Not until I was home did I realize I already had pork done and planned!
I know we can shoo away each of these blunders, saying, it happens all the time, you’re stressed, you have mommy brain x 13. I get it. But these were different. It was like going to a cupboard and opening the door and that thing not being there. But actually, it is like I didn’t even think to look in the cupboard in the first place. So how would I remember to look for the thing in the cupboard for next time? Me and Mother Hubbard. Think that’s her trouble?
I would love to end this with the above line. That was so clever. I love my mind, and how much it does for me each and every day, day in and day out. God has been so good to me. But if I were to start to lose some ability there, it would be very disturbing. I must remember what is important, though- the thing Grandma Carol never wants our kids to forget- I am loved.