“Hi!” I cheerfully greet my mom as I walk into her room. I don’t refer to her as mom as that would confuse her. She smiles and her face lights up recognizing me as someone she enjoys. I begin to tell her about things in my life.
Soon she asks, “Have you seen Mom?” She is referring to her mother who died about 20 years ago.
“No, I haven’t.” I respond. “Have you?” To correct her would be confusing and cause unnecessary grief. She responds that she sees her every now and then.
She gets a panicked look on her face and asks if I know where the kids are. “I need to take care of them,” she adds with urgency, anxiety rising in her.
“Don’t you think Paul would take care of them?” I respond in a calming and comforting voice. Paul is 52 and has a family of his own as do the rest of the “kids.”
“Oh, yes,” she replies. “He is a good boy.” She continues on to ask if I have seen Becky. My heart sinks and a wave of grief rushes over me. You see, I am Becky and this is confirmation that she has no idea who I am.
I reply with a pseudo-cheerful, “She’s doing great!” And because I can’t resist, I continue on, “Tell me about Becky?”
Mom smiles and with a sparkle in her eye replies, “She’s really a pretty good girl.” There is my much needed affirmation for the day.
I turn on her CD player. Johnny Cash begins to sing a church hymn. I skip the player forward to a more familiar song, “Just as I Am.” Mom’s face lights up with a radiant glow. She begins to sing the song not missing a word as if she was standing in church many years ago reading it out of that old church hymnal. I am overwhelmed with joy. I long for Johnny Cash to keep singing it over and over again like an overdone church service alter call because you see, in this moment, I got my mom back.
I think of Proverbs 4:20-23 (NIV) “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” How often it has been preached to filling your mind with the things from above. It makes sense now; these things are stored within our heart. When the brain begins to fail, what’s in the heart springs forth. Not even Alzheimer’s disease can steal the health and life from from one who has filled her heart with the Word.
by Becky Watkins