My mom has a form of dementia. Right now, she does remember us, but she doesn’t remember life events. Many caregivers I meet are caring for parents with Alzheimer’s or dementia of some kind. It’s so hard on the emotions and heart because they still look like mom and dad, but they are not fully there. My mom has no memories of the ministry we did together for all those years. We traveled some and she’d speak at women’s meetings and I’d usually take my guitar and do some music. One year, we planned a whole women’s retreat. Our good friend Johnnie H. came and spoke, and I did all the music with our friend Linda P. Such good memories – but she doesn’t recall them at all.
Of course, my mom isn’t the one “suffering” so to speak. She’s chipper, friendly, and still loves everyone. She just doesn’t remember her life and all the people she impacted through her years of serving as a nurse and a minister. It’s sad for us – but she seems fine with it. She’s not troubled over it – because she really doesn’t know.
All of this was going through my mind this morning as I was reading in Isaiah 49. Verses 14 to 16 in the New American Standard translation read:
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a woman forget her nursing child?
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely, they may forget you,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continuously before me.
Our parents may forget – and it’s a horrible feeling. The person we knew who cared for us when we were children, those who raised us to be adults and parents of our own children, don’t even remember it. The comfort here is that even if they forget us – God won’t. This verse says: they may forget – but I will not forget you.
Caregiving is tough, no doubt. We can suffer from loneliness and social isolation. Our friends walk away because they don’t know what to do with us. The church doesn’t know what to do with us either and they turn their attention to the younger generation. It’s so easy to feel like we fell through the cracks and no one is coming in after us. We don’t feel worth it.
But we are to Him! God has His eye and His heart on us. This says he has tattooed us on the palm of His hand – it’s not possible for Him to forget us because we have become part of Him.
Today, my heart hurts because my mom doesn’t remember; but I’ll shift my focus to the One who cannot forget. My meditation will be on the steadfastness of His memory which has extended into these caregiving years. People seem to forget, church seems to forget, friends have forgotten it seems, but He knows right where I am and senses everything I feel right now. He’s that close – and He won’t move away. The world may forget us – but He doesn’t have the ability to forget us! And for that – I am thankful today.
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