I’m Going Down

Friday, April 19

4-19By Sara Parkin of Midland, Michigan, USA

Collectively and individually, you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened…

—Doctrine and Covenants163:10

(Part 2 of My Journey with Alzheimer’s Disease)

When my doctor told me I have Alzheimer’s disease, I thought, “I’m going down. My life will be over.” I am a retired nurse who started as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home. After getting my degree, I became a registered nurse at a hospital. Last, I was a caregiver in people’s homes.

As a nurse, there were times I would sit with my patients to listen to their fears and joys, crying or laughing with them. Sometimes I would sit at the side of the bed, holding a hand as they left this life.

I am scared because I have cared for many patients who had different forms of dementia. (Alzheimer’s is one form.) I always knew I would die someday, but not so soon. I am 67 years old; but my Mom is 90. It’s too early for me! I will not be able to do the things I have put off, because I’m going down.

I remember my patients had goals, thoughts, and emotions just like me. I know what it is going to do to me and my family. I am the patient now, and I don’t like it. My thinking was, “I’m going down. I don’t have a choice. I can’t do anything. I’m going down.”

Then one day, something happened. Words came into my mind. “Sara, you are alive, and still able to do some things. So go get up and do them! You are not alone.”

There are many things I can do—alone or with others. Even those days when I’m feeling down, I can remember I am alive. I can cry. I can yell. I can laugh, or dance, or sing aloud. I can still connect with my family, friends, and others I meet. We can talk and share our stories. I know the Divine will be with me, even when the time comes when I no longer remember it.

Maybe you are like me. I have gifts I can continue to use for now. I have a chance to do some things I want to do but had been putting off. It is amazing how God walks with us and never leaves us alone.

Prayer for Peace
Healing God, draw us close. Fill our emptiness. Strengthen our hope. We thank you for walking with us. We thank you for friends who help us share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: An Offering of Ashes
God promises healing for our wounds and losses. Hold (or imagine holding) a pinch of ashes in your hands as you become aware of situations in your life, family, congregation, and world that are broken, lost, or falling apart. Be honest with God about the fear, sadness, or burden you feel. Offer the ashes to God in prayer. Ask God to create beauty, peace, and healing in the places and people who now experience the ashes of despair and grief.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will get out of my chair and do what matters most.

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2 Comments

  1. Vera Entwistle

     /  24 April 2013

    Sara, please know that you are on my prayer list. Your stories are inspiring. May God continue to bless and sustain you always. Vera

  2. Lu, How can I reach this person for permission to use in my Shamrock Senior Newsletter?

    Thanks!  Denise Leichter

    Sent from my Galaxy S®III

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