I Am Down, I Am Up, I Am… (a day in a journey with Alzheimer’s Disease)

Friday, October 17

10-17Sara Parkin of Midlands, Michigan, USA

Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God’s shalom, invites all people to come and receive divine peace in the midst of the difficult questions and struggles of life. Follow Christ in the way that leads to God’s peace and discover the blessings of all of the dimensions of salvation.

—Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a

When we got to the church I didn’t tell anyone I was not well. Instead I would say to the people, “Hi, how are you?” They would say, “I am OK,” or “Doing well.” They would ask me how I am again, and I said, “Doing all right.”

I lied.

I walked away and looked for a place to be alone as I started to cry. I found the sanctuary and sat on a step under the picture of Jesus and cried with him. Why am I crying? I want to be here. I want to go home. I needed to go home. I did not know why or how I was sick. I did not know why I was crying, and I just wanted to go home.

I was on my knees, asking God what was going on with me. Was it my Alzheimer’s disease playing with my brain? I was at the church for a class. I had all the books I needed for the class. I didn’t read them, could not understand so many words. When I wanted to talk I couldn’t get my brain to go faster to get words out of my mouth. It was easier to not talk, yet I wanted to share with the group.

Did I want to cry? Did I want to go home? NO! I want to be normal just like everyone else. On Monday, I stopped at the Alzheimer’s Association, and I talked to Laura. I shared with her what happened about my crying—told her I broke down. She called it a break out, meaning that you have been holding back, and it has to come out.

I need to stand up and to speak up for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I am very happy when I am up and about. I feel really good doing things in my life, and I hope to help others when I can. Today I know that God is always with us. Yesterday, I did not know that. I might not know that again tomorrow. I thank God for my moments of presence.

Prayer for Peace Ever-present God, we search for peace, we search for shalom, and we find them embodied in Christ. Thank you for the gift of your Son.

Spiritual Practice: Shaping into Wholeness Hold (or imagine holding) a glass cup, bowl, or vase. Explore its shape, texture, and color. Let the container symbolize your life as it is being formed. Write on strips of paper (or in your journal) the aspects of your life that are not yet just and whole. Place the strips in the glass container and hold it in your hands. Pray a prayer of confession and petition, asking God to continue to breathe in and on you, shaping you into a just and compassionate person.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will invite someone whose spirit might be down to share feelings with me. I will listen with patience and love.

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5 Comments

  1. Sara, I have had family members, mother, mother-in-law, die from complications of this disease and other family members in its throws right now. I am always helped and uplifted when you share with us your feelings. It is so helpful to see Alzheimer’s from your view! Thank you so much. Know that even if we have never seen each other you are loved and appreciated.

  2. Sara,
    I appreciate your openness of your feelings. You have given me strength. I have journeyed with my mom, Jeanne Rossman during the past 10 years as she experienced Alzhieimers. I feel blessed to have been with through many joys and sorrows. She is nearing the end of her earthly journey and we are encouraging her to transition to meet her Heavenly Father. Prayers for you as you seek guidance.

  3. Sara, Thank you so much for sharing. Alzheimer’s is an awful disease that we that don’t have it, don’t understand. This last year I have had my sister-in-law, living with us and she has Alzheimer’s disease. She had always been such a beautiful person and to watch her go through this has been really hard. I really needed this message today. Thank you and God Bless you. I pray that God and his angels will wrap their arms around you and lift you up, as we lift you up in prayer.
    Mary Lou Sheppard

  4. Katherine Bridwell

     /  17 October 2014

    Thank you for sharing. This touched my heart. people do know when something is wrong and want to be there for you.

  5. Norma Mercurio

     /  17 October 2014

    Thank you Sara. You wrote the words, “I want to help people when I can.” I want to assure you that you have blessed me this morning. For even though I don’t have Alzheimer’s, I, too, have lied in church, and so desire to be “normal”. Please know that you play a very important role in God’s kingdom. May you be wrapped in his loving arms today and every day.

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