3/25/2014 3:44:00 PM Blindness, an affliction of daily consequence
Marjorie Busschr Ecumenical Rep. St Anthony's Catholic Church
Recently, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Added to that is a hearing deficiency. Mom is unhappy with the hearing aids. Not only the necessity of them, but also their maintenance. Batteries have to be changed. The new hearing aids have a filter which must be changed. Another thing she cannot do for herself. The confusion, wandering without knowing why, and being asked all the time if she needs help makes her more obstinate. Mom is determined not to need help, except when she wants it. This is driving my sisters crazy. Since I live far away, I can be philosophical. This is a time to see God at work. Mom is blind to her diagnosis. We decided not to tell her everything. Mom would deny the dementia anyway. Her ignorance of the real diagnosis offers us some bliss. My sisters blindness is denying what Mom can do. Fear of Mom hurting herself, burning down the house, and falling are reasonable objections for taking precautions. Does Mom know her limitations? Will she cooperate or will she circumvent? The answers are still maybe and sometimes. This Lent I am praying for my sisters to “see” what Mom can do for herself: heat up prepared meals in the microwave, fold clothes, take her medications. I pray, too, for patience on their part with Mom. We watched our parents take care of their parents. Mom and Dad taught us to work together, to show compassion, to be firm when necessary. Most of all they showed us that the hard decision to send parents into a care facility broke their hearts. They expressed that they hadn’t done enough, were being selfish, and had failed. They didn’t see the fruit of their decisions. Even now they would not take credit for the way we are trying to imitate them. They are still blind to the gift they gave us when they so faithfully cared for their parents, first Mom’s and then Dad’s. They were doing what is right. Now, it is our turn to do what is right for them. My sisters and I need to be blind to the down side of Alzheimer’s: the stubbornness, the anger, the secretiveness. We need to have the Light of Christ guiding us in assisting Mom to have quality time in her last years. Without faith, we would all be stumbling in the dark. When I selected this scripture, John 9:1-41, I planned to meditate on being blind to the Lord at work in little things. Our parents declining health is a big thing. We sisters have each other and their example. There is Light shining through the darkness. With the Lord’s help, we find a way to protect and respect our parents. Maybe becomes certainly, sometimes becomes always when the Light is on. Weekly meditations provided through the Greater Florence Area Ministries Alliance meeting each 2nd Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Lighthouse Ministries.