18 May 2009

Saying "Thy Will Be Done" in Advance

Almost twelve years ago, my daughter Julie became aware of how seriously Alzheimer's disease had affected her grandmother's memory and personality. She, along with several other relatives, visited her in a care center where she was recovering from a serious fall. I was living abroad at the time, on a mission with my husband, and in answer to a letter from my daughter I wrote the following:

Dear Julie,

We appreciated your information on the visit to see Grandmother in the care center on the day of the [family] reunion. I am grateful that you understand things the way you do. I feel the same way. It certainly is terribly sad to see Grandmother suffer, and to realize that she will probably soon leave this mortal existence. But she is ready to go, and she seems to be trying her best to be brave and endure whatever she needs to right now.

We talked to Uncle [D] Friday, and he said that he thought that it was an eye‑opener for most of the grandchildren to see her as she was. He mentioned that perhaps many had not realized the extent to which Grandfather stage‑managed visits when he was present to help her deal with her Alzheimer's disease. Apparently she has times when she is more lucid than others, and times when her memory is sharper than others. (Michael said that his visit with her on Tuesday went well, and that she remembered their conversation when he talked to her on Thursday). But her short term memory is definitely unreliable, and seems to be deteriorating rapidly.