I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. –Psalm 9:1
Happy Hump Day to you all! We have arrived at September! September, meaning precisely “7th month” which will soon be followed by October which means “8th Month”. Step it up 9th and 10th months, all underachieving like that! English is hard…as was Latin and Greek and German and French and Spanish and every other language that makes up this dog’s breakfast of a language. 🙂
Speaking of things I love to think about and try to improve on, but that I have a long way to go on, I ask you to turn your mind onto the subject of prayer, if you are so inclined. Do you find it a challenge to know how to pray in the world of dementia care? So do I. Here are a few bullet points that I try to think of as I wade through this spiritual stinkpot of an illness:
- Pray for God’s will to be done– Pray in agreement that the best thing possible should happen: God’s will be done. Fight the urge to assume He needs our help.
- Pray for spiritual health for yourself and your loved one-Few events compare to dementia as a challenge on a day-in and day-out basis. Having a thriving relationship with the Lord, to me, is a miraculous must. Pray for one of mom’s favorite songs to play on the piano to be your story: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”
- Pray for peace– Pray for peace in the mind of the patient. The mind is a battlefield that rivals the Alamo, and it is only partially salved by stability, routine, music, and sleep. Pray for each. Also pray for peace among family members. Families can and do get broken apart by this disease. Pry for grace upon grace for yourself and your family and shoot to be a peacemaker, not a fire starter.
- Pray for wisdom– Pray for wisdom for all parties: pray for wisdom for the doctors treating the constantly moving target that is dementia. Pray for wisdom in how to handle such landmines as when to take away car keys/guns, when to consider nursing care, when to consider a memory care unit, and how to handle the finances of the whole mess. Pray for nursing home employees’ and administrator’s wisdom.
- Pray for an end to Covid-19– The pandemic has taken away the precious last months of visits for many, many, many…including my family. Pray for it to be over so that reunions can be held before it is too late.
- Pray against guilt– Caregiver guilt is savage. Every bad thing you have ever said or done will come back into your mind. You will feel guilty when you are mad at them. You will feel guilty when you are mad at God. You will feel guilty hoping they have a sooner end to their situation even though heaven awaits the faithful. Guilt is savage and can be prayed against. (Note: repent of/ask forgiveness of sin to your loved one and to the Lord, knowing the former may or may not be able to grant it but that the latter will). Did you do enough? No. Did you do bad things/say bad things/not do good things every time? You are a fallen human…so sure enough, you fell. Ask for forgiveness from the Lord and from whom you wronged…and accept the peace that brings, (don’t forget to “forgive yourself”) and do better in the future, knowing you will have good days and bad days.
- Pray for opportunities to help and to be helped– People are hurting everywhere…and you are a people too. Help others and accept help. Pray for that.
- Pray for joy amongst the sadness– One of the many nefarious things about dementia is the pre-grieving depression that is banana peel on Looney Tunes easy to slip into. It is ok to grieve and mourn, even before the loved one is gone…but your time is short. Don’t let it consume you. Make each day, each minute special as best you can. You have been given a unique gift that some do not have: time albeit descending time. Use it with joy and make the mist of it. As a bonus, joy when you “should be sad” is a beautifully winsome thing for people without faith to see.
- Pray for strength– You need strength and so does your loved one. If you don’t today, you will tomorrow. Pray for daily bread and, if you would like, pray for a tad for tomorrow too…but lean in on Him all the while.
- Pray for treatments– Modern medicine, in general, isn’t good in even treating the disease. We shoot at the individual symptoms with either a Howitzer or a potato gun. The problem is the complexity of the brain and its interoperability. So much relies on it and fixing one symptom can and will cause other ones.
- Pray for research– Pray for researchers. Pray that they have wisdom and peace. Pray that they are patient and thorough and fight off all of the distractions. Pray for their own spiritual and physical self-care.
- Pray for a cure– Pray for a Walk to End Alzheimer’s white flower that symbolizes a cure. Pray for cures as I completely expect there NOT to be a single, magic bullet, but a series of treatments/cures.
- Pray for patience while we wait– We may never have a cure. It may come after we are gone. My mom is already “too late” to receive a cure minus a miraculous type. Her brain volume is substantially diminished to the point that a cure for her would likely just be a prolonged similar state that she is in now…and she would rather be in heaven.
This disease is hard for anyone to cope with. You and I need prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy, in old English or Latin, or with Bible verses intertwined. It is just a simple conversation with your Creator who loves you and stands ready to offer peace and love and grace. I have needed it this week, as always, and I suspect some of you have too.
Did I miss something? I am sure I did… Please comment below for all’s benefit. 🙂
Keep fighting, friends. We will #EndALZ someday…I am just sure of it. But until then, we pray.
Update: My stepdad had a nice visit yesterday. She was more aware than most days and smiled for him…always a joy. 🙂 I am hoping to visit again tomorrow now that Covid is in my rearview.
Pray for our Walk to End Alzheimer’s leader. He is ill.
Pray for humility and patience with me and the topic if you are not a praying type…I know that not everyone believes and I love you either way.