As I look into the eyes of these beautiful people with Alzheimer disease, I see the core of the life left inside. I see people, whose lives have been stripped of the superficial trappings of life, the accomplishments, the material possessions, the pride. There is no room for pride and arrogance in this world. Scriptures say, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3) God created each and every unique individual with a specific purpose in mind. Without his creating us, we would not be in existence. It is not of our own doing that we were born. No two people being alike, our individual makeup, our gifts, our talents whether they be listening, lending a helping hand, artist, mathematician, photographer, film maker....are a unique design given to us for God’s greater purpose. To live separately from him would be abandoning the purpose for which we were made.
When I see the eyes of my beautiful grandson I see a fresh and sensitive little soul. There is so much ahead of him. When I look into Jerry’s eyes, I see a soul filled with wisdom and beauty. Both sort of have a look of determination and purpose. Behind the blank stare of Alzheimer eyes, is the person inside. I see value. Their Alzheimer walk was not of their own doing. These people lived accomplished lives..pastors, artists, teachers. Some may not realize they were created for a purpose. Some do. Nonetheless, their purpose is still being carried out and their value is still great.
Being a caregiver was completely unexpected. I took for granted the fact that Jerry and I would raise our children, retire, live an adventurous life together, and die together. His early diagnosis began what I’d call a different kind of adventurous life. Do I wish this had never happened? Absolutely. No one would wish this on anyone. Am I angry about it? Sometimes. Do I get sad? DUH! The fact is, now, I am resolved to the fact that this is a part of the greater purpose that involves both Jerry and I. His courageous battle to fight his decline to the end and my depending on God to carry the caregiver roll through to the very end. It is an experience that has changed me forever. It has changed Jerry forever. Both for the better.