Life or Death: I Choose Life

Yesterday I met with the medical staff at the hospital, to discuss our next step for my mother. It’s been three weeks (at least) and she will not eat or drink. It was recommended for her to have a procedure to insert a feeding tube, so she could get much needed nourishment. My choices were to give consent for the procedure, or not do that and let nature take its course. In either case, it is not known how much time my mother has to live on earth.

It’s a big decision to make, which brings with it a barrage of questions linked to either choice. If the tube is not inserted, then we lean toward hospice care, with people coming in and providing quality care and keep her comfortable, with the end result of death. How long would it take for death to come? Only God knows. The feeding tube could be inserted to provide needed nutrients to keep her alive, but the same question remains; how long would she live?

I talked to friends and to my son Stephen, and we went back and forth, making my already long day tiring. But during the evening, something dropped deep within me. What side is God on? Is he for death, or is he for life? I would like to think he is for life. If the tube was inserted, at least I would feel at peace with my decision that I had done all I could to help her as best I could, choosing life. So, when the doctor contacted me earlier today, I told him I would give consent for the feeding tube to be inserted. There may be possible problems with it (infection, the tube getting stopped up, my mother pulling out the tube, etc.), but at the same time I want to be able to say I had done all I could to give her the best care from what was available.

So, to all caregivers out there, consider the same. Everyone’s situation with their loved one is different but choose to do what you can that fits your situation regardless of how difficult it is in making the decision, feeling confident that you did your due diligence of doing the best course of action.

Be encouraged, and keep striving to take the best course of action…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


God Is Still With Us

Since the last post, things have happened regarding my mother. In August she broke her leg and had surgery. She came through that with flying colors, but at the same time, things have drastically changed. She’s not talking much, or should I say she’s not communicating in the way I am used to her talking. She spoke clear and precisely, like an English teacher who spoke in a pleasant tone. That has been replaced with sounds of growls and shouting. If there are words, they are only one or two shoutouts of what she doesn’t want you to do.

For the last two to three weeks Mom refuses to eat or drink. As a result, her lab results have shown a high level of sodium in her system, though for now her organs have not been damaged. I don’t know why she refuses food or drink. Is it that she is being stubborn, or is it that she no longer knows how to connect putting food in her mouth, not knowing how to swallow? Neither I nor the hospital medical staff know, so we will be discussing the insertion of a food tube in the next couple of days.

As for me, I am heavily relying on the staff’s medical knowledge that will guide me on what to do next, as I feel like I am in a whirl of unanswered questions circling my brain. Are we approaching the end of this dreadful dementia disease, and thus the end of her life? What can I do to help her? It seems like when I talk to her she doesn’t respond, just gives me a growl that is saying get away from me. Right now I feel more helpless now than I did in October, 2015, when this journey began.

But I can say this: Through it all, God still has not left me to fend for myself. He stays true to the following verse:

The Lord your God is with you,

the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

The songs keep coming in my mind, and then I know regardless of what happens next, God is with us. I may not know what will happen, but God already knew this present series of events would become reality. All I have to do is tell him like King Jehoshaphat did when he was faced with bad news, not knowing what to do:

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12b

As the answer came to him and the and the kingdom of Judah, I am confident God will provide and sustain us. I hope you will experience the same thing when faced with a challenge…

God’s Got My Back, and Yours Too!

Life can change in an instant, in the blink of an eye. In the morning, a person can be nice. By the afternoon, just the opposite. This is what happened today.

I was surprised to learn my mother had been moved to another room in the nursing home. I was not called about that, but I was supposed to get a call. Anyway, she had been moved at the request of her then roommate, who complained about her yelling and calling her names. She finally got her wish. Instead of her being moved, my mother was moved. At least she was moved to a room with no roommate. How long that will be we will see. Remembering how she was when I visited her earlier in week, I was expecting the same, even though she had been moved to a new room. I decided not to bring up anything about what had happened that got her to a new nursing home until she brought it up. Perhaps I should have said something, but I figured since she didn’t bring it up, neither would I. Well, that had to be dealt with today.

The “how did I get here” and “what happened” questions came streaming out as soon as I got to her room. I knew something was up, because the look on her face and her comments towards me were not good, positive ones. She just started belting out instructions of what she wanted, then changing her mind when I went to get help to assist moving her to a more comfortable position in her bed. Eventually she calmed down enough for me to explain what had happened the past three weeks.

She said she remembered nothing. She didn’t remember her leg hurting, didn’t remember being in the hospital or having the surgery, and on and on it went. She didn’t believe all that was happening to her, and of course, me being her only child, I was to blame for it somehow.

But this time, something different happened on my part. I responded differently.

Usually, I take her harsh words inwardly and personally, which aids in starting the downward spiral of feeling bad. This time was different. I kept telling her I loved her, and even though she told me not to come back, and comments of “whatever you want to do, so be it” was said by her, I did not let that deter me. I was actually smiling; even that surprised me.

Despite what she said, I told her I was praying for her. Despite her saying I could do whatever I wanted to do, I told her there were many people praying for her because they cared for her. And then I told her I would be coming back to visit her when she kept saying she didn’t want to see me, that I could leave. Her usual dismissals would leave me feeling defeated in the past, but not this time. I told her I would be back. In fact, I kept saying to her over and over God’s got my back and he has hers too. Actually, that line is from a Steven Furtick sermon he had preached the past Sunday, and it and other words just seemed to come from nowhere…and with a smile on my face! Who knew?!!

“Are you finished?” she asked, in a deadpan, not-so-nice tone. I told her, “No I’m not. You will get well, and you with the help of rehab you will walk again, and God has our back.” (I wanted to say, regardless of your attitude, God still has you.)

Eventually, I left her room, talked to her nurse Chris, talked to the admissions director and got to my car, thanking God for being in the midst. And then, without warning, this huge grin flashed across my face. And as I turned on the radio, K-Love provided a great song by Hillsong that just summed up my visit with mom:

I’ll sing the night into the morning, I’ll sing the fear into your praise
I’ll sing my soul into your presence, Whenever I say your Name
Let the devil know not today
Whenever I say your name Jesus, Let the devil know not today!

Be encouraged…

God is in the Story

Three weeks ago, mom broke her femur. No one knew it at the nursing home, as my mother refused to get her knee x-rayed. However, her leg swelled and the pain level increased (week two). On Friday I went to visit her, the same time they scheduled to do the x-ray. Everyone assumed I was called about that, and thought that was why I was there, but I did not get a call. Anyway, the x-ray was completed, and it showed a very bad break. She was transported to the hospital and three days later had surgery to successfully repair an 88-year-old femur. But I learned much more.

Whenever I have visited my mother at the nursing home, she would be asleep, and I would have to wake her. She would be happy to see me and would carry on a conversation with me. But while she was in the hospital, I saw something different: a woman who couldn’t put together words and thoughts for the most part, but only yells and screams, refusing to eat and being combative. Though she made it out of the hospital and to the nursing home (a different one), she continued to scream out, though not as much. As I sat across from her, she asked me for Debbie’s phone number. The problem was Debbie was me, sitting with her at that very moment. It didn’t make any difference to tell her this, though I did many times. Then she asked for her phone so she could call me. Needless to say, I did not know what else to do at that point. Eventually she dropped off to sleep, but even then, she would yell out, making sounds that had no words within them.

After talking to staff I left, slowly walking to my car. As I turned on the radio a new song was playing. The chorus resonated with me:

God is in this story God is in the details 
Even in the broken parts He holds my heart, He never fails 
When I’m at my weakest I will trust in Jesus 
Always in the highs and lows The One who goes before me 
God is in this story 

The journey with my mother who appears to be in the end stages of dementia has been challenging to say the least, but it is a story nonetheless. Within the above chorus is the line God is in the details. That line is where I hang my hope. If God is in every detail of the story, that means he is aware. That means he is a God who understands the difficulty. That means when I am in a realm of not knowing what to do while at the same time not wanting to be involved, he cares, and makes it his point for me to turn on the radio at the precise time to listen to these words, because he knows how much I love lyrics to songs, and how they can touch the inner core of my emotional pain. And for that, I am thankful.

So if the storm you’re walking through Feels like it’s too much and you 
Wonder if He even cares at all Well, hold on tight to what you know 
He promised He won’t let you go Your song of healing’s written in His scars 

I was encouraged (and maybe even challenged) to continue to hold on to God’s promise of never leaving nor forsaking me and my mom, as the story of our journey continues…I hope this encourages you too.

Dear God

Dear God,

I did not want to go see my mother. I wasn’t having a good day, and I didn’t want to go in a bad mood. But after talking to You about it, I decided I might as well go, as no one visits her but me.

I went and got her favorite, which is anything fried chicken, as well as sweet tea. As I made my way to her room, she was having lunch and was almost done. But she seemed to not be in the present. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was, but eventually she started to warm up to me. I noticed how much her right hand was shaking as she attempted to grab some food. It was something I had not noticed before.

She didn’t want the chicken, but she took the sweet tea. That was a first for me, not wanting the food, as I am used to her happily accepting anything I bring to her. Today, not so much. I could tell she was down, and since I got a call yesterday that she had a fall, she probably was a bit sore from that.

Though I tried to drum up some conversation, I could tell that was not going to work and I just wanted the floor to open up so I could disappear; it seems she would not have noticed anyway. I didn’t stay long. I told her I knew since she had just eaten that she would soon be taking a nap. While that was true, I knew I said that as a way of having a reason to leave.

I said my goodbyes and left.

The closer I got to my car, the more guilty I felt. I don’t know what to do anymore, and what I do doesn’t seem to work, at least not today. God, I need help with the way I am feeling. I feel bad for not wanting to go. I know why, because I don’t see my mother anymore. I see a shell of her. But at the same time, she is still alive, still breathing. I just don’t like how I feel regarding her; I have been living with these feelings for a while. Come October, together we have been dealing with dementia for at least seven years. I didn’t know what to do at the beginning when she was determined to stay independent while at the same time knowing something was mentally wrong with her, and now it’s 2022, and I’m still dealing with how I feel.

I don’t like it. I need your help.

You said to come to you with my burdens and give them to you, so I am doing that through this letter. Yes, I am thankful for all you have done and continue to do. You are not the issue; the problem of how to deal with this is my issue, and while I accept what has and continues to happen, I don’t like the way I am dealing with this.

I need your help. Please.

Being Strengthened

What does it mean to be strengthened? Let’s use Joshua as an example. His leader Moses had just passed away, and he was the next one in line as leader over Israel to usher them into the promised land God had prepared for them.

Can you imagine all the thoughts that were running through Joshua’s head? He may have learned a lot from Moses and watched him lead, but it is quite another thing to actually be the leader over a great number of people. God knew this, and told him the following, I think, as a way of calming all those circling thoughts in his head:

Joshua 1:5-9 says

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Laqw always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”

God encouraged Joshua to

*be strong and courageous

*know that He would be with hi always

*to be in tune with the Law, or the instructions of the bible, and obey it

-meditate on what has been written

-for when he does that, he will be prosperous and successful

*not to be afraid or discouraged

Then God restates for Joshua not to be afraid or discouraged, and he would be with him wherever he goes; God said these two statements twice.

Today I want to talk about what it means to be strong, and how we can obtain strength and stay that way.

When an athlete is in training, many elements are involved. For example, a daily regimen has to be followed for the runner, from working out in the exercise room to running and following the right diet to eat nutritional foods to keep strong. I’ve watched enough Rocky films to know all that needs to be done to get in shape and build muscle for the big fight. The goal for the athlete is to get ready, build muscle, and get strong. And while it may be true that they may wake up one morning not wanting to do the normal routine, they do it anyway, because they have one goal in mind: to win the race or be victorious for the fighting match. They have trainers in their circle that makes sure all the right things are being done to give them a fighting chance to be a top athlete for the big day.

It’s not a walk in the park to be strong. For the believer, being strong is more than having a bible on the coffee table next to the sofa; you know the one that never gets opened and read. It’s more than picking up the bible, opening it and reading a verse or two, thinking you have met your bible reading quota for the day. God told Joshua to meditate on the word day and night, and that takes effort and time. It was His way of telling Joshua to get involved with what was being told him, to make the instruction a part of his everyday life. When that is done, he would be successful in whatever he attempts to achieve.

It must have been assuring to Joshua when God told him he would be with him. Perhaps that helped in calming the stomach butterflies of nerves Joshua felt as he was about to take the leadership role. Don’t we all need that type of encouragement in our lives? Whether we’re about to do something big, or just want to make it through the next trying day, it’s nice to know that God is with us, no matter what. He promised that not just for Joshua, but for us as well. As he promised that to those of the Old Testament, he promised the same in the New Testament. In John 14 he told the disciples that he would not leave them orphans (verse 18), that he will come to us, and in verse 27 of the same chapter he tells us not to be troubled or afraid, because of the peace he will gift us.

Being strong has a courageous element to it. It means to be bold and brave with no ounce of fear. If we know that God will be with us as we do this thing called life, then fear should cower and quickly disappear. It should enable us to take that step forward. But this is what enables us to do that: knowing and incorporating what the instructions are.

Joshua discovered his purpose by shadowing Moses, taking his place as the next leader over Israel. He got encouragement from God who told him not to be afraid but to be courageous. And if he took the time to gain wisdom through reading the written word of God, he would be successful in whatever he did. So, I have a question for you.

What type are you when it comes to following instructions? Are you the type that looks over the booklet you get with the product you purchased and needs to be assembled, making sure you have all the parts before you get started? If so, you’re like me, as I want to make sure I have the correct number of screws and parts the instructions say I should have before I get started. Or are you the type that says, “I got this, I don’t need the instructions”, then look a bit befuddled when you have parts left over that should have been incorporated in the finished product?

For many of us, being courageous means taking a step to admit you don’t know all you need to know to move forward. It takes an element of bravery to no longer stay in the comforts of life and dare to do something different. It takes a dose of heroism to step away from being a part of what everyone else is doing, and step into the realm of realizing what you’ve imagined for years but thought it could not be done, bringing your imagination into reality. But I have to step back into what it takes to make all that happen, and to me that is delving into the godly instruction manual, which takes me back to that dusty bible on the table, or the unutilized bible app on the phone.

It’s the life manual, the bible, and why God provided it to us. What are the instructions regarding anger for example? If you are married, the instructions are to settle the anger issue before you go to sleep for the night (Ephesians 4:26). If there is an issue with feeling down, Psalm 42 speaks of placing hope in God, praising him in the process.

Joshua was instructed to obtain wisdom, and God tells us to do the same. But not just obtain it, but to meditate on it. According to the dictionary, that entails spending time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation, or to engage in contemplation or reflection. I am all for the verse-of-the-day apps and listening to something that takes a few seconds. But what do you do out of that, other than checking off your list that you did something related to God for the day? I need more than that to get me through my day, and when I don’t do that, my day doesn’t go so well. For me, spending that quality time with God is a daily struggle. The enemy knows if I am victorious in that, he will lose ground, so he does whatever he can to distract me from that quality time. I have to admit, there are times when I don’t win the battle. Yet I must continue to fight. What helps me is to do five minutes in prayer, five minutes in praise, five minutes of reading, and five minutes of worship and thanksgiving. We’ll delve into that more later in this podcast. But for now, I will say when I do that, I feel stronger, I feel I have done something that strengthens me. Let know if that works for you.

The bible continues with the story of Joshua. As God promised, Joshua went into battle, and won, and all the while God was involved in Joshua’s life. How do I know that? Because throughout the book of Joshua, there was constant conversation, strategies provided, and encouraging words from God to Joshua, who relayed that to the people of Israel. His leadership skills made the soldiers and leaders confident that Joshua knew what he was doing, that he was operating in concert with God.

It’s all about the instructions for Joshua, and it is God’s life manual that provides the strength we need for our life journey. Those directives enable us to build those spiritual muscles needed to battle through negativity, punch through sadness, and run through the wall of adversity. It directs us towards God-0given solutions (forge ahead or stand still), while getting strengthened.

Earlier I talked about the five minutes of how to spend time with God, so let’s delve into that more.

Prayer is necessary in our relationship with God. It is not some formal dissertation; God doesn’t need that. What he wants is for you to provide the gateway to have a conversation with you. It’s not because he doesn’t know what is going on in your life; it’s because he wants you to acknowledge you need him to be involved in your life, and his guidance will make all the difference in your situation. Cast your cares upon him, because he cares for you. So, converse with him throughout your day; you may be amazed by how God will honor you when you give a value of worth to him by giving him quality time through prayer.

As you read God’s word, remember what you read as you go through your day. That is what meditation entails. It involves reflection, remembering what words jumped off the page as you were reading. It involves writing down what thoughts came to mind as you thought about what you read. And by the way, having a journal with you as you’re reading is very important, because you can jot down thoughts as you are praying and as you are reading. When a prayer is answered, you can review when you prayed about it and the date the prayer was answered, and praise God for the answer.

Our churches have usually a time of music with the praise and worship team. Is there a difference between the words praise and worship, or are they synonymous? There is a difference.

Praise means offering a commendation. It means to offer a glorification, an approval of what something or someone has done. Psalm 100:4 speaks of entering into God’s gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise, giving thanks and praise to his name. Praise causes one to remember with (in this context) God has done for us, and because of that we can offer a hallelujah of thanks.

Worship means giving honor, reverence, and respect. The Old English word for worship is wierde, which means worth. When we worship, we are giving God worth, with the raising of our hands, with the clapping of our hands, with standing for the reading of scripture, and so on. When the praise and worship come and sing songs, the lyrics are to honor and reverence God for who he is, and remembrance of he has done.

Thanksgiving is just that: thanking God for what he has done, and even thanking him for answers you have yet to receive. This is another way of honoring God for who he is.

As we spend these minutes with God, have some music playing in the background, as you offer description of who God is to you, and as you offer praise and worship. As you do this, he will offer strength to you, peace to you, and whatever else you need to be successful during your day.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you will join me again for another podcast topic, rooted in biblical truths that will get you thinking about God (with a splash of humor), that you can apply to your everyday life. Be encouraged and strengthened.

An Update

I did not know it has been so long I had written a post on this blog! Perhaps it was because I was busy working a parttime job, having a book published, or just wondering what to do next. But after visiting my mother today, I felt it best to write a piece to get some thoughts out of my head that have been building for a while.

Since 2015 we have been dealing with dementia, so we are in year seven, and my mother had her 88th birthday this past May. We continue to live with the disease together, and what you read about its symptoms are what we experience:

  • Her memory is waning. I try to keep in contact with her friends and called one so they could talk. Unfortunately, my mother did not remember her; very unfortunate. But the friend took it in stride and continued with the conversation. And speaking of conversation, a lot of what we talk about isn’t much, because I know she will not remember literally moments after I tell her something.
  • Good news: her appetite continues to be strong. I try to bring her favorite foods of the planet: fried chicken and Mr. Good Bars candy. Her weight is not going up or down, and her nutritionist is pleased with that. Not so good news: There is difficulty in grasping anything, particularly food. Today when I visited her, it was like she was wearing her fruit salad, it was all across her chest, like not much made it in her mouth, and the rest of it was sprawled out on the floor next to her bed. Since she was in a deep sleep, I cleaned her up and got the fruit salad off the floor.
  • It is hard to know the best time to visit her, because she is in such a deep sleep, like today I didn’t bother her, just dropped off her candy and left. I have tried different times from before lunch to mid to late afternoon, and all but once she has not been awake. Then I feel bad when I wake her up, though she is happy to see me.
  • She has been combative with the staff. She is not that way with me, but I have gotten calls about it. Because she is so determined to do things herself, she falls a lot. The good thing is she does not seem to be injuring herself, though she may be sore in some areas because of it.

Because of the above, I wonder how long I have left with her. But if I am honest, I feel like I do today: like she has been gone for a few years, and I am visiting the living dead. I am grateful she still remembers me, her grandson and some of our relatives and her pastors, but there just doesn’t seem to be much left of my mother. And because of that I feel like I am visiting an empty shell of a person I knew so well. And that is what I miss. I can’t talk to her about anything, really. I ask the usual questions of how she is feeling, and her answer I am not sure is real, as she doesn’t want me to worry about her. She deals with depression a lot, and now she is no longer walking around or being in the hall in her wheelchair. Now she is just in the bed, oftentimes asleep.

There is nothing I can do at this point but pray for her. Pray she sleeps through the night (many times she stays awake), pray she isn’t combative with the staff, and pray that if that time comes when God calls her home, that I will be able to handle it, if in fact I am still here on planet earth.

The Progression

As I wrote in the last posting, Mom is finding it is more difficult to put thoughts together. I have been knowing this for a few months, and while I noticed this, it is something else when a medical professional tells you she noticed the same.

The nurse practitioner and I had a phone meeting to talk about my mother, and when we compared notes of how she is talking and acting, they mirrored the same thing: my mother has entered the advanced stage of dementia. The good news is she still has an appetite, though at times she does not eat all of her meals, she does eat most of her food. In the advance stage a person with dementia may stop eating, have difficulty swallowing, among other physical issues. This gives a little glimmer of hope that may push back the final stage of the disease.

However, when the doctor discusses with a family member about having DNR/DNI (do not resuscitate/do not incubate) procedures in place, I sense the end time may be near. The question is how much time is left? Only God knows…

Before that end comes, now is the time to gather important papers, get information to put in the obituary, insurance papers, etc. In the meantime, all I can do is whenever I talk to her on the phone or see her in person, I will do my best to be upbeat and be that listening ear she needs…

Meeting the Need

With the pandemic happening, it is very challenging to stay in contact with Mom. For one, the phone in her room keeps needing repair. Secondly, when it is working, it has to ring for a long to allow for her to wheel herself to the phone.

This year I haven’t seen much of her because the nursing home has been shut down, not allowing any outside visitors. The last time I saw her was during the July 4th weekend, and after that, I had phone calls with her. I have to say I don’t look forward to making those calls.

I am noticing that while she sounds like my mother, she doesn’t talk like my mother. Her thoughts are not put together well. She asks about me and how I am doing, even though it is me she is talking to. During our conversation today, she asked me if I had talked to Debbie, and asked how she was doing. This time I did not bother to correct her by saying she was talking to Debbie, and I didn’t ask who she thought she was presently talking to. I told her Debbie was doing okay, and would try to arrange an appointment to come for a visit. The conversation wasn’t for long, and as my countenance fell, so to speak, I wanted to get off the phone, if I am honest. Talking to someone that is a shell of herself is disheartening.

However, I know I have to continue caring for her as best as I can, and continue to be the listening ear she so desperately needs. Hopefully the visit can be scheduled in a few days, and I can be there for her and lend a listening ear, regardless of if she makes sense or not. And regardless of how I feel, I must strive to be her caregiver, caring for her and meeting her needs as best I can. If the script was flipped, she would do the same for me…

A Movie Communication

I believe God can speak to you in any communicative way that He sees fit. I believe today it was through a movie.

Nowadays, I have many channels to watch movies. Of all the many movies at my disposal, I chose to watch one on YouTube, called Our Father’s Keeper. I read what the movie was about, and my initial thought was the father got sick, died, and the family had to cope with that. Maybe there some unresolved issues to contend with, etc. The movie began with the father having some health issues, though he did not know what it was. He even tried to do some online research about drooling from his mouth and he didn’t know it . I thought he was about to have a deadly heart attack. Boy, was I wrong. After an out from left field verbal outburst at Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family present, his wife took him to the doctor for tests. It wasn’t his heart; though he was in his late fifties, his brain scan showed he had onset Alzheimer’s disease. When I saw the picture of his brain, and all the black areas where there should have been tissue, it took me back to when I saw my mother’s test results.

This scene took me back to the 2016, when I was sitting with her in the neurologist’s office, hearing him meticulously reviewing all the results with us, particularly the way her brain looked. It was fascinating to me how there were so many disconnects and dark areas of her brain, which did not look healthy at all. I remember the doctor telling me I was a good daughter, and then he turned to my mother and tenderly told her to enjoy the rest of her life; she had dementia and there was no medication that would reverse what was happening to her brain.

The movie showed the father’s facial expression, how he seemed to look so blank, like he was living on another planet. There are times I see that in my mother. Because of the pandemic I cannot see her, and we mainly communicate by phone. This past week I knew the disease was progressing, as she called telling me to contact Debbie and let her know she needed to come and take her to choir rehearsal. I told her she was talking to Debbie. A short pause before the next response, and then she said the same thing. The conversation was a mishmash of sentences that didn’t make much sense. I tried to be patient and tell her she wasn’t at the church, she was at the nursing home. Sometimes her brain connected with that, but during most of the phone conversation it did not. She was convinced she was at the church and needed a ride home.

Regarding the movie, the father eventually passed away about six years after he was diagnosed, but the family felt a closer bond, getting along with each other better since the diagnosis of their father. A lot of parts of the movie I could identify with, but throughout the movie I kept asking God, of all the movies I could have chosen, why did you make sure I chose this one to watch?

I truly believed God was telling me something. After the movie ended and I looked out my window as the sun was beginning to set, it was as if the clouds had formed a big hand in the sky. I stared at it for a few moments, thinking if someone else looked at it, the fingers and the large hand would not have been seen. But for me, that’s what it was, like God was saying He has His hand over the situation, and He wanted me to know that though there may be something that would soon happen, not to be afraid: He was in control of it all…