I started a five day devotional written by Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, and when I read Day 3 from his book There is More, he spoke of being gifted. But the one question he asked stayed in my mind, and had me questioning his question. He asked the reader if they see the people in their life as gifts. You know who I automatically thought of: my mother. In many ways she is: she brought me into the world, and took care of me as I grew up, and so on. But here lately, with her dementia illness, I was not so sure of the gift and what it truly was, in this case, dementia. What? Was the disease a gift? Let’s see…
- How can a disease be a gift? For one, a disease brings with it opportunities to bring out inner strength you didn’t know you had. For me, it caused me to no longer rely on my mother, instead taking matters into my own hand. I had to make decisions on her behalf once the dementia came to the forefront and reared its ugly head. At first I had no idea what was happening or what I was doing, or how to handle things. But I discovered through this ‘gift’ an inner reservoir that helped me take forward steps to care for my mother.
- The unique gift of disease a loved one has presents the caregiver with the opportunity of being a leader, a financial manager, a speaker representative, holding meetings with health care staff, and so on. I had to locate important documents, write letters when needed, and other things I did not expect to do. Truth be told, I do not like being in this position of having such responsibilities, and yet, these things have to be done.
- I learned to be a counselor when talking to my mother. Just today she called me with her usual questions of where she was, and that I needed to come and pick her up and take her home. I had to be patient and listen to her concerns, and tell her she was already home, describing to her where she was, and that she was in the right place. I learned to keep my voice in an even tone , but at times I have to get loud to get my points across, and during this conversation, I had to tell her she was fine where she was. After all that, she told me she still didn’t know where she was…back to the drawing board. However, her nurse was with her, and I was able to tell her what I said over the phone, and the nurse understood my frustration while also knowing the confused mental incapacity of my mother.
The gift I opened in October 2015 when my mother called me very confused was the beginning of a developing atmosphere I never thought would be presented to me. But as I told a friend last night (who has been caregiver for at least seven of her relatives with dementia over the years, and is presently caring for two), God has entrusted us with the gift, knowing we can handle it, caring for it through the gifts and talents He has blessed us with.
What? A gift? Perhaps I have to reluctantly say yes…