Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: AMAZING (04/19/18)
- TITLE: Joy Comes
By Bonnie Kronberger
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Peaceful days were not always the norm. Lee, my husband, has Alzheimer’s disease. Lee’s dementia took on the form of paranoia and delusions, far beyond the expected memory loss and hiding of things. Each day was filled with his belief that imaginary people controlled his home and everything in it, and we were uninvited guests! Fear and worry filled his deluded mind, causing him panic. Day after day, he would beg me to find an imaginary place or person and solve the ensuing crisis.
I was devastated. Seeing the decay of his reality and the absurdity of his thought process overwhelmed me, and the finality of our future with superficial interaction hit hard. How was I going to survive, living in the midst of accusations and panic, with no ability to reason with Lee and convince him he was safe. I remember going into our garage and pacing back and forth, crying, “God, God, how can I do this. I’m drowning! All I want is peace and joy and I don’t know when I will ever have it again. Help, Lord!”
My faith was trying to hold on strong to God being with me, strengthening me -- to keep believing I would not be swept away by fear of the future. My family assured me this would not last forever, but my circumstances gave me little hope for peace and joy again.
The thing about Alzheimer’s is that it just gets worse. So to expect to weather the storm and return to normalcy is not in one’s thinking. Although God was with me and giving me strength and comfort through the many months of bizarre living, I experienced daily dread of what kind of frightening thoughts my husband would believe, and whether I’d be able to calm the storm. My journaling at that time shows how fragile I was feeling.
“Sadness invades me, uninvited. I’m realizing this dementia journey is more about me than I imagined. How will I rejoice? Can I continue to say, “Not my will, but yours, Lord.” How will I keep my head above the waves of the storm? And a storm it is! Periods of calm, with unexpected gusts that threaten to submerge me in sorrow. It’s me who gasps and gags as his fears, suspicions, and paranoia rain down on me.
My mourning does not disappoint my Heavenly Father. He knows I will mourn and He comforts me. My grief is not a sin of unbelief or a failure to overcome! His perfect peace keeps me upright in the midst of the storm. Aaaah, just writing this has brought me comfort. Putting words to my suffering brings Truth into focus.”
God’s amazing mercy came in His perfect timing. Lee had a medical emergency that required a trip to the emergency room. Through that experience, I began to become informed about resources and help that was available to us. Home Health Care personnel began coming into the home and I felt “life” begin to flow into our lives. We both enjoyed the barrage of workers that came frequently with exercises, games, and medical monitoring. But the greatest gift was people to hear my worries and give me wise advice about medication and an understanding of how to help Lee deal with his delusions. I began to enter into his Alzheimer’s world and help him move through his imaginary crisis with less fear, for both of us. The medications eventually controlled most of the terrifying delusions and paranoia. Praise the Lord.
Life today still has the future of Alzheimer’s and its ongoing decay. But my Heavenly Father has given me the gift of His peace and joy; just what my heart longed for. Lee is content and at peace most of the time. Whenever I think back to those chaotic times of despair, I thank the Lord that I went through the stormy days and did not drown.
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
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