Tuesday, March 06, 2007

In Issaquah

Issaquah is a suburb of Seattle. Like Wisconsin, Washington has many Indian names for streets and towns. What a beautiful place this is, with winding roads, tall pines and the snow-topped Cascade Mountains looming on the horizon.

The weather has turned unseasonably warm here. It was 70 degrees and sunny! Woo Hoo! Green grass and flowers are fabulous. Today I sat at a table in an outdoor hot dog place and soaked up the sun on my back, glad I was not at home where I hear it is snowing hard.

My sister started crying and laughing alternately last night when she saw me and rushed over to hug me. But today I realized that she does not really know who I am. I think she probably occasionally knows I am her sister but not my name, but at least she does seem to know there is love between us. She peeked around the bedroom door this morning with a bright smile and said, "Good morning, sweetie." Then she kissed me on the cheek and promptly started going through my suitcase and trying to put my shoes on over the top of hers. There is still a sweetness in her face at times, and light in her eyes. She is never at peace though, constantly tying and untying her shoes, taking off her clothes and struggling to get them on again, searching, trying desperately to converse with absolutely no sense to the words, looking for something, looking, looking, looking, pacing, doing the same small thing (like folding a towel) over and over, knitting her brows in frantic concentration--which helps not at all. It is a distressing thing to watch this once bright and engaging woman struggle constantly.

Tomorrow we have a nurse and caregiver from an adult family home coming over in the a.m. and someone from the Alzheimers Association in the afternoon. It is her 67th birthday, and so we are going out to eat.

I feel exhausted. It is emotional as well as a bit of jet lag, I'm sure. It was a difficult day. We are not getting closer to any clear plan...I pray it can happen before I return home. I do think I am a comfort to my brother in law, and in some way, to my sister too. But it is so hard to face the reality that his life together with her is essentially gone.

Below is a picture of the two of them in happier days. Well, as he says, "She pretty much has forgotten me, and soon she will forget God, but God will not forget her." Praise God for the hope of eternity. If this was the end--how can people bear that?

11 comments:

Alex said...

God love you. What a beautiful post. The last paragraph is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your precious sister with us.

Questing Parson said...

Some of life's most wonderful blessings are not always known to the blessed, such as the one of your being there for her and him and the sweet spirit you give to them and us.

P.S. an after-thought said...

Sad and sweet.

more cows than people said...

thank you.

Quotidian Grace said...

My 91 year old father-in-law suffers from senile dementia which produces the same loss of memory as Alzheimer's. This is a very comforting post. God bless you all.

HeyJules said...

Singing Owl, I don't know where you get your strength. Really - it has to be the hardest thing to watch something like that happen to someone you love so much. My prayers are with you and your family.

much2ponder said...

((((((((Pastor)))))))))Wish I could wrap my arms around you and just be with you to help you through this tough time. This post is so sad. Know that you are prayed for and you are loved. Lord I pray you continues to strengthen my sister and this will somehow bring glory to your name.

tali said...

thank you so much for sharing this.

i want to say i'm praying for you, but it seems . . . intrusive somehow.

instead i'll say that i am learning from how to pray for others.

Anonymous said...

My very dear Dorcas, I am praying for you and that you will have the joy of sweet memories of your sister and the ability to "see beyond" her illness so that you are not hurt by her forgetfulness. I pray that her husband will find the courage and faith to make the hard decisions concerning her and that you all will have peace in your heart about her care. One day it will all be made right. Praise God. Meanwhile, He comforts us and understands our pain. Praise God again. (((Dorcas))) love, Maureen

truth said...

You have such a lovely way of wording things and I enjoy reading about even the difficult places in life.

Jeni said...

It is, indeed, very, very sad, very difficult too, when one is losing another to senility and/or Altzheimers. Watching folks you love, who have been such intelligent, caring people, so important in one's life, just mentally disappear, is very hard to deal with. I've seen this with several close family members and now, my children, cousins and I are watching our surviving aunt slowly disappear to someplace known only in her mind. My thoughts/prayers and empathy are with you, as I know how much this hurts so many others too.