When Your Mom Has Alzheimer’s

Five years ago my mom was diagnosed with memory loss that pointed to the beginning of Alzheimer’s. The doctor started her on medicine to slow its progression and gave us advice. This disease has no cure even though research is improving the lives of those diagnosed with it. There is not even a definitive diagnosis. My mom is now suffering from severe memory loss and the ability to function on a daily basis without constant care and attention. She still recognizes her children and grandchildren and even her closest lifelong friends. I know this will continue to change for I have seen the pattern of this terrible disease and the way it slowly shuts down vibrant, wonderful lives of people I have loved.

I often ask God to show me His will in all of this, to heal my mom and help us cope with this daily loss of our mom and my dad’s wife of 63 years. I even argue with God and have even been angry with our Creator for allowing this disease in our lives; and I have asked God to take my mom onto Heaven now rather than let her continue to suffer. God has responded with some answers, much grace and strength. Alzheimer’s has taught me to value every day and every memory and to realize life is still a mystery. I know my mom still loves us and I have even witnessed her grief of knowing she is loosing control and the power to remember.

So I will seek to remember and be thankful for her and all that God has given me through her. I wrote this message to my church this week as we celebrate Mother’s Day and thank God for ALL the women who have nurtured and loved us along our life journeys.

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Greetings Church Family,As we move toward Mothers Day, I am thinking of my mom and how much she loved her three sons. I am who I am today because of the love, sacrifices, encouragement and discipline that my parents gave me. They invested in our lives their time and resources. On Saturdays, they were at my ball games cheering me on even in the summer heat. On Sunday mornings, they got us ready for church, took us to Sunday School and taught us by example that prayer, service and generous giving was the way of Christ-followers.I can still see my mom at the organ playing the hymns and singing along with the choir. She loved hymns and passed this love for church music onto me. I often went with her to weddings, funerals and Sunday night worship. I would sit right behind her in the choir loft where I would watch the services. Little did I know that our Lord was using these times to shape my call to ministry and grow in me a love for preaching the Word and leading worship.She said she knew God had called me to His work when I was very young. She saw it in my sensitivity for children, my concern for the poor and my zeal for Bible study and sharing my faith. When I decided to stay in Georgia and be a pastor here, she grieved that I would not be closer to her. Yet she and dad swallowed hard and said they supported my decision. Several years ago she sat in the sanctuary at Snellville UMC where I was the preacher. I looked at her and she was smiling with pure joy as she observed the church full of people singing the praise of God. It would be the last time that she heard me preach.This Sunday will be a day of mixed emotions for me. I will miss my mom and wish she was here with me playing the organ and hearing her son preach. Yet I will also be full of joy for another reason. This Sunday my son, her grandson, will be commissioned as the new Youth Minister at St. James UMC in Athens, Georgia. She would be so proud and pleased. God is good…and his mercy endures from generation to generation. (Psalm 103: 17)

Pastor Richard

Sugar Hill United Methodist Church: Passion for Christ. Compassion for People.”

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