Friday, September 3, 2010

The Unsought Role of a Lifetime

Mary has been cast in a role she never aspired to play. At this stage of life, she had envisioned spending her time in many other ways, but the role was given to her anyway. It is not an easy role to accomplish. It requires much study and her full commitment of time and energy. The scenario changes often and she experiences frustration as she tries to figure out what is needed from her to work through each scenario change.

She is tired and would relish a few days to herself to just rest; but, there is precious little time for relaxation—even if she could get her body to relax under this stress. However, she chooses to give this role her all-out effort and to remain positive and upbeat as she goes about her assignment.

You may be wondering why on earth she continues in this role that demands so much of her. She is honoring a vow she made more than 65 years ago when she married. Like many people in this nation, she has taken on the role of “caregiver” to her spouse who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. She stays true to her promise to “love and honor” her husband in sickness as well as in health. She tries to help him to live each day to the fullest degree that he is able. For as long as she can manage, he will live at home with her and not in a care facility; however, this takes a great toll on her personal well-being. Many of the activities she would enjoy doing must go to the bottom of the list or fall by the wayside. With the demands of her role, she simply doesn’t have the time or energy to do them. She is lucky to get a few undisturbed minutes for her daily devotional reading.

Yet, in the midst of all this, she is inspired to use her God=given talent in writing poetry as He puts the thoughts into her head. Recently she wrote two poems that are especially meaningful for those who live with Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis. She has granted permission for me to share them here to edify those who are cast into a similar role in life. We hope you will be encouraged by these thoughts.
 This one is written from the viewpoint of the person who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.


I’m Still Me
(Joy’s Journey)

It creeps in slowly, as the fog on the shore,
Until—one day the “normal me” has changed.
Some THING seems to have stolen my brain
And all the neurons have been rearranged!

The “old me” is slowly ebbing away
And the words often come out wrong.
I cling to my humor, at least I try—
Maybe I could put my words into song!

 I try to accept this as a challenge
Or just another road with a bend.
I need your help, understanding, and love.
Most of all, I need you as a FRIEND!

I don’t realize that I really forget
And things often get “out of whack.”
I will make things up as truly real
And sometimes I’m really off track.

I need you to know that I’m really trying
And sometimes I simply just can’t!
Look for the few moments when I’m “me” again
And past the times that I “rave and rant.”

I refuse to get angry at this each day,
For I know that God is ever beside me.
He never promised me days always bright
But that He would never, ever leave me!

So walk with me through this grim journey.
Guide me gently along the rough spots.
Hold my hand, encourage, and love me,
For in this we can’t always “follow the dots.”

Mary Andresen © June 26, 2010

This one is written for caregivers.

Promotion

You have just received a promotion,
And it’s one you never expected.
You never wanted this to come your way,
But it seems you’re the one selected.

There are plenty of books and directions
To assist you as this journey you start;
But I think the best advice you will find
Is to simply “Listen to your own heart.”

You see, this involves a valued loved one
Who deserves nothing but the very best.
There will be trials and many frustrations
And days when you think you’ve failed the test.

Realize that confusion often reigns
And sometimes you simply cannot break through.
That’s when you push your ‘slow down’ button
And let gentleness and patience be a clue.

Never point out the things now done wrong—
Just slowly turn the attention elsewhere.
They already know they are very confused,
So love them and show how much you care.

At times this ‘new life’ will not be easy—
We were never promised only smooth roads.
But the Lord did promise to be with us
And to always carry part of our loads.

Have you figured out your new title?
It is only given to the very best!
Patience and love are the rewards,
So count yourself VERY TRULY BLEST!

Congratulations, you’re now a CAREGIVER!!!

Mary Andresen  ©August 3, 2010

To learn more about Alzheimer's disease, go to http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

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