People have been praying … should I be surprised that God is at work?

It hit me today.

I have not expected things with Mom to get better. Except … ironically …  I’ve been praying that they would.

It has seemed the right thing to do … to pray for healing … for peace … for her last season on this earth to be well-lived … meaningful.

But that doesn’t happen with dementia, does it?  It just gets worse and worse.  That’s what everyone tells me; what I’ve seen. Especially dementia with Lewy Bodies.

Yet, I’ve prayed … and prayed, because … well, because I’ve felt that the Lord wants me to pray.  For the last three years, I’ve found myself repeatedly reading Psalm 103 and praying it over my family and others.  This started long before we even knew what Mom was going to be dealing with.

1Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all His benefits—
Who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Forget not all His benefits — who heals all your diseases .. who crowns you with love and compassion.

Over and over I’ve read these words … prayed them … sang them … written them into my journals.

I’ve hoped for healing … or at least for better days, but as I’ve already revealed, I haven’t expected it. It’s impossible … too impossible … maybe even arrogant to ask for such.  The doctors make it clear … there’s nothing you can do about dementia.

And yet …

And yet, we are experiencing remarkable days with Mom.

Is she healed?

No. Mom still suffers from dementia; there are up days and down days.  Yet, something is radically different.

I finally paid attention to what is around me … these words are written on the whiteboard in the dining room where Mom eats daily.

Today is the best example of what I mean.  It started yesterday when I realized that the activity for today at Mom’s care center was to bring a group to the restaurant in the town where I live … one of Mom’s past and frequent haunts.

Mom has had several consistent days this last week; days void of the extreme sleepiness that we’ve often seen grip her. I gambled on the fact that she would continue this pattern for another day or two.  “Would it be too late for Mom to join the group?” I left a message.

I received a call from an excited activities director this morning. “She’s alert and dressed … I think there’s a 70% chance that we’ll get her there.”

At 10:30 another call came. “She’s in the van.”

And so … just like that Mom came home for lunch.

I hoped … fingers crossed, prayers uttered … for days like this, but honestly, I’ve stopped expecting such things.

Eight months have disappeared since Mom’s has been home. Once I knew she was definitely on her way, it was a “kid on Christmas” kind of afternoon for me.  Every moment, another gift to open.

Friends quickly spotted her at the table. Gently, kindly, they approached, one by one.  Quick hugs, a  hand on a shoulder, a direct smile, sincere sentiments.

“It’s so good to see you.”

“I’ve missed you teasing me.”

“I needed to see your smile today.”

“You look good.”

“I am so, so glad you are here.”

She responded to each one … quietly … short on words … but the smiles came … and later that night she was able to tell Leon (who sadly missed this because of a doctor’s appointment) which of their friends had visited and some of what they said.

Her friends looked at me and I at them … smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes … I came close to a victory dance in the middle of the restaurant.

Today showed me that I have been in a very dark place. I have anguished and battled grief over her hardest days. Been burdened by the confusion and strange ideas that plague her from time to time. I have cried, wanting better for Mom, and sadly, had become convinced that fear, anxiety, and distance from her loved ones was all that is left of her journey on this side of eternity.

And now has come this season … a season of the Lord working through the prayers of HIs people.  In the last two weeks we have seen Mom up and interacting to at least a small degree, with others daily.  She goes outside more often with us, watches movies (at least in part), responds to people at her table in the dining room, GOES to the dining room (this is HUGE), and randomly picked a wedding dress out of a magazine that she thought our oldest daughter (who is getting married next year) would like.

All this from a woman who has mostly sat and stared into something none of the rest of us could see the last several months.

She even called me one day to apologize for a grumpy mood the day before.  I saw the caller ID and thought, “Oh no! What’s going wrong over there?”  Instead of a nurse, Mom began talking.  Among many things said in that rarest of conversations, she relayed how much she liked her new home and that she wanted to stay there.

I call that a miracle.

I call that amazing.

I call that good … because God is good and He likes to give His children deep  and rich, rich glimpses into His mercies … even when it’s not what I expected.

Sly, the cat in residence, had to take a time out in the office. He gets naughty about knocking things over in residents’ rooms; but on the other hand, has an amazing intuition for the right times to be gentle and to be present.

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