Mom has a friend at the assisted living home.  I’ll call her Delores.  Like mom, Delores may have advanced dementia but she still speaks in sentences and can carry on a fairly long conversation.  Both are able to read social clues and sometimes joke or roll their eyes together about the zany things that happen around them.  The two of them are good friends, sharing a genuine warmth and friendship.  Delores worries about mom and her broken ankle.  Mom is wheelchair bound (temporarily we think) and sleeping a lot more (even during the day.)  It’s not just the injury, but something is different for mom right now.  Delores notices the change and talks about it each time I visit.

Tonight I brought my United Methodist Hymnal with me and invited mom and Delores over to the piano.  Oh, how the old hymns perked them up.  Delores was able to request several that she wanted to hear.  Mom couldn’t come up with hymn names but could sing along with at least the first verse if not more of every hymn I played.  Both smiled and swayed and clapped at the end of each song.

Mom got tearful wishing my dad were there to sing with us.  Delores got sentimental and thanked me for bringing back old memories.

I asked Delores if she grew up going to church.  “My mother was Methodist, so you better believe we never missed church,” she smiled and shook her head as she remembered.  I felt a twinge of sadness.  I’m not sure that’s what it means to be Methodist for most families today.

But then I felt my heart warmed (yes, this is part of being Methodist still today) when I said to them both, “I hope you enjoy these old hymns.”

“I’m enjoying them because you are here with me,” Mom smiled and said to Delores.

Delores was touched and speechless so I chimed in, “And I couldn’t play them for you both if you (I looked at mom) hadn’t paid for all those piano lessons I took.”

Mom look confused, “I did that?”

“Yeah, Mom.  Thanks for making this possible.”

Then we sang, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer…”

Delores chimed in, “I don’t know what people do if they don’t know God.  How would you get through things?”

It’s hard sometimes knowing how to best support mom on this journey through her later years with dementia.  We second guess ourselves a lot.  We overthink even small decisions.  But tonight I am not second guessing anything.  I am filled with gratitude…. Grateful to know God (…even though I know I only am just beginning to know God and there’s much more to be discovered in this life and beyond.)  I’m grateful for Delores, who, like mom, is a transplant to this area and finds herself living among strangers who have become friends.  I’m grateful for the staff of Alpha House and all the other residents.  Who knew that even here, at this point in the journey, we’d be making new friends and growing closer to others and closer to God?

“Delores, I don’t know what people do if they don’t know God.  Let’s do all we can to be sure others meet God in us.  Ok?”  Yeah, Ok.

7 thoughts on ““What do people do…?”

  1. Kendra, I am just starting my day – Aaron’s lunch is made – I am reminding him to get up (again!) and I have opened the computer and read your blog post. What do people do if they don’t know God? Indeed…. sending you much love – you write so beautifully. Thank you. Deanna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharing & caring – isn’t that what it is all about? L O V E of God & neighbor. Keep on writing so we can benefit from your lessons. shearer

    Liked by 1 person

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