Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Going Home

It is very surreal to witness the aging process and to experience a role-reversal. My once sharp, orderly, practical, kind grandfather who always valued his independence, kept his home spic and span, maintained a blue-ribbon garden, and fished every chance he had has lost his memory to Alzheimer's and is now very confused, forgetful, sometimes discontent, but still sweet and kind. It's difficult to watch my Grandpa lose his memory and decline in awareness and it makes me sad that he's had to be removed from his home--the world he controlled--and placed in a care center. I know the move was necessary for his safety, and I've enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with him as he now lives closer, but it's painful to watch his mental faculties slip away. On my first visit to Grandpa, just days after he'd arrived at the care center--against his will--he repeated over and over again that be needed to get back home. He was pleasant in conversation and I think he enjoyed the company--although he had no idea who I was--but he was very homesick and lonely and it broke my heart. After numerous attempts to distract him and divert his attention with various topics of conversation, I had the impression that we should offer a prayer. I intended to say the prayer, but while I paused to collect my thoughts, Grandpa began to call upon the Lord in prayer. He couldn't tell you my name, what year it is, what year it is, or what he ate for breakfast, but he offered the most reverent, sacred, lucid, and heartfelt prayer my ears have ever heard. He thanked his Father in Heaven for His mindfulness and blessings, he prayed to understand his present circumstances, and he prayed to be able to go home with his eternal companion. I'm unsure whether the "home" he referenced was the physical dwelling he'd just left in Idaho or the heavenly resting place where Grandma awaits, but I silently added my prayers to his that he would be reunited with his sweetheart at home soon. Though his 93 year old mind is feeble, I felt the strength of his spirit and was overcome with emotion as he poured out his heart to the Lord. I'm so grateful to have had this sweet experience with my Grandpa and will always treasure the moment we shared together that day.

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