It’s been almost a year from the first time I’ve realized that my older sister is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I was not able to process the reality of seeing her lose her memories, at first, as the disease progresses. After many times absorbing and researching about the disease, I came to terms and found myself able to accept the fact that my sister’s brain and mind will succumb to the sad effects of this devastating prognosis.
Being distance apart from her, it is much easier to deal with the ongoing situations that surrounds my sister’s daily trials accompanied with having Dementia. It gave me a lot to think about. The business of life is the acquisition of memories. I surely have quite a few with her. A lifetime ago, at an early age, she was like my second mother, who was tasked to take care of a brood of four siblings. I was the youngest, so I did not have a say but have the most memories that I occasionally shared with her in the past when it called for it; and can be shared with her especially now. So in my every phone conversation with her, which have been quite a few nowadays, I encouraged her to reminisce with me about her past. I let her do the most talking as I’ve learned that it would be good for the state of her mind.
I’ve learned as well, that there are days that she was incoherent. Her mood changes. She gets very sad and emotional. The sad part though, is she was always in a depressing state of mind ever since I can remember of her. I’ve never seen her truly happy and content in life. There were days in the distant past that she was indifferent and self absorbed, had a lack of compassion which can be as vulgar as an excess of tears to put it mildly. She was in her small, little world of loneliness and it carried through to this day. Sadly, it is what she divulges to me now. No one talks to her. She said she doesn’t have anyone to talk to.
I feel compassion toward her. She always has a soft spot in my heart. Even when she was quite distant in her relationship with me and indifferent, I left things slide. There were months, we did not communicate or see each other which could be because we were just so busy dealing with life.
The twist of faith is that she is on a different stage of her life now that she’s recognizing that her memory is slipping away. When she calls me, she shares the same story over and over again. Patience is a virtue and I’ve exercised it everytime we converse on the phone. I’ve tried to entertain her. I’ve encouraged her to be around people, talk to them. She will be gung ho with the idea, then turn around and forget about it. I encouraged her to start reading books to help her memory, maybe start learning the internet. She sounded encouraged but goes back to not remembering what I’ve said and back to what she is familiar with: loneliness. She gets gossipy about her daughter in law and losing things. Thank goodness, this has been far between lately as she is now concentrated with the memory of a past love. She shared it with me with so much enthusiasm that she spoke with this person on skype on Christmas Day; and who she had been carrying a torch for, for the longest time!
I don’t know how many million times we reminisce this time of her life in my lifetime. I encouraged her because it means so much to her. Especially now, in her condition, she needs an uplift. Because of this experience of having a skype conversation with this person occupying her mind most of her life, she again was coherent. She speaks very clear. She even wanted to see this person and wanted me to accompany her. She seems back to normal. She was so astounded that I remember their times together because I was there. She could not believe I remember those days even though I was probably nine or ten years old. She said I helped her remember and she was so ecstatic! That’s the focus of her memories right now.
Through all of this, there was something in my mind that concerns me. Her eternal salvation. I’ve been praying to God to influence our conversations with His Word. The impossibility with possibility for nothing is impossible to God. God is listening I know. He doesn’t want my sister to perish but to find her salvation in Christ. With our many conversations my sister and I have had, there is the Silent Voice of the Holy Spirit leading and preparing my heart to open up about Jesus’ offer of eternal life in heaven. Share God’s plan and Good News! In my alone time with God, I asked God to bring someone to my sister’s life that would share the Good News better than me; that has the Godly ability to place it in my sister’s heart! Please, please God, I want to see my sister in heaven! Please, please God, in Jesus name!
The other night when my sister told me the uplifting experience she had with skype’s one on one with this unforgettable person, that brought joy and sadness in her life, and subsequently led us to reminisce her past with this man; I started speaking to her about how God influences our paths in life. And she said she believed it. I told her that things happened to us for a reason and God’s hand is on it every step of the way. The cue came when she asked me about my husband’s faith. And the Holy Spirit took over! She listened thoroughly when I shared with her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I told her at the end of sharing the Good News with her, that before she goes to sleep that she gives her heart to Jesus that night.
Whether she did it or not, it is now in God’s hand. I prayed to God that He influences my sister’s mind and embed the Good News of His eternal Gift in my sister’s heart and mind so she can spend her eternal life in heaven. Nothing is impossible to God when you pray whole heartedly about another person. God is Faithful! That night, my sister and I talked for about 5 hours! Centered on her! I told her God is willing to talk to her through Jesus Christ, that she is not alone!
That night, I was so exhausted! Looking back, all my spirit juices poured into it. The Holy Spirit’s spring of water flowing into my being interconnected with my sister’s heart and mind.
“God not only has a general purpose for each of us, but He also has a specific plan for each of our lives. God knows all about you, and He has a plan for you. That’s why you can pray and seek God’s will when you face decisions, and it is why you can know God is with you every moment of the day.” Billy Graham
When my sister called yesterday, she was still on the subject of that old past love. For an hour, she was over and over again telling me about him, which I’ve heard so many times before. I told her we will need to cut it short as I was lacking sleep and I was just so tired. I needed a break! I went to bed early last night. After introducing kindness to the equation of conversing with my sister, my mind is ready to hibernate. Before I hit the sack, I prayed especially for my sister.