If you read this blog often, you know that I don’t share a lot of personal information. No offense meant, I am just a relatively private person. This Christmas finds our family dealing with some issues that bring new significance to the holiday and cause me to tell you about some personal things we are facing.
Letha and I are blessed to have all four of our parents still living. We have recognized this as an incredible advantage. Our parents believe in us and pray for us more than anyone on earth. As our parents are aging (everyone around 80), they are dealing with the typical health situations that most people their age deal with. In particular, Letha’s mom, Mary is struggling. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
As the health of my mother-in-law fades, we are drawn into times of gratitude for her spiritual strength and depth, as well as times of sorrow for everything she and her family are experiencing. Letha’s father, Dave, is as strong as any man has ever been. He is holding up well considering the circumstances. Letha’s family is very involved and very supportive. But we all realize that the clock is ticking for Mary. This could very well be her last Christmas on earth. I suppose the same should be said of all of us, but we are keenly aware of her imminent situation.
This awareness creates lots of nostalgia. I am thinking about Christmases over the past 25 plus years that I have spent in this family. We are recalling all of the great family times at the holidays. Letha and I talk often about how her mom was a pillar in the family. This definitely will be a theme for Christmas 2008. This will be a challenging but treasured Christmas celebration.
Hopefully, we can grasp tightly and hold on to the memories that have been made and will be made this year. I am hoping for the usual joy in their home. I am asking God for a season of peace for them. The presence of love is not in question.
Without being morose, know that none of us are promised another Christmas, or another year of life. Perhaps the gravity of our situation can inspire you to grab hold to the treasure of family and love and memories. Make Christmas what it was originally intended to be: honor the Savior’s birth and celebrate the gift of spiritual life.
God is good and His mercy endures forever.
One Reply to “A personal Christmas”
Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us – I too have experienced a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and the truly devastating part of this disease is how it affects all members of the family. Allen’s Aunt Clara, especially toward the end of her life, didn’t know any of us and often times would great us like strangers. I have previously pondered the idea that perhaps, in some unusual kind way, this is by God’s design for this disease. All you can do is continue to love and pray for Letha’s mom, in her heart she will know all of you, even if on the surface you appear to be strangers. I will pray for Mary and for all of you as you proceed through these very difficult times ahead as Mary’s disease progresses. I too will pray for peace in this situation – God bless you all as you have both blessed us.