My grandma died of Alzheimer’s. My mom has memory issues. I won’t be surprised if she’s got it too. When I give myself time to think about it (which I try not to make too often) I am totally convinced that this too will be my lot in life. I am 39 years old and have struggled with my memory for at least a decade already. It’s scary when I sit down to the computer and can’t remember the name of a website that I frequent every day or when I have to turn around in the car 5 times in the same trip because I keep turning in the wrong direction. I can’t remember people’s names, movies I just watched, and conversations that have taken place. It’s terrifying.
Last weekend my parents were in town. For some reason (I can only figure it was her attempt to connect with me) my mom pointed out my grey hair. I hadn’t had time to color the roots and at 39 years old it’s a source of embarrassment for me. I have told my mom many many times that I don’t like her pointing it out, yet every time I see her she does. I immediately got defensive. It’s part of growing up with a critical mother. I was immediately irritated and forcefully said, “Mom, why do you do this every time I see you? You always point out my grey hair when I’ve told you I don’t like it.” She stammered through her response, “I think it’s great. You are going to have the beautiful white hair like your Grandma and Aunt Shirley.” I do hope for their beautiful hair but not for at least 20 more years. My mom walked off obviously shaken. I felt awful. I went over to her, gave her a hug, and said, “Mom, I’m sorry, I know you just forget.” With tears in her eyes, she said, “I’m sorry Alice, I do forget.”
Yesterday I had a thought. It was short-lived but was extremely powerful. What if God wants me to spend more time at home because my memory will be completely gone in the next ten years? I know that is being paranoid but I had just read about a son who lost his mother to early onset in her 50’s and sometimes I am an hypochondriac. Although I pushed the thought out of my mind as quickly as it came its affect lingered. What if I only had today as my last day with my kids? What if this was my last week? My last year? What would I change? A lot. Too much changing needs to take place, but I was able to view this little faith experiment called being “in love at home” with a new perspective as a gift to me and my family. Instead of being bitter, I got down on my knees and said thanks to my God and asked Him to make the changes faster. I pleaded, “Help me make the most of my time, and connect with my family.” It’s still a challenge. It’s not like it just gets simple when we are dealing with every day life, but my heart had a tiny change and I am grateful for it.
I learned last year that it’s a lot easier to be kind to the ones around us after a family member has died, but I am more determined to be kind and loving when it’s not as easy like when someone hurts my feelings for the 15th time.