What Is….IS!

One fine day in April, at the cusp of Spring, my husband and I journeyed to the Memory Center for the diagnosis. I remember the small room in which I sat, the painting on the wall. The casual furniture…waiting. Then the doctor came in with a somber face. He began talking. I didn’t focus too well, until I heard him say, Lew Body Dementia and these words, “Your husband will never be better, he will only grow worse.”Worse? How could it be worse? The forgetting, the continual reminders of what day it was, what we were planning to do, the need to leave notes to tell him where I was and when I would be back home.I tell time by the ‘is’ method, and now I had to be more accurate. I could no longer idly wander into a store just looking. Time was limited.When I read the stages of Lewy Body Dementia, I learned he was in the middle stage – Moderate. It was not Severe yet. What was Severe – what would it look like? From Care.com, and the book (The 36-Hour Day – Mace/Rabins) my thoughtful daughter sent me, I learned that my time away from home would soon be limited. As limited as my dear husband’s ability to cope became less.Learning and researching gave me confidence. Now I knew why my husband gave me the check book and asked me to do the taxes. (One of our dear children gave me the option to have the taxes done through his place of business – what a help.) Then the decisions….endless decisions. When I asked my dear husband a question, I learned he had no answers anymore.What would we do? How would we cope? Then at the age of 83, how much longer could I physically care for my husband to the extent he would need in the near future?I went through a period of mourning for What Is and then suddenly I drew strength from faith. I remembered all of Mom’s determination and care for my Dad. Uncomplainingly she cleared the house of 48 years of treasures, invited the three of us to claim those treasures to take home. She left her husband buried east of the small town, her beloved church family and friends of a lifetime to transplant herself into a new rented home and church family.Energy flowed through me as we determined to move closer to one of our children. Then the decisions were made, one by one. And our children, our blessed children encouraged, and gave of their time and energy and wisdom to support us in our new life. Such a wonderful family, my heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving as I remember each kindness they have given us as we grow older. They understand and follow the verse…”Honor your father and mother….”Soon I thought, “What Is….IS!” I learned when Mom lived with us for her last days a very important lesson after rebelling and resenting the extra work and being confined. I learned to accept what is. I remember that walk, talking to the Lord, and looking up to the sky, “OK, Lord, if that is what you want me to do, I will do it!” Peace flooded my soul and two weeks later Mom was released from her bondage of pain.Now I ask God, “What are you trying to teach me?” For he chastens those He loves so that we will be ready to live with Him. That changes things, like my attitude. That is the beginning. The attitude. An attitude of thanksgiving and praise. It is big that God trusts me to care for one of His Creations – my husband.How can I glorify God in caring for my husband during his time with dementia? Oh my, so many ways to glorify God. Praising Him is first. Accepting What Is with What IS. Being patient. Thinking before I speak. Remembering sixty years of marriage – happy years – soon to be sixty-one.Then there is laughter. Bubbling from deep in our relationship. Laughter, teasing each other is still there. Although we cannot always share the deep conversations – we still share laughter. Laughter chases away the ‘what if’’s’ and the ‘what might be’ and makes the future seem not so scary. Day by day, moment by moment, I treasure the laughter and the deep joy it gives me. Yes, I know he might forget who I am, yet through laughter we can still reach out to each other.There are different ways to look at life. Losing faith or trust in the Creator of the Universe; weeping or finding joy in little things; blaming others for What Is or using What Is to glorify God.That is known as a living adventure – Trust, Finding Joy, and Glorify God for what is.What are the steps for accepting What Is?• Take a deep breath • Research the What Is • Search for options on actions • Find a trusted prayer partner • Focus on finding laughter and sharing • Praising God for His Goodness.And remember each day that – What Is…IS of God!

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