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Remembering the most important thing

In our life journey, we never know what we are going to encounter.

Back in 2009, I was asked by a dear friend of mine who was terminal with heart disease if I would take care of her husband who had early signs of dementia. I agreed to do so.

Previous to this, I had never been around anyone who suffered from this cruel disease that steals reality from its victims. But after eight years of caring for this man, whom I consider to be a part of our family, I have experienced the changes that happen. I will share some of them.

One of the most common signs is memory loss, forgetting recently learned information or asking for the same information over and over. Another is failure completing familiar tasks at home such as getting dressed without being distracted by other things and forgetting to complete the job without assistance from others.

Here’s a big one, misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to find them. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing as the answer to the loss.                                  

When it comes to eating, it has to be monitored, as they will eat until they make themselves sick and, after vomiting, will repeat the cycle. Scheduling meals is a must.

One of the last tastes to go is sweets and my friend loves sweets ... and so do I.

As the disease progresses, it often changes the mood and personality of its victims. When my friend is out of his comfort zone, he becomes confused or anxious and begins to look for the door to go home.

He and I have a father-and-son relationship, only I am the dad and he is the son, even though he is 20 years older than me.

But he is such a pleasure in my life and appreciates anything that is done for him. He really doesn’t plan to frustrate any of us, although he still does. I have found that if I keep things in a routine he does so much better.

This man can quote scripture and loves to tell others about our Lord. If you ever encounter him you will know him by this statement: “Have a beautiful day in Jesus.”

First Corinthians 2:9 states, “That is what is meant by the scriptures which say that no mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord.”

So here is a soul who may have suffered loss of reality, not knowing what day it is or what season we are in or what year it is, but he never forgets his savior.

I’m so glad for that. Aren’t you?

Eric Hopkins is an associate minister of Growing Branches For Christ Ministries and wrote this article as a member of the Fayette County Ministerial Association.