Have you ever been doing about 80 mph on one of our Texas highways, legally on some stretches of road, and suddenly, you have to bring your vehicle to a standstill? I don’t drive anymore, but as a passenger? I slam both feet to the floorboard, hit the front of the dash with my palms and push with all the strength I have. I reckon I’m trying to help the driver avoid the accident in front of us. It’s instinct. You hit the brakes whether your driving or not. You have to stop the ride to prevent what might have happened.
Yesterday was one of those days when I felt something horrible coming. I was hitting the brakes with everything I had, but not stopping. Then it was happening. I was still hitting the brakes, but could not stop it, and that’s all I remember of the first half of the day. It was the absolute worst moments, hours, I have experienced so far. I want to share it with you, if that’s okay. If this journey can help one other person feel less alone, or help one person understand what someone they love is going through, then to God be the glory for giving me a voice.
We were having a Family and Friends day at church yesterday. After church, we were having a carry-in (potluck) dinner. I cannot do recipes anymore. The measurements confuse me and the ingredients get all messed up in my head and it turns out a disastrous, inedible dish. I love to cook and experiment with new dishes so this has been a great loss to me. I new whatever I prepared for the potluck would have to be super simple and something I new pretty much without thinking. I decided on cocktail bbq meatballs and deviled eggs. It felt like spring-time picnic food and in my mind at the time? Easy peasy.
The bbq sauce took some work to get it right, and 3 attempts on deviled eggs. I was frustrated and felt confusion all around me. I started fighting for me, to maintain focus and create a decent dish or two. I remember showing my hubby which dishes to put in the car, getting to our church, and then….
Throughout the evening before and that morning, I could feel things shifting, changing, but could not describe, could not get the words to explain. That’s when I first knew something was happening but didn’t know what to do or how to react. On the way to church, I kept trying to stop it, but couldn’t speak the words, or ask for help. By the time we took our seats, I was beginning to lose sensation, thoughts, recognition, until everything was fading into total chaos in my mind. I had tried to hit the brakes to slow my ride but nothing happened. I was in the midst of a terrible crash and the my world, as I know it, was completely out of my control. I remember the taste of fear, the smell of fear, the feel of fear and that’s all. It was as if everything I knew was gone. I was alone. That was all I could experience.
At some point, I knew I was sitting at a table with my granddaughter and realized my Pastor was sitting across from me and he was talking to me. I knew him, I knew his voice, I knew I trusted him, and slowly, I returned to the me I know. My husband came with a plate of food and we sat and talked and laughed and all was well.
I am assuming the Alheimer’s snatched me for a few hours. I had been told this would happen. I though it would be like taking a nap. I thought it would feel like a dream, or that I would not know it was happening at all. But I knew it was coming, I knew it was happening and no mater how hard I pushed back, I could not stop it.
Last night after our kids and grands left to go to their homes, I sat in my husband’s arms and sobbed. I was afraid I had embarrassed him because on the inside I was running and screaming and fighting. He said he didn’t think anyone else would have known what was happening but my family. He assured me I had held it together on the outside. He talked to me about his love for me and how nothing can or will ever change that love. It was sweet and perfect and reassuring. I don’t want this thing. I don’t want it for him or my kids and grands. I want to live out our retirement years together, loving and living every moment. All I could think is what I don’t want and what I do want.
During the night, God reminded of the story of the blind man in the Bible. Everyone assumed either he or his parents must have sinned because he was blind. Jesus told them the man was blind because God was about to get some glory.
I begin to think about yesterday in a different light. God had helped me fix my dishes for the potluck. HE had helped me keep it together through the service. HE sent me Pastor to me just to talk and sit with me which gave me peace. He got me home and back to my place of safety. He sent me children to make a beautiful homemade dinner and they brought the most beautiful birthday cake I have ever seen. Then to close out my day, he settled me in the loving arms of my beloved to soothe my heart and finish the day. God did all of that because HE loves me and knows I will give HIM the glory.
I think the realness of it all is sinking in and I know that I know, Jesus is with me.