When my daughter was about three years old, one of her fav books was entitled ‘There’s a Monster Eating my House’. It was the story of a monster that was eating porches and cellars. It has to be taught to change it’s diet. One night we were at church for early prayer time. We had knelt down to pray and per usual, it all began quite quietly. Suddenly, rupturing the reverent moment, my sweet little girl travailed loudly, “Oh Lord! There is a monster eating my house!!” That moment in time stands out as one of the most comical church moments ever. Suffice to say, prayer meeting wrapped up immediately as laughter fractured the reverence. She was as sincere as she could be and continued to prayer, asking the Lord for HIS help during this terrible time.
Yesterday as I prayed, I found myself praying, “Oh, Lord, there is a monster eating my life!” and was reminded of that long ago moment. This hideous, insidious monster is taking chunks of me that I can never recover. It sucks out my memories, sometimes just bits of a whole conversation but other times the entire conversation is snatched from me. Some days the monster is voracious and other days it is just feeling a little peckish. There are nights, it violates my sleep with horrible memories in the form of nightmares. It hungers for all of my peace and joy. I am begging God for clarity to explain this journey to you and for editing skills like never before. Anyone who knows anyone should understand what Alzheimer’s does to their loved one. Plenty of caregivers can give their stories but not too many patients can still express themselves well enough to tell theirs. I pray I can still continue to share with you as I walk it out.
My prayer closet has always been just a private place for conversation between God and me. I don’t have a secret room, never felt the need for one. I could find intimacy or go to war wherever I was at any given moment. It was instantaneous, requiring no prep, no motivation. HE is my LORD and the time I spent with HIM was precious and real no matter the location. The days I hate the most now, are when I feel I cannot get through. Remember party lines? Yeah, I am that old. I feel as though I am praying on a party line with all my neighbors picking up the line and talking over me. I crave the tender privacy with HIM but can no longer find it on most days and nights. I continue to fight and struggle to find those precious gems whenever I am able. Please do not take your prayer life for granted. Cleave to HIS presence and remain as long as you can in communion with your Savior.
Most days, reading my Bible is frustrating. If I don’t have clarity, I get easily, quickly annoyed. It is like vinegar being rubbed into an open wound. It hurts! It burns my eyes and cheeks with rivers of tears and breaks my heart open to not understand what I read and when I do understand and am blessed, it is short lived. I do not retain HIS precious Word and it leaves me in a state of longing for more every day. I must rely on scriptures I have memorized through the years. Please spend time with God in HIS Word. God forbid, the day comes when you will have to depend on what you read while you were yet young. Those early moments may be what you have left to cling to so please do not waste them.
This monster is eating away at names and faces in my mind. It is stealing the love and affection I felt for those same folks. My family tells me that I know them, that I have met with them many times, but there remains no recognition. I have learned to smile and nod as a matter of good manners my whole life, so maybe no one notices the lack I am feeling when I talk to them. There are some whom I feel I have not seen for months and my heart lights up only to find out I spent time with them three days ago. It hurts, but I am trying to not let bitterness creep in as that will destroy more than the monster ever will.
Special days come and go without participation. Birthdays have wracked up and I am caught in a time warp with the years. Lost in a spacial void. most days I can live with the lack of knowledge, recognition, and participation by simply sleeping. I am tired so very much of the time. Other days I long to go out and do things with folks I know and love, but then worry, I will have a meltdown or embarrass them with my stupidity. The one thing the monster has taught me is that there are days when I am thoroughly stupid.
I have notes on my phone to remind me of certain things to not discuss because it makes my lack so obvious that I fear no one will spend time with me. I read them every morning but still say something completely stupid and then suffer through the corrections and explanation to others of what I meant or should have meant. I am not capable most days of intelligent, ongoing conversation, as I must stop and ask stupid questions for things I have known the answers to for years.
And it is stealing my words. I love our language. I used to read voraciously and always kept a dictionary handy. When my children were young and asked me what a word meant, I never told them. I made them look it up as they were more likely to retain it by reading the definition. They all have fantastic vocabs. Some days I have to search for the simplest of words, yet cannot find the word for the long orange root vegetable. I must go back and edit my blogs every day before trying to wrap them up in a final paragraph and sometimes it is hard to know what I even meant and must delete entire sentences and paragraphs. I recently started a diary-like blog and it is so hard to leave it alone and not go back and edit the bad days.
When my husband sits down to relax for the evening, the monster steals all the things I want to chat with him about. When we kiss goodnight, the monster brings nightmares that distorts our relationship, trying to skewer the deep, passionate love I feel for him. The beast plants ideas in my head and heart during the night and I wake up and shake them for a moment, but when I return to sleep it comes right back. It tries to change how I feel about things in general, how I view life. How long before I do not recognize it for what it is and it wins?
This monster, unlike the one in the children’s storybook cannot be retaught. It continues to march through my life, devouring whatever it desires, depending on it’s appetite for the day or night. It cannot be stopped, detoured, or directionally challenged. It cannot be marginalized or thrown into reverse. It continues at will 24/7.
Oh Lord, there is a monster eating my life and I need the weapons to kill it. I would surely choke it out with my bare hands if I could. Please help me to continue to fight when no one is looking. To beat it back for days of clarity, joy in my family, and peace with You! Please give me a private line for communion with You and time in the Word to continue to grow in You all the days of my life! My heart breaks for more time. More prayer. More Word. More memories.
As always, please feel free to copy this link and share wherever you like. Thank you.