As a teenager, my mom and her family moved to California for her last two years of high school. She loved it there and always told me stories. She talked about the warm weather, long days at the beach and school dances she had attended.
Most of her free time was spent at the beach with friends. In those days, local bands would show up at the beach and play. It was nothing formal. They would sing a few songs, mingle with everyone then play some more. One of those bands was the up and coming Beach Boys. She talked about how she was friends with them and how nice they were.
Occasionally she would pull out her yearbook and point out classmates who had gone on to become television and movie stars.
About ten years ago, my sister and I took mom back to California. She took us to restaurants and other places she had frequented as a teenager and showed us where scenes from certain movies were filmed. She knew this because she had been to these places and recognized them from the movie.
Today, my mom still talks about those days, but the Alzheimer’s has distorted those memories. She forgets pieces of each story so she strings together the parts she does remember. Once she told me that Elvis had given her a CD as a gift. I started to tell her that is not possible since CDs were not around until after his death, but I decided not to. These are her memories and even though she cannot completely remember them, she has earned the right to tell them like she wants to.
When my mom was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was overwhelmed and questioned why this had to happen to a wonderful woman in her early sixties. God reminded me of Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
How can this disease possibly work for good?
The Alzheimer’s is slowly stripping away my mom’s memories and knowledge of people in her life today. But one thing she has never forgotten is God’s love for her. She attends church every week and sings with great joy and love for the Lord. She lifts her hands up as she sings with her eyes closed and her face radiating with the love of God.
That love shines through her all of the time. If you were to meet my mom, she would greet you with a huge smile on her face and embrace you in a hug and give you a kiss. She greets everyone like this, including strangers. This joy she carries is contagious. She has turned many frowns upside down and been told by many people that she has been a blessing to them that day.
You know that difficult situation you are facing today? Remember that God works for the good of those who love him. Embrace this time and look for the good that God brought out of it.