It’s finally starting to look like Spring in these parts, after a fairly strange Winter. In a few weeks my parents will be coming North for the last time. My father has dementia, and while he can still make decisions, they have agreed that they need to be near family to help out and keep an eye on them. I’m glad I won’t have to make sudden unplanned trips to Florida as my father did with his mother, but I wish their return were under better circumstances.
It’s hard to know how to pray exactly about this. My father has stated very clearly that he doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I suspect that as a child of the Depression, this thought was firmly impressed upon him. I see standing watch for a few hours to spell my mother as an act of love, not a burden, but I can see his point of view. He’s already a “burden,” and he hates it, but there’s nothing any of us can do.
He can’t be left alone for long periods of time as he may forget to turn something off, or leave something valuable about. But he can tell you all about his childhood dog, and how she loved to play. He can tell me that the sun is shining, and that he had a doctor’s appointment that day. But he can’t locate financial statements to complete his taxes.
He’s become sadder as a result. The world looks more grim and depressing, and I can hear it in his voice. No more opportunities, worse, no sense of hope. My heart aches.
So, how do you pray? That he is healed of dementia? I haven’t heard of that happening to anyone, and to some extent, it seems to be part of the process of aging. The days of a man are three-score and ten, and then only with much trouble. Do I pray that the progress halts or at least slows? Yes. Dignity and comfort, and strength, too. I seem to pray a lot for strength for various people these days.
O MERCIFUL God, and heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men; Look with pity, we beseech thee, upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy; endue his soul with patience; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.