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Happiness in the Past or in the Present

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.—PSALM 119:50 (NIV)

All in all, my mom is still pretty with it. We only saw hints of dementia at first, but as the months have passed, there are more and more challenges. Recently, she’s been convinced her childhood home is a bed and breakfast. She forgets that she can’t drive anymore and wants me to call the mechanic and schedule her car maintenance.

I used to remind her that she couldn’t drive any more and to say that I’d driven past Grandma’s home, and it definitely wasn’t a bed and breakfast. I’d follow the letter of the law—not lying to her—but she’d get really upset and sometimes even scared by the truth, which conflicted with her new and changing sense of reality.

I realized it was better not to challenge her memories or what she thought was going on, as long as those beliefs weren’t putting her in any danger. I’ve learned to say, “I don’t have the phone number with me” when she asks about the mechanic, and to murmur, “How nice” when she says she stayed at the bed and breakfast the night before. It doesn’t matter, in the end, if she’s living in the past or in the present, as long as she is happy wherever she is at the moment.

Father, help me remember that sometimes as caregivers, we need to adjust to the new realities of our loved ones and focus most on giving them joy and peace.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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