Forgotten But Not Gone
I know what you're thinking. I didn’t get the saying right. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to be. Those who have gone before, whether collectively as ones who gave their life for our country or personally as a loved one or friend, are no longer with us physically, but remain in our hearts and minds. They are gone yet not forgotten. But an extremely upsetting experience I had the other day made me think of the title to this post. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who has encountered this.
I had the privilege of visiting my Mom this week. She lives two hours from me so I stayed overnight at her place. She is ninety years old, is overall doing really well, and even has her own apartment in a retirement community. We have a gal check on her a few times a day as she is forgetful. More than that, she’s has dementia. We’ve known this for a long time and have seen it getting worse. A recent interaction with her made her diagnosis so much more real.
We were having dinner together and my Mom began to pose a series questions like where was my husband, why didn’t he come with me, how far did I come to see her… I answered each of them. Then she asked if I would be staying in the area. I told her I was staying with her. She seemed surprised. She then inquired as to how I knew she would be there and did I know who brought her to the restaurant. I explained things as best I could. She’d eat a little more then run through the same basic questions again. To say it was upsetting would be an understatement. I was on the verge of tears.
I finally realized my best way of handling the situation was to try to change the conversation. Thankfully it worked. I don’t remember what I said, but we were on to a new topic. My Mom mentioned something about how well her kids take care of her, then looked me straight in the eye and said, “Oh, you’re my daughter!” I was devastated. It was only by God’s grace that I didn’t burst into tears. Suddenly, all the questions she had been asking made sense: she didn’t know who I was. It was the first time anything like this has ever happened. Sadly, I doubt it will be the last.
I was sitting right in front of my Mommy but she didn’t know me. I was forgotten but not gone. So many people are dealing with the same thing. And it’s heartbreaking. But I’m gaining comfort in the truths proclaimed in Revelation 21:3-5. Maybe you can too:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (NIV)
I am longing for the day when all tears and pain will be gone. Until then, I’m relying on the grace and mercy of my precious Lord to walk through the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Something new and devastating I’m trusting God with along the way.