My Dad would often joke that he didn’t have Alzheimer’s, he had “Halfheimer’s” because he could remember what he needed to about half the time. But truly, Alzheimer’s is no joking matter. Before my Mom died, the doctors said she’d probably had Alzheimer’s for over twenty years, and we never knew it because most of the symptoms of the Alzheimer’s we were attributing to her alcohol abuse.
One night when my ex-husband was bringing her home to our house from Richmond, she fell asleep in the car, and the headlights from a semi coming across a steep hill woke her up. She freaked out! She thought the semi was a UFO and that aliens had invaded taken Wade and replaced him with an alien in Wade’s body. (Actually, now that I think about it, that would explain a lot!) She tried to jump out of the car which was going 65 miles an hour at the time.
After her stroke on the operating table for appendicitis, we had to put Mom in a nursing home because with my sisters and I all working at the time, we knew she couldn’t be left alone during the day. They thought after she’d dried out from the alcohol, her mind would clear up, but it never did. When they did an x-ray of her brain, they said it had shriveled up to the size of a walnut.
Yet she could walk and talk as if there was nothing in the world wrong with her. She just didn’t know who we were or who she was for that matter. There was a dear sweet lady in the nursing home at the time who comforted me the day Mom died. She said she’d so envied Mom when she came into the nursing home because Mom could walk. This lady had lost her leg due to her illness, and was confined to a wheelchair. I told her she needn’t have envied her because she still had something Mom hadn’t for a long time: her right mind. She also had something else Mom didn’t: a relationship with the Lord.
The night before Mom’s stroke, Wade and I had tried to share Jesus with her. Normally Mom didn’t want to hear it at all. But that night she let me talk for a good while, and she seemed more lucid than she had in ages. But finally she shook her head, and said “Stop. Don’t say another word. I’ve said no to Jesus too many times. I don’t want to hear it any more.” A cold chill ran down my spine, and it was like I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me. “She’s right. It’s too late.” It was. The next day, the Mom I knew was gone. She walked around for three more years, she claimed doctors had raped her, the woman who’d always eaten like a bird was gobbling cookies and candy like an uncontrollable toddler, and she didn’t recognize me or my sisters as her daughters. She lived in her own fantasy world, but I don’t think it was a pleasant place to be.
Alzheimer’s took her mind over a long period of time, but I’m convinced her decision that night to reject the Holy Spirit’s drawing her that one last time sealed her fate. It is possible to say No to God one too many times. Please don’t do it! God bless.