The Visitation

March 16, 2017
by Rosemary Hagedorn

The symptoms of vascular dementia include memory loss, confusion, and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, or language that are serious enough to interfere with daily life. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain, usually from a stroke or series of strokes. While the strokes may be unnoticeably small, the damage can add up over time. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.

A few years ago, my husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia after he suffered a stroke during surgery on the carotid artery. He has good days and sometimes not-so-good days. He has problems with calendar days and time. Sometimes, a name or word that he can clearly see in his mind can't come out of his mouth. When that happens, I usually say that I will google it, so it doesn't become too frustrating for both of us. His long-term memory is good; it's the short-term memory that he sometimes has problems with. Otherwise, things are good, by the grace of God.

Just recently, my husband and I visited his brother and one of our dear friends with this debilitating disease. Our friend was tied into a recliner, due to uncontrolled outbursts and wandering. He was sitting in front of the nurse's station, since he is in a much better mood amongst the hustle and bustle of nurses, doctors, and visitors passing by than being alone in his room. He didn't recognize us. At one point, he thought that I was his wife because he said, "Let's go home," as he was looking at me. When I think back a few years, how different things were. He was a strong, robust man, who is dwindling down to a frail individual, not knowing where or who he is because of this disease.

We look at the outside of the person, but God sees what is inside.

Psalm 139:1-2,7-10 – O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. (NASB)

Are you a caretaker for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, and find yourself frustrated, angry, or feeling sorry for yourself? Remember, God created each and every one of us. Don't despair; He is walking beside our loved ones in Christ, until the time that He decides to call them home to a place where they will be whole again.

Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. (NASB)

Prayer: Almighty and loving God, we thank You that You are with us even though we do not see it. We thank You for providing nursing homes, assisted living places, palliative care units, doctors, nurses, and personal support workers to help us when our loved ones contract debilitating diseases. We ask You to guide and grant knowledge to the researchers, that they may come up with a cure. Grant the caretakers patience and strength. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Rosemary Hagedorn <rosyhagedorn@gmail.com>

Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for sharing.


    Good reminder Rosemary.


    Thank you, and Amen.
    Blessings.


    This brings to mind the words of a song that has blessed me so often:
    “And when I cannot see I’ll trust, and then I KNOW You surely must be still my ALL IN ALL.”
    Thank you Rosy.


    How lovingly you craft the portrait of a caregiver; when God is part of the scene, the burden lightens.
    Also enjoyed your snippet in “Woman’s World” about your mother and the hotdog.


    Good Morning, Rosemary: Thank you for this very important, personal sharing. What courage it all takes! in a daily, ongoing way. I thank God that you two know His presence so clearly, and His love.
    May He bless you in many ways.


    Rosemary,
    Thanks for this sharing/writing. Eventually, we’ll either know of people in this situation, or be in it ourselves!
    Blessings,
    (CA)


    Oh Rosie, I’m praying for you and your husband, his friend, too. Dementia is such a hard disease for those afflicted and their families. My dear departed brother’s mind went well before his body so I can sympathize with your own situation. He’s with the Lord now. So grateful he’s out of pain with his mind restored. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Thanks for a good word today Rosy. I have dealt with many, many people affected by this break down within the mind and the verses you quoted have often carried me through when despair threatened as l watched their helplessness and decline. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings.


    Dear Rosemary:
    May God bless you for writing this very important devotional. One of my prayers each day is the same as yours. My Mom passed away from this dreadful disease. I pray the Lord will give you strength and courage and patience and peace.


    Really enjoyed your devotion this morning Rosemary. I find that I need much encouragement as we deal with so many folks who are suffering from this. I honestly believe this is tougher than dealing with Cancers. So thanks for the encouragement. And the reminder that when it is their time they will be made whole again. Praise the Lord!


    Hi Rosemary,
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. The reminder that God see’s the heart and dwells within us is a very comforting promise indeed. May God grant you strength and peace as you and your husband travel the road of life together.
    Blessings.


    Rosemary: Such a beautiful devotional this morning. So many are “dealing with” dementia in its many forms: whether living with it themselves, or supporting someone who is living with it, or supporting a supported. We need to love them all! Thank you for bringing this up this morning, and for providing such a comforting and profound biblical reminder of how to deal with it all.
    Blessings.


    Rosemary
    That devotional was a hard one for me to read!
    However, we don’t have a choice in the times we have left on this earth. We just make the best of it all—hard as it may be.
    May God be with us in all the time we have left. Even though we don’t like it, God must have a plan — for God is good.


    Thank you for your meditation today Rosy. It came on the day that I am going in to see my Mom.
    You described exactly what is happening with my Mom and the message gives me courage, peace and comfort. Even though I know that God is with her and me every day, it is great to be reminded by someone else that you are not alone in the problem and not to give up hope. My Mom has a long and reasonably good life. She lives in a wonderful facility. At times she still has a good sense of humour. She doesn’t know me or the time or date but she does appreciate the “nice lady” that comes to visit with her. The funny thing is I’ve tried all my life to be a “lady” in Mom’s eyes and now she thinks I am and she doesn’t know who I am.
    Thank you again for your meditation.


    Thank you, Rosemary. My thoughts are with you, as I understand how difficult it must be for you as a partner/caregiver; and for your husband who knows his brain is not functioning well.
    My mother suffered with this insidious disease for the last several years of her life. Music is the only thing we learn that we retain on both sides of our brain…..everything else is retained on either right or left brain. That’s why people with various conditions affecting the brain are able to respond to music. It was literally a “Godsend” in my mother’s case, for although she no longer could read music, it was there, so when she was in the care home, each Sunday she was still able to play the organ for the hymns. The minister would just tell her what hymn they were going to sing and she could play it.
    May you have God’s guidance, and the love, understanding and support of good friends, family and the health care community as you and your husband live with the effects of this disease.


    Dear Rosemary,
    I enjoy your writings for the Daily Devotional. Today’s really hit home for me. My mother is 99 and in a nursing home. All her life she was a strong energetic woman who looked after many people, especially the mentally challenged. She now has dementia. It is so hard to see this once vibrant woman sitting in a wheelchair and not able to do anything for herself. I do thank God for her long life and the wonderful care the nursing home provides for her. I know she will not get better and I thank you for addressing this awful disease. When God decides to take her I know she will be whole again in heaven.
    Blessing to you and your husband.


    I sent this devotional on to someone whose mother went into a nursing home recently. He found it very comforting. Thank you.


    I have read many of the devotionals you have written over the years and I want to thank you for all your effort. I especially was touched by The Visitation devotional. Thank you for articulating so clearly the support our faith provides us in facing the challenge of caring for and interacting with individuals with dementia. Thanks again.
    (Ontario)

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