Thoughts on Alzheimer’s and faith

I originally wrote this as a facebook note on January 20, 2009 after my grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s.

As most of you know, my grandmother recently passed away from Alzheimer’s. As is the case with the disease, she had gone long before then. She had nothing left but her faith, but in the end that was all she needed. Long after she had lost the names and faces, even of family members, she still knew the old hymns of the faith. That not even Alzheimer’s could steal away from her.
I like to think that Jesus was standing beside her, holding her hand, whispering to her, “If you will only hold on a little longer, you will receive the crown of life I promised. You will see me face to face.” Lost to everything else in the fog of her disease, she still had Jesus, who said he would never leave us or forsake us.
The end came. From what I’m told, she was sleeping as her breathing became labored and shallow. At the end, she opened her eyes wide. I think she saw Jesus in His full glory, as He is on the other side. He was saying to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have persevered to the end. Come into your rest.”
As the old song goes, “You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.” In the end, all she had in the world was Jesus. But Jesus was all her world.

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