Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I am disappearing.

So says Jane McAllister, the woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in this article. I read it slack-jawed with tears welling in my eyes before I was finished. There was to be a series of articles in National Catholic Reporter. However, Mrs. McAllister passed away last week, as these articles began to be published.

Jane is an inspiration to me. She was FAR from happy at her predicament, but exuded such a quiet dignity about her fate, such a deepness and richness of faith. And her husband and caregiver Robert? After suffering along with his beloved, offering her care, his love his patience, his entire heart and soul…how much more does he suffer now? Is there guilt because there might be a tiny, hidden tinge of relief in his suffering, now that Jane is at rest? It hurts me and frightens me to think of myself being in his situation. I pray if I ever am, I will be reflecting the image of God to my beloved in anywhere near the same fashion.

I can’t imagine the torture, fear, and final resignation of losing your memories and experiences good and bad, to something like Alzheimer’s. It seems to me it must be exactly like the Passion of Jesus. How frightened He must have been, knowing what was to occur, knowing the inevitability of His life being cut short in a violent, betrayed fashion. Losing His friends, His mother, His joy of Life. Almost...almost...losing hope on the Cross (‘…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34), and finally commending His spirit home. Just as Jane did; “My voice is hoarse these days, but I say words of praise with you each day, and someday I’ll sing them when I come home.”

Thank you God for the gifts I have today. Help me, HELP ME squeeze every bit of goodness and utility out of every one of these gifts. Everything I have is “on loan” in my stewardship, and I may not possess these gifts tomorrow. Grant me overflowing gratitude!

Daily Mass Readings
Isaiah 1:10,16-20
Psalm 50:8-9,16-17,21,23
Matthew 23:1-12

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