Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bless the Lord, O My Soul


Four generations celebrating the love.

Psalm 104:1-2
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Wrapped in light as in a garment.

While my father is still somewhat aware and can recognize us by looks and names despite his Alzheimer's, my husband, Danny, and I decide to bring the guitar and music selections to entertain him during our visit.  Dad used to play guitar and always loved music, from classical to hymns, from country to folk, all his life.  How could this not cheer him up?  At the very least, stimulate his brain synapses so frail and in decline?  We have every hope . . .

We perform several Christian praise songs for him and are gratified to witness the joy in his eyes and the smile on his face.  Then, we turn to one most recently learned, 10,000 Reasons, by Matt Redmon:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul.  Worship your holy name.  Sing like never before, O my soul.  Worship His holy name . . .

By the time we reach the second chorus of "Bless the Lord," my father's countenance radically transforms.  Without warning and with breathing labored, tears stream uncontrollably down his cheeks.  We are, understandably, taken aback and cease our song.  Mom comes in to comfort him as we, too, hold his hands and reassure him that this might be enough for him at the moment.  

All we want is to provide joy and comfort to my Dad.  Nothing less.  Yet, we could not control this unexpected outcome.

~
When my father realized he was developing Alzheimer's and knew how this hideous ailment had already affected his mother, sister, and brother, he chose, in love and leadership, to write his own obituary and the order of service for his memorial.  His intention was not to leave the ones he loved scrambling and guessing as to what his final wishes would be.  What an incredible gift that was to wife, Nancy, and to us all as the end drew near.  We could, without undue anxiety, submit an appropriate obituary to the paper, and the requested ministers and hymn leader could organize a service without undue stress or perplexity.

The date and time is set for the memorial.  The Old Church adjacent to the Oxford College campus, where Dad served 12 years as dean, is filled to capacity.  Old friends, neighbors, co-workers, and former students are lovingly greeted.  Seats are taken as the service is due to begin.

The first scripture read is Psalm 104.  As the minister begins, my husband, Danny, whispers to me, "That's why!  That's why your Dad was so moved by that song.  He remembered!"

Epiphany.

That psalm was so engraved in my father's heart and soul, that no matter in what context he heard it, he knew.  And, miraculously, it brought back memories of the times when he could think and reason with the incredible gifts God gave to him.

Dad remembered . . .

And, we will always remember him.

~

Have you lost a loved one to Alzheimer's? 

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, you gave me on earth a model of the father you are.  I miss him so much, but I know he is in Your loving arms, resting in the comfort of Your presence.  I pray for all those who have suffered the loss of a parent, and I pray they find Your peace which passes all understanding.  Amen.


19 comments:

  1. A moment I will never forget. Awesome post.

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    1. Thanks, honey. One I'll always remember, too. Love you!

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  2. What a wonderful memory to share with us all! It must have been a very touching moment.

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    1. A very touching moment, Janu. Glad I could share this precious memory with everyone.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Touching post Martha <3

    Hugs, hugs and more hugs!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Privy, for coming by and for the hugs. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Touching. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim. Glad you liked the post today.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. So sad and touching. That is so beautiful what you did to help your father. I lost my granfather to Alhzeimers a long time ago. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Glad the post touched you, Hilda, and thanks for stopping by today.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. You are so welcome! God bless you too always.

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  6. This post touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.
    My dad died of brain cancer. Before he passed he lost so much physical and mental abilities but he never lost his faith in God. We would sing hymns to him and read scripture and his face would light up.

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    1. What a sweet memory about your father that you shared here. Losing a loved one is so difficult, but trying to make them feel love and comfort while they are ailing is the least we can do.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Your father was blessed in you and your family, Martha. I have seen two families suffer the consequences of Alzheimer's. Care giving is always a challenge.

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    1. Yes, the caregiving can be so difficult. So grateful that my mother had round-the-clock help while dad was ill. It helped tremendously and allowed my father to remain at home instead of being sent to a nursing home.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. I lost my grandma to Alzheimer's. Watching her decline was heartbreaking. While there came a time when she no longer knew me, I thought it remarkable how happy she was. She would keep saying when I visited..."I have no idea who you are, but I thank Jesus in heaven that you came to see me. You have brought me so much joy!" She never forgot who He was and still found peace and joy in the knowledge and I found that remarkably comforting. ♥

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    1. So sad you went through this with your grandmother, but how wonderful that you brought her such joy with every visit. Love still speaks volumes even when someone is slipping away mentally. I know my dad felt loved up to the very end.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. what a story, Martha of your father who was an extremely religious and Godly man. even when battling a life-ending disease, his faith in the Lord was stronger than ever. He seems to have touched so many people and through the stories you tell us of him, even more people around the world. Thank you for sharing your Dad's story and life with us - I am a better person for it. thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

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    1. Thanks so much, Vishnu, for visiting and for your kind words regarding my father. He truly was a genuine man of integrity who treated everyone equally. I was fortunate to have him as my Dad. And, though we all miss him terribly, it was awful to see him suffering. I know he is at peace with the Lord.
      Love and blessings!

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...