Love that Outlives Memory

I can’t remember the last time I had shed tears over someone whose name I could never remember.

Her eyes were bright, but her legs were no longer obedient enough to bear her weight. Her tongue no longer understood the need to form words. Her thoughts seemed captive as she observed her surroundings; she was the only one that comprehended her reality. She only responded to one command, “Don’t leave the counter when the door opens, sweetheart.”

To that, she always stuck out her tongue, slowly maneauvering her wheel-chair to try and escape anyway. 

At her feet laid a baby doll I would have labeled a toddler’s toy if I wasn’t in a nursing home. As she and I made eye contact, she immediately glanced at her baby doll, picked it up and coddled the doll, soothing away nonexistant fears. I couldn’t tell if she knew the baby wasn’t real… no one jumped to inform her of a different reality, though.

“I’m so glad I’m not like that,” The grandma beside me muttered. The scene occurred often within the walls of the nursing home. I had learned those still lucid enough to count it as odd also use it as a personal inventory for the faculties of their own they still possess. 

At the comment, I silently replayed the times I know the grandma next to me had struggled to remember events which had occurred a mere ten minutes before. I teared up remembering the times she told me she wasn’t quite sure if I was her daughter or granddaughter. To tell her I was neither always felt cruel, so she just got entitled Grandma. 

As “Grandma” and I continued in silence, I fought back tears as I wondered what the future held. I was no stranger to Alzheimer’s and Dementia… but it never gets easier with time. Jesus, Jesus… does she face the threat of losing her memory of You? Will the day come where she struggles with her mind like the woman with the baby doll? … Jesus, please. Don’t let it happen.

As if on cue, “Grandma” started quoting 1 Corinthians 2:9- “…but just as it is written,  “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

With a smile the size of Texas she chuckled and said, “I’ve always loved that verse, haven’t you? It just means so much to know God has a plan for me!

I could almost hear God chuckling as He whispered to my heart, “Learn from her, anyway, Baby Girl. She knows Me. I know her. I’ve called you to love her, not to worry over her future.


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