Last night I was the speaker for an Alzheimer’s support group that meets at my church. It was a casual setting with people sitting around tables. I knew only two people, both members of my church. The rest had driven from places near and far. Some had rushed from work and were still catching their breaths.
Since several were new to the group, the facilitator asked each person to give a brief introduction and tell about their situation. One couple was caring for family members who lived in a town almost 100 miles away. There was an older man whose wife was in a nearby memory care facility. An older woman who had cared for her mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s had recently discovered that her husband now has the disease. One of the newcomers had just received the news of her husband’s diagnosis. There were others who were struggling with the guilt of placing a loved one in a skilled nursing facility.
I listened to their stories and thought about their challenging season of life. No matter where their loved one was in the memory-loss process, these caregiver/ family members had deep feelings and very full plates. I reminded them that, like their loved ones, they were on a spiritual journey.
You could feel God’s presence as these people, including those who had come for the first time, shared tears and laughter. It reminded me once again that life’s journey is sometimes hard. Very hard. But God’s grace is always enough to meet the challenge and get us through.