Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.—ISAIAH 58:9 [NIV]
“Have you heard from Joe lately?” Mom asked.
I felt my heart quicken. The only Joe both Mom and I knew was Dad, who’d died nine years earlier. But perhaps I was forgetting someone. I asked Mom which Joe she meant.
“The Joe I just married,” she said, her voice edged with annoyance. “I don’t know where he lives.”
So it was true. Mom’s mind had turned a corner. After her Alzheimer’s diagnosis six years before, I’d read a lot concerning this stage, when a loved one talks about the past as if it were happening now. But nothing could prepare me for the shock of Mom mentioning Dad in the present tense.
I played along, telling Mom I didn’t have Joe’s number, then immediately changed the subject. That worked for a while. Then Mom asked if I thought Joe might want to come to church with her Sunday, since they were getting along so well nowadays.
Help me, Jesus, I prayed. “I’m so happy you’re not fighting with each other like you used to, Mom. I think Joe would enjoy coming to church with you.”
There was no point in trying to convince Mom that she was living in the past. This was her new, happier reality. With God’s help and wisdom, I could adjust.