10th December 2010

She Doesn’t Even Recognize Me!

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity…”
Hebrews 2:14 (NIV UK)

I heard the catch in his voice as my friend described his aged mother who was suffering from advanced dementia. “She doesn’t even know who I am!” My heart went out to him. I understood the anguish and pain of such a statement—like thousands of others, I had experienced firsthand the sorrow of a loved one in the throes of dementia. What a cruel illness it is—the parents who gave us life now don’t know who we are. We are strangers to them, no more familiar than any person in the street.

According to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, there are 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, a number forecast to rise rapidly as the population ages. This is an alarming statistic, costing the UK economy £23 billion per year. Considerable research is being carried out to find a cause and cure, but in the meantime how does one put a price on the mental absence of a parent? Siblings, if there are any, can support each other, but nothing removes the fact that your parent has completely forgotten who you are.

Christians have a loving Father who has known them from before they were born and will never, ever forget them. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” It seems hard to believe but He has counted every hair on our head—or in some cases follicle rather than actual hair! (Mathew 10:30—“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”) God knows our every thought—even the worthless ones! (Psalm 94:11—“The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.”) The love we have for our children, unconditional and unreserved, is nothing compared with the love our Eternal Father has for us. God has said He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews13:5).

God knows and understands the pain of the families who are affected by dementia. He has compassion above measure for the victims. He holds them in his heart. In Psalm 61 we are told that he binds up the broken-hearted, proclaims a release from darkness for the prisoners (dementia is a mental darkness), and provides a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Psalm 61:1-3). These are the promises for all who suffer from not just dementia but all forms of human suffering and degradation. God will keep His word!

In the meantime, have courage and confidence that your Father in heaven, who created you and who is your parent, is in charge. He has planned a day of restoration and healing which will amaze the world. The statistic will then read 0 people in the UK today are suffering from dementia. Take heart in Revelation 22:2—the healing of the nations will take place and families will be reunited amidst great rejoicing. We will have so much to catch up on!

Father, we thank you for the promise of elimination of the scourges of human suffering. Thank you that in the meantime our loved ones are in your care where we have placed them. We praise you for your wonderful love for all humanity.

Study by Irene Wilson 

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