My husband and I went to a funeral home visitation this evening. I, as always, dreaded going. These occasions are never pleasant, but unfortunately, they are a part of all our lives and we must, from time to time, deal with them. I go with clenched teeth, feeling uncomfortable, and leave as soon as I can manage it without appearing unsympathetic.
But this time was different. Aside from the fact that none of us likes to see others suffer the loss of a loved one; there was nothing about this gathering to make anyone feel uncomfortable. You see, the deceased was an Alzheimer’s victim. Many of us have gone to church with him and his wife for years. We knew him before his brain and body were assaulted by this devastating disease.
Ralph didn’t talk much, but he always had a big smile and a firm handshake for everyone. His wife, Drema, is grace and charm personified. They were a perfect match. The question in everyone’s mind is, “Why?” Why do lovely people like these have to be beset by such a hideous illness?
In fact, why does anyone?
From Sunday to Sunday, we watched the gradual decline in Ralph. As it worsened, one couldn’t help but think he’d be much better off if God, in His mercy, would rescue him. But our ways are not His ways, so we had to wait and watch as this sweet man suffered, first, the humiliation, and then, the pain that this disease inflicts upon its victims – and watch his family suffer right along with him.
As the illness progressed, they had to stop coming to church. We missed them, but knew they were going through a rough time. Ralph had falls that resulted in visits to the hospital and subsequent home health care. We all knew it wouldn’t be long.
The mood at the funeral home visitation almost seemed like one of relief: relief that Ralph’s suffering is finally over and that his loved ones can stop worrying about him complicating matters even more by falling and breaking a bone or worse.
Drema, looking beautiful, stood near the coffin greeting guests. Her brother stood beside her. To their right, their 90-something year-old mother sat in a comfortable chair, also greeting guests. She was as delightful as always and very pretty, too – wearing a royal blue blouse that emphasized her sky-blue eyes.
Lovely flowers surrounded the casket. The entire scene was moving and inspiring.
What a distressing ordeal Ralph, Drema and their family have been through! But it's finished now. Tonight, Ralph is in his Heavenly home, whole and well – smiling and shaking hands again. The pain and suffering are over.
God has indeed rescued him.
Peggy, what a lovely tribute to your friends. So nice of you. I'm sure they appreciate it.
Very nice, Peggy!
I don't even know what to say about this. My father was taken by Alzheimers and it's a sore subject with me, but you made it better with your beautiful words Peggy. thanx! Mary
Oh Peggy it is truley a devistating disease. It's hard for me to remember that eternity goes backwards on that timeline just as it goes forever forward on the timeline. These days are a speck when put into perspective. I'm often thankful for that. When I see people with alzheimers I'm always praying that may it never be me. Thanks for your ponderings. ♥
This is written in such a poignant way. It really touched my heart and I had tears in my eyes when I finished it. Nice job Peggy.
My dear Peggy, what beautiful words you have written. The description of Ralphs condition was so accurate, I lost the love of my life about one year ago to the dreaded alzheimers, but on the 28th, he went home for a new mind and body. Seeing him lying so peaceful and the smile on his face, how could I have wanted to keep him here. The song we sang today Look for me, for I will be there to. just make me long for that day. The love of my life is in Heaven doing what he loved to do, running electric wires to help God make it more beautiful. Thank you for the great words. God Bless you.
nice thing to do peg. sam
Sweet and sad tribute to your friend. Wishing him a peaceful rest.
Beautiful words. She is so lucky to have you as her friend. For sure she'll be proud of you.
Peggy, you have a wonderful way with words. I only got to know a part of Ralph. Your beautiful tribute helped me realize that I got to know the essence of the man he was, which is the part of him that was there even when the alzheimers had clouded out so much. Thanks for sharing and blessing all of us!
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