For reason's I do not yet know, God has given me the ability to talk about my family's situation without shame. I thank each of you who reads for encouraging me as I lay it all out here. My aunt called the AR Alzheimer's Association with the hope of finding another woman in Arkansas who had experienced a parent's early on-set diagnosis as a teen. Her hope was that someone with a similar situation would be willing to talk with my sister, as none of us can truly relate to the affect it had on her at such a young age. My aunt was shocked to learn that there was, in fact, a woman with a similar situation, but she refused to talk about it because she was embarrassed and pain-stricken. Obviously, I don't have the same outlook as the anonymous woman, and I pray I continue to feel freedom to express my pain, doubt, anger, frustration, joy, and peace.
I'm was angry. It's simple. I hated what was happening to my family. At the beginning, when Mom was first diagnosed, I experienced a wave of different emotions. I was saddened, angry, and then severely anxious. I have suffered anxiety attacks, felt so numb to God's love that I wasn't sure I could ever worship again, and wrestled with the thought of not having my own children simply out of fear I will inherit the Alzheimer's gene. All this to say, from the beginning I knew God had a plan. I definitely asked "why us" a lot, but I knew that God could see a much bigger picture. On good days, I thank God that He can see something I cannot. On bad days, I remind Him I never asked to be used this way His plan.
So how am I today? I recognize that I am unable to live each day apart from the peace He allows me to feel. I am not anxious, I don't get angry as often as I did in the beginning, and I can talk openly about my family's situation without becoming overly emotional. I am, however, sad. I am sad for my dad, who's angry heart has turned to a downcast spirit. I am sad that my sister missed out on having a mom to share her high school and college years with. I know that it is hard for her to see all her friends and their mom's together. And I am sad for my brother's deep denial. Sad for the regret he may feel if he doesn't come to terms with what is happening to his mom.
And, as for what purpose our experience may have in God's big plan, I grow more and more confidant everyday that there is a reason. Today, I was reviewing the Live Feed on my blog that shows who has viewed my blog and how they found it. Someone I have never met from Hamden, CT performed a "Google" search with the words, "Elderly mom keeps saying 'she wants to go home'." With that search, that person found my blog. I realized if I can help at least one person it will have all been worth it.