Friday, January 30, 2015

On the Edge of Night

Our neighbor of 26 years, is not well. Dementia moved in and moved fast. It was as if one week she saw us in the yard and strolled happily across the street, taking a break from raking or pruning a rose bush to swap stories of gardening and children, and the next week, a look of confusion swept over her face whenever we waved to her across the very same street, and, her wave back, once exuberant and sure, suddenly timid and hesitant, uncertain.

In the years since her decline, her husband has faithfully walked over and kept us updated on her condition. He says she is far removed from the woman he’s been married to for six decades. She is easily angered. She curses frequently, something she had never done before. And she doesn’t always know who’s who. We can see it in his eyes—the weariness, the sadness, the wishful thinking, the lost dreams.

Their only daughter, now with children of her own, appears often, sometimes staying all weekend. She and her father are her mother’s caregivers, her light in dark places, her shelter from the storm, her everything.

Occasionally, a grandson drives up in a loud diesel truck and carries his grandfather to places unknown. Upon their return, they stand in the street and toss around laughs and conversation. I watch them through the window and feel an ache rise up in my throat.

Some mornings I open the front door and see her across the street, her tiny frame stooped over a broom, sweeping one stretch of the driveway as if her life depended on it. She looks up and sees me. I wave, but she doesn’t wave back, the light of recollection no longer there.

I remember the words in James 4:14: "You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." 

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. Sunrise. Sunset. From the moment we are born, life moves in a steady succession of goodbyes. We can’t know what tomorrow holds. We can only embrace today, trusting the One who holds all of our days in His hands.

On this quiet evening in January, these have been my thoughts. Despite their melancholic tone, there is sweet relief in writing them down.



  1. Perfect words for me to read now. I'm just now seeing early signs of this same condition in a dear one. Helplessness is a terrible thing for us all.

  2. Hello Dear Dayle...I am sad for your sweet neighbor. You are right. We do not know what is ahead in our own futures.

    So good to know that God is in charge, in control and is our boss! He will turn everything to good. Only He knows what lies ahead and He will give us the strength to bear it.

    We are very blessed to be able to write and express the feelings within our hearts. Susan

  3. Live today like there's no tomorrow. I'm off to put my granddaughters down for a nap while a read to them.

  4. I can't see through my tears!
    I shake my head with sadness for those who are there for her, watching her change.
    I will go to my knees and pray for her, her husband, daughter, grandchildren and her special neighbors.

  5. We just don't actually understand that until it really.happens. All of a sudden, there's a drastic change in your lifestyle and your entire live becomes a totally different world. To have the peace that only our Lord can give has been such a solace to me during my husband's bout with cancer and Alzheimer's. With his passing, the Lord has continued to be beside me and send just the people I need at the right time. God is so good and continues to bless me in amazing ways.

    Thanks for reminding us how fast things can change.

  6. This touched my heart today.
    I am sad for your sweet neighbor, and all who love and care for her.
    My dear father fought the ugly disease of Dementia, and although he lost this battle almost one year ago, he did not lose the war. Dementia may have robbed him of his memories and self for many months, but he died peacefully and cozy in his bed. God blessed us. As his body grew weary of fighting, his mind returned thanks to a wonderful doctor and some amazing medication. He began to recall us and had a true peace about him. My mother was able to lay beside him, hold his hand, and share memories of their 57 years together. A nurse told me that Dementia is the cruelest of diseases. You lose your loved one twice...first as the disease progresses and steals your loved one away. Then again in death. Prayers for your neighbor.

  7. Oh Dayle I think all of us consider this disease such a particularly cruel one and pray of course that our loved ones and ourselves are spared from it. Your poor neighbors. Both the woman who suffers with it and her poor family that must help her cope and care for her. Our hope lies in the next life when we leave all of this behind. And in the meantime, praise God we have Him to comfort and give us strength. Your soo right of course. We never know what our futures hold, or when our lives will be required of us but there is such comfort in knowing HE does. I will pray for your neighbors!

  8. Dayle...what you said here is true....sad but true. I can see that woman, once vibrant, now lost and confused. Thank God she's loved. Thank God someone and Someone see her condition and is caring for her. Your post is a reminder to me that we have only today and so important to live it fully. Hugs and wishes for a beautiful weekend.

  9. Sad post but such is dementia. My poor Mom suffered, as we her family members did of this terrible disease for 10 years.
    I pray for your neighbor, and also for her husband and family members that are her caregivers.

  10. Dementia is a very sad thing to witness. My mother had it. Towards the end she didn't know me or my brother a lot of the time. So sad to watch. Prayers for all who have this horrible disease and their families.

  11. Both dementia and AD are so frightening. Witnessing my own mother's decline is something that's changed me forever; I pray my only child will never have to make decisions on my behalf!
    Sending prayers for your neighbor's hubby and daughter!
    ... Oh(!), and God bless that grandson who's able to put a smile on his granddad's face!

  12. Dayle, tears flood my eyes. Just a little over a year ago, my dad died. He had battled dementia for several years, telling me that he didn't remember me because he hadn't seen me for 40 years. It was a heartbreaking journey. When he passed, my siblings and I jumped into caring for our mother, only to find out that her cognitive abilities were also diminishing. Now, we are having to consider other options for her care, as she is becoming rapidly unable to care for herself. It is excruciating.

    Prayers for your neighbor, and prayers for all of us who have to face this lonely journey. Thank goodness that we do NOT walk it alone!


  13. So sad, Dayle. My mom suffered from dementia for several years before she passed away. There were times when she didn't know who I was.

  14. Dayle, You are such a good neighbor. May God Bless you for your recognition of your neighbors blithe. Too many times the world is in such a rat race that our older generation are forgotten. Thank you for caring.

  15. Really sad, when people lose the essence of who they are due to this terrible disease. And how hard it is on their caregivers.


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