1, 1952 dawned early. Later, in church, I listened to the vows: to
have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for
poorer, in sickness and in health.
I smiled expectantly, waiting for the final pronouncement of husband and
wife… After four children and a lifetime of learning to make this marriage
work, we celebrated our Sixty Years together. Our children are grown, with
families of their own. I remembered my maternal Grandmother rocking on
the front porch and thought this would be for us, too. Rocking on the
front porch of life, holding hands.
April 2012, brought life, as we knew it, to an abrupt close. The
overlooked clues of Ed’s health came to the forefront in the Diagnosis of Lewy
Body Dementia. Sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting, I listened to the
doctor and heard what would be next. The words, “There is no cure.” echoed
in my mind.
I called our four children to let them know. I chose one son for help during
this time. I realize now how the Lord led me step by step. Although our lives
would change, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8. Now I knew why I chose to write short devotions five days a week,
choosing different scriptures. My husband, Ed, had become my ‘editor’ and I
read each devotion to him until confusion overtook his mind. Writing became my strength when I didn’t
know from moment to moment what to do.
From April to September, our children came to help us pack up essential belongs.
When unsure of an item, I could hear our Tim say, “Downsize!” And I asked
myself, “Do I need this in my new life?” Finally, we were ready to leave our
home and our life for the past thirty-eight years by September.
in and we would pay him rent. We had a church home and knew the
location of Walmart. When the future stretched out on a path of unknowns,
this verse became comforting, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you
meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your
faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3.
For the next three years and five months, I learned what caregiving entailed.
The phrase I heard more from Ed than any other contained, “I want to go
home!” When he wanted to talk to his wife, I dialed the home phone with
my cell phone and we visited. He had forgotten me, and progressively he lost
his sight, and then his ability to walk. But as for you, O man of
God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take
hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you
made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy
Each day brought its own blessings and tears in his continuous confusion. At bedtime,
I prayed with Ed, praying for all our children, and their children by
name. One morning I made his breakfast at 4:30 am. He waited at the
table. One night, Ed unlocked the front door and sat on the porch at midnight,
ringing the doorbell to come back in. Several times, when he wanted to go home,
we went for a drive and I had him tell me where to turn. When he became
tired, although we didn’t find the home he wanted, we returned.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let
your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do
not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians
4:4-6. Verses became friends to treasure, giving me the strength to face each day.
As time continued, our daughter came for a visit. By then, Tim came often to
help me put Ed to bed. She strongly suggested it’s time for the nursing
home. January 2016, we placed him in a nursing home. We left him clapping his
hands to the music in the dining hall. I placed this verse on the back of
the front door and his bedroom door. This is the day that
the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm
Then began two years and three months of visiting Ed. I soon learned he loved
to listen to hymns. We listened together, holding hands. Sometimes he would
mouth the words, and sometimes he waved his arms. He no longer could
comprehend the devotions I read to him, and we would often talk about
Jesus. I asked him what he thought Heaven might be like. Ed
often thought he was in church. He loved the outdoors, hunting and
fishing. We talked about the joy of God’s Creation. Sometimes I
took an old hymnal and sang hymns to him. He always enjoyed listening.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my
deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take
refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold. Psalm 18:2.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You. Psalm
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7.
1, 2018, the nursing home staff provided a beautiful table setting complete with
roses, cake, and Ed’s lunch. We returned from a dental appointment to
enjoy our sixty-sixth wedding anniversary.
Less than thirty days later, Ed left this earth quietly for the greatest
adventure of his life. Being with His Lord Jesus.
What have I learned from this time with my Ed? Faith, gentleness, humor,
acceptance, deep abiding love, and hope. You are my hiding place and
my shield; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114.
of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is
faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and
good works. Hebrews 10:24.
treasure, it brought us through the greatest challenge of our lives.
Glory to God! Praise to Jesus and Amen!!!