Friday, February 6, 2009

What's In a Name

“…I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm…” Isa. 49:16 (Living Bible)

I grew up in a family of four girls. My mother would invariably call us by one to three incorrect sisters’ names before she hit the right one.

After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, we watched her memory slip away a little at a time. I often hear people lament that when someone suffers from this horrible disease, they no longer remember the names of loved ones. That symptom never troubled us. Perhaps it’s because she had always gotten our names confused. Or, because we always had the feeling she was aware of the fact that she was with someone she knew—someone who loved her. The name really did not matter.

One day, when she was long past remembering names, I was praying with her. She usually listened and said nothing. This day, she spoke up and began to ask God to bless everyone in her family.

“You know I love you Lord. I’ve always loved you,” she said aloud with hands raised towards heaven. She called out the names of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. I listened in awe. I knew this was a ‘God Happening.”

I believe my mother was blessing her family in a way that patriarchs in the Old Testament blessed their families when death approached.

This was an incredible testimony to us. It assured us of her place in the family of God.

She never had a moment of such clarity again.

Prayer: Father, help me to remember that the most important thing about my name is that you have written it on your palm and in the lamb’s book of life.

© 2009 Christy Struben


TheWriterStuff said...

This is lovely. It reminds of my mother who also had Alzheimer's. You come to cherish those moments of clarity.

Virginia said...

On the Christian Classics Etheral Libray page for today 2-6), Spurgeon's evening devotion talks about intercessory prayer. He points out that those who pray for others have a depth of grace in their lives that allows them to move gracefully and easily into the kingdom of heaven. May we all learn, alzheimer's or not, to pray his blessings for others.

Marcella said...

This is beautiful!

Dawn said...

I watched Alzheimer take away a loved one as well. We look for the blessings of a clear moment. Praying for them is the one comfort we do have. Dawn

Bonnie said...

My younger sister, Barbara, is now in the beginning stages of Alzheimer disease. It's very painful so witness a moment of forgetfulness from her. I know that eventually she won't remember any of us, but she prays to die before that happens to her. She's a true, deeply devout Christian and I know she will have her place with Jesus, whom she is very anxious to see.