Chapter 16
The Agony of Letting Go: July 19, 2012

God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
—Acts 2:24 NASB

She was screaming and cussing so loud I wanted to cover my ears, slouch down into the chair, and disappear. Anger spewed out of her mouth as the nurses and doctors in the emergency room reviewed her health history with Dad. Tears threatened to overflow as I watched her body twist and turn with torment in the hospital bed. Had I not been born of her body and known her unalterable love for Jesus, I would have sworn demons had possessed her.

We had been warned paranoia and personality alterations were all parts of the disease. We knew someday we would look into her eyes and see only vacancy. We knew the slow fading of sweet Mama was a guaranteed part of the storm.

The storm has worsened for Mama. She is rarely sleeping at night and needs constant care and attention during the day. Mama’s mind is rapidly betraying her. Fear and panic are engulfing her at every moment, day and night. Glimpses of the real Val are becoming rarer and rarer to behold. The Alzheimer’s is raging a nasty war. Mama’s brain is not resting, and her soul is floundering. We are desperate to offer her relief from this hell on earth—the yelling, crying, anger, uncontrollable weeping, confusion, and heart-wrenching sorrow.

Every ounce of our energy, resources, and ability to keep walking with Mama in a healthy and steady manner has dried up. The disease has made it impossible for us to care for her in the way she is worthy of being cared for. We need help.

Sometimes love means admitting your mama to a psychiatric ward as your heart bursts into a million pieces inside of you. Sometimes love means listening to her as she is calling after you, begging you to turn around and rescue her from the white walls of the unknown. Sometimes love means walking down a long, terrifying hallway and hearing the metal doors snap into lockdown mode as you exit; you’re on one side of the door, and your mother is on the other.

The Notebook has nothing on us. Today sucked. We are swimming in a pool of guilt.

Memories of today—nothing but raw, bleeding sadness—will haunt us for the rest of our lives. After we’ve walked through today’s experience, surely her death will feel like a glorious gift.

The nurse must have seen the despair and horror in our eyes. She slowly walked up to our huddled group and whispered, “We are going to stabilize your mom and your wife” as she nodded kindly toward Daddy. “We are going to find the perfect cocktail of medicine, so the disease will stop suffocating her brain. I promise each of you, we are going to give her rest.”

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