Just the other day I went upstairs to be with her at our usual time. Little did I know, my day was about to become unforgettable. I sat next to her and she said, “Hello lovey, what’s your name?”
“Christy!” I responded.
“Ah, that’s nice! Where are you from?” she asked with a shining smile.
“I’m from America!” I told her.
And then what I never thought would happen, happened. She remembered me!! I was overjoyed. We talked and sang and I read to her and we had a jolly old time. But then it was time to leave. She became very anxious and with a terrified look on her face, exclaimed, “But I don’t want to lose you again!” My heart sank. I told her that she wouldn’t lose me and that I’d see her tomorrow. And with the look of a small, scared child being dropped off at school on their first day, she said, “I love you”.
I told her that I loved her more and then had to rush out of the room before I started crying. I don’t know why people get dementia. I’ve been thinking about it a lot while I’ve been here. My theory is that it must serve as some sort of purgatory during our time on earth so that, maybe, it will be shorter when we die. It seems to me to be the truest test of faith. In the moments when you can tell that Sister Teresa is terrified, she repeats to herself, “Jesus, help me”. Though her mind is gone, she finds the strength and willpower to continually invite God into her heart. It really opens your eyes.
When Sister Teresa exclaimed, “I don’t want to lose you again”, I couldn’t help but think that this is how God must feel when we begin to turn our minds away from Him. But He’s always right there, loving us, patiently waiting for us to say hello again. It’s impossible to grasp the extent of His love. But it’s beautiful to ponder.