When You Just Want to Go Home

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My Grandpa has Alzheimer’s.  I don’t like typing that–seeing it there on the screen is not okay.  Alzheimer’s disease is a thief…robbing memories and faces, names, time, the knowledge of who you are or once were and what this life has been.  It is a slow transformation of the mind, but for me it seems to have happened overnight.  It’s as if one day Grandpa knew me as his granddaughter, and then suddenly I was “kiddo,” along with every other friend/neighbor/ grandchild/stranger.  Alzheimer’s is one of those things in life that just makes you say, “Why, Jesus?  How could good possibly come from this?  Why should Grandma have to carry this burden of caring for a man who sometimes forgets the bride of his youth?  Why should my mom and her siblings have to look at the body of a man they know as “dad,” but who is confused by that very word?  How can you possibly use this for good, Lord?”

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I don’t know the whole answer to that, but I do know that my Grandpa with his faded memory reminds me of something constantly.  This world is not my home.  You see, my Grandpa–as this disease has progressed–has experienced an overwhelming need to find “home.”  Dozens of times each day, no matter where he is, he gets up and takes off for “home.”  He could be sitting in his recliner in his living room, and suddenly is trying to head out the door because, “It’s about time to head home.”  I often think about how upsetting this must be for my Grandma.  This is a home they have lived in for decades, raising children, loving on grandchildren, living and sharing life together, but it is a place of no comfort to him.  How hard it must be to never feel at home… and yet,  that is EXACTLY what Jesus tells us to do in His Word.  We shouldn’t ever feel at home here, because it isn’t where we belong.  In the whole big-picture story of my Grandpa’s life, he really isn’t at home.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.

I Peter 2:11 (MSG)

My Grandpa reminds me that I should never feel comfortable in this world; I do not belong in it.  My real home awaits me, and I am just a pilgrim in a strange land.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Phillipians 3:20 (ESV)

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Alzheimer’s disease can be too-heavy-a-burden for loved ones to bear.  I have seen the toll taken on my Grandmother and family as they care for his every need–the words repeated over and over to the same questions,  the sleep lost, the time sacrificed, the deterioration of their own health, the patience, the unimaginable love and love and love.  I have no answers to why this has become a trial they must endure, but I–we–all rest in the assurance that one day Grandpa WILL find the home he has been searching for so tirelessly, and when we see him in that home, he will remember every face and name with joy.

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