Once Upon A Time

August 23, 2017
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It is a beautiful evening. The sky is painted with brush strokes of deep purple and orange, with splashes of pink throughout the expanse. The waves create a melodious chant, as they gently kiss the shoreline. The wind is warm as it blows softly across our faces. My husband and I are holding hands and walking barefoot on the beach. Once in a while, a seagull glides through the air, letting us know that it is around, to beg for food.

Something awakens me. I realize that this wonderful scene was only a dream, a yearning to experience a romantic interaction between me and my husband again. But circumstances change, and what once was taken for granted is gone and will never return.

My husband's vascular dementia prevents him from showing this type of affection. In the television series, The Big Bang Theory, the character of Sheldon is like my husband. When I go to give him a hug, he stands there like a tree, and pats my back with a "There, there, now." It's a bittersweet feeling of loss, a type of grieving, but that's the way it is, and I need to make the best of the situation that is at hand.

God's Word says to us:

Romans 5:3-4 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. (TLB)

I know that God is with me and my husband. He has helped me through some tough times, and He is still teaching me patience. God loves me even though I lose it at times. He provides personal support workers, nurses, caregivers, geriatric doctors who deal with the elderly and help patients with memory problems, as well as all sorts of support groups. And when it is time for a loved one to enter into full-time nursing, God will provide the proper facilities.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)

What is God using in your life to teach you patience?

Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, thank You for providing Your children with various helps and services. Grant the caregivers strength, patience, and wisdom. Thank You for Your gift of the Holy Spirit Who helps us when things get tough. Amen.

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About the author:

Rosemary Hagedorn <rosyhagedorn@gmail.com>
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great inspiration Rosemary.

    What patience and grace you have learned. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for your message this morning. It spoke to me. May God continue to be with you and bless you richly.

    It’s always amazes me how God works and His timing is impeccable. We fuss and fume and twist and turn but for nothing. His time, His way. And He will make it plain.

    Thanks for sharing your personal life/journey with us.

    May you continue to feel the loving arms of God around you, especially at those times when you really could use a hug. God bless!

    Hi Rosy.
    Thank you for writing this wonderful devotional. When I started reading I thought it might be one of yours. May the Lord continue to bless you and your husband.

    I pray, “Dear God, bless Rosemary day by day.”
    I have never been married, so I can only imagine the depth of your loss.
    Thank you for sharing not only the sorrow but the hope, hope that will become eternal present.
    Keep writing.

    Dear Rosy, l hug you today through prayer in Jesus name, with His love that will never let you go.
    You are fighting the good fight in and through His name and are victorious, moment by moment, day by day, in His strength. How blessed your husband is to have a godly wife.

    I can relate to what you are saying and have experienced some of what you are doing through!
    It’s your question: What is God using in your life to teach you patience???.
    I guess it’s taking (one day at a time)
    Though it is a slow and diminishing time in life, thank God, He if is with us on to the end.

    Dear Rosie:
    So heart-warming! I was so moved by your poignant account of your sense of loss…my heart goes out to you.
    I can feel your pain, for I’m in a similar situation. My beloved physically-handicapped better half has Dementia too, but she is not so far gone as your beloved hubby. I can no longer hug her fully since she is always in a wheelchair and there is a sense of loss, things that are lost forever.
    But God is still in control!

    Dear Rosy,
    Just had to pass on this little bit of wisdom from a dear old soul who was caring for his wife at home. She suffered from dementia and repeatedly asked him the same questions all day long. He felt guilty for ‘losing it’ on occasion.
    When I sympathized with him and told him not to be so hard on himself, he immediately said: “But there is a silver lining to all this. Even when I so lose my patience, she forgets it and life goes on.”
    My heart goes out to you in the living death that is dementia.
    Prayers and blessings.

    Dear Rosemary:
    Thanks for sharing your situation. My husband has various medical problems. He says he is a healthy person who just can’t breathe. He is on oxygen. We were recently married but I have no regrets, and feel that this is God’s plan to provide for John. Thankfully his mind is clear. My mother had Alzheimer’s and I know what it is like to have a loved one with dementia. It is hard. Thankfully our Christian faith carries us through.
    May God bless you.

    Your devotional hit the spot this morning. I sometimes wonder how I will find the patience to deal with my situation too. My husband had a brain injury many years ago, and as the neurologist said, it has caught up with him now (many years later). Yes, we are helped with caregivers and advice, and have the people in our church family who care as well, but some days I feel so alone. It is good to be reminded that I am not alone, that God is walking with me.
    May God grant us both patience to get through each day.
    Thank you for putting into words what I need to remember.

    Dear Rosemary. Thank you for your “Once Upon a Time” devotional this morning. It was poignant and I thought of my husband and myself (both 80+) and I thank God we are well mentally and physically but I know too well that these conditions can change in a heartbeat. How difficult it must be for you.
    I’m thinking of you today and thanking God for your words and also thanking Him that at least your husband isn’t agitated but loving you and responding with a type of hug instead of holding you away and not recognizing you.
    We will keep you in our prayers,
    (NH USA)

    My dear Friend, as always you have given us another great devotional for this day. Your spirit in this situation is such a blessing to all, I’m sure, and it seems that most families have to face a similar one. My sister was married to man who was mentally cruel to her until dementia set in and he became the man she dreamed of having. They were both totally committed Christians and gave so much of their lives to the Lord’s work. Only the Lord has the answers for our questions and it is up to us how we can understand.
    Thank you so much, Rosemary, and know that my prayers are with you and your Sweetheart.
    God loves you and so do I!
    (S. California.)

    Hi Rosy,
    This is such a touching reality that so many share with you. It seems as if there is a hole in your heart because of what you once had in such depth and due to this cruel illness (for want of a better word) you have lost through no fault of your own. Yet I know you cannot live on past memories, and you must go on living and loving.
    Obviously, your heart is grieving yet you try to accept what God has allowed and that is not easy. It is a time we learn to lean on God’s strength. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go but to Thee?”
    You have put it so well, that we must try to be patient, whatever that entails, and try not to cry out against this cruel occurrence which seems to afflict many older people we love.
    My heart goes out to you and I will add your name to my prayer list if that is okay.
    God’s blessing, love and comfort surround and support you.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I can feel God working in my life. All I needed to do was step back and get out of His way

    Dear Rosemary,
    I have enjoyed your many devotionals and felt this one particularly.
    It is now several years since the passing of my dear husband. I, too, have memories of strolling on a beach with him – thankfully many beaches, some in the moonlight. There were several years of struggle as his health declined.
    I have found that God is truly with us in our time of struggle and need. He does provide and guide as we do our best to work out our present needs and future plans. How we miss such things as a hug but we have only our memories of a happier time.
    Thank you for your devotionals, especially this one. I will be praying for you as you and God work out arrangements. We know we are in God’s hands.

    Excellent writing. Dementia certainly is challenging when you take loved ones out of their familiar surroundings. Keep writing.

    Consider yourself hugged, Rosie.

    Dear Rosemary,
    I teared up when I read your devotional. My husband passed away a couple of years ago, after a struggle with Alzheimer’s. I, too, had to deal with his unresponsiveness, remind myself constantly that it was not his fault, depend completely on the Lord and even then, collapse in tears, or strike out in anger.
    He is now with the Lord and for that I am grateful. Someday our reunion will be sweet. But until then, no more hugs or walks on the beach.

    I just read your devotion, Rosemary, and it touched my heart deeply. As we all grow older, we realize the loss of physical strength, perhaps memory or the loss of “what you could once do” to just realizing that the days fly by quickly.
    Bless you, dear Rosemary! May your situation raise you to new heights of His glory, strength and abundant love for you and your husband!
    (NV, USA)


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