Sunday, June 18, 2017

Friendship and Change

Oh, my friends.  I love them, and I love sharing serious conversations and silly times together.  Today, I had lunch with two close friends . . . not close to me, but close to each other.  These two had played on several city sports teams together, and had spent a lot of time at parties together, dancing and talking about boys and then marriage, and then the joys and hardships of motherhood.  Now, twenty years later, one of these women has dementia, and the other is living her retired, empty-nester life to the fullest. She couldn't have been nicer to her old friend, a relative of mine with dementia.  We had such a nice time together.  It did make me think, though, of my friends and the effect that time and illness may have on our friendships.  What will I do if one of my friends develops dementia?  What will my friends do if I get dementia?  Knowing an elderly person suffering from dementia is one thing; it's not entirely unexpected in older friends and relatives.  But what will I do if dementia happens to one of my friends, someone my age who I've always known to be fun and witty, vivacious and smart?  My mom had a friend her age who got dementia.  My mom did her best to accommodate her friend's "quirks" (no one knew then that she had dementia), but my mom's friend refused her help.  She got very angry with my mom several times, and after trying repeatedly to call her friend and reconcile, my mom thought it best to stop visiting her since that only seemed to make her angry and confused.  I think my mom did the right thing.  It was pointless to go over to Doris' house.  She wouldn't leave the house, and she refused the help my mom offered.  It's very hard to know what to do with a friend who has dementia-I can't imagine it, and I hope I never have to experience it.  It's always nice to have a visitor when you're sick, but when receiving visitors makes you sad and confused, then maybe it's better not to have visitors.  I don't know.  I don't even know what I would want if I had dementia.  I think I would enjoy visitors, but the disease eats away at your brain to the point where you are almost a different person.  I guess the bottom line is that we need to be led by God's word and be patient and kind, and keep in mind the Golden Rule and do unto others as we would want done to us-even that might not be the best thing to do, but all we can do is trust God and be led by love.

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