Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller from the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.
For two-and-a-half years, my mother-in-law, Audrey, lived with Larry and I. God used that time to purify our motives and develop greater selflessness. Audrey suffered from Lewy-Body Dementia, which caused her to be paranoid and have delusions and hallucinations. It was a difficult time where we learned to slow down our reactions and work through what was really motivating us.
I, Kathy, remember one morning Audrey was eating her bran cereal. Every morning I had to soak the cereal in milk for at least thirty minutes to make it soft. But this morning the delusion of her Lewy Body Dementia was “alive.”
She said to me, “There’re rocks in my cereal. I know you’re trying to kill me.”
I could feel the hair on the back of my neck begin to rise. But I prayed quickly, “Lord, this is my old pattern of wanting to be approved and not wanting to be seen as undependable. I’m going to pause because I know in Christ I am dependable, loved, and approved.”
Audrey mumbled something else and then said, “And I wish you’d do a better job of it.”
Of course, she meant that I should make her cereal without rocks. But the juxtaposition was funny. I should do a better job of killing her? I stifled a laugh and wasn’t upset—for once!
Another morning she shuffled down the hall toward me exclaiming, “Don’t lie to me, you attacked me last night!”
Oh! That is one of my hot buttons of being called a liar. I so wanted to be mean in return, but I again slowed down my reaction and prayed, asking God to help me see myself as he sees me—as a daughter of the King. The Lord gave me compassion for Audrey who was also a daughter of the King, yet was mentally influenced by dementia.
Her words didn’t bother me in the least. God was doing a work within me of seeking God’s approval and His identity of me rather than my mother-in-law. Both Larry and I learned that more and more.