A few years ago, my father, my son, and I traveled to the town of my father’s birth; Paris, Illinois. He directed us to a few cemeteries that contain the graves of our relatives of the last few generations. Then, he drove us to an old family cemetery that had been abandoned many years before. After parking the car on a county road, we walked through a cornfield and into a wooded area. There we found tombstones of our distant relatives.
Most of the markers were still readable though many were on their side. The last name was often spelled differently than we spell it today. As I examined the gravestones, I wondered about them. Had the young lady died in childbirth? Was the young boy killed by accident or succumb to disease? Are those his parents buried nearby? Was the old man the patriarch of the family or an uncle?
My father’s relatives immigrated from England in 1634. William Milburn was born in Somerset England and died in Boston many years before the Revolutionary War. My ancestors made their way west through Kentucky and Indiana, then finally settling in Illinois. They left their dead along the way, many in unmarked graves. Someday, those graves will open. The apostle John described it this way:
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; John 5:25-29 NASB
John tells us we shouldn’t fear death. Unless Jesus returns first, the day will come when our loved one will die. They will no longer have dementia. Their worn-out body will be replaced with a new one that is indestructible. They will join the others who have gone before them and await our arrival.
In 1st Corinthians 13:12 NASB the apostle Paul said, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully…”. Though he wrote more books of the Bible than anyone, Paul still had questions. He looked forward to the day when he could sit with Jesus and get answers. When queried most Christians will admit to having a few inquiries for Jesus, too.
Some people believe we will instantly be with Jesus when we die. Others think we will sleep until ordered by Christ to arise from our grave. Like Paul, I don’t know, and I suppose it doesn’t matter so long as I wind up in heaven for a Q & A with Christ. Though I would prefer an immediate entrance to paradise, I wouldn’t mind a long rest, either.
Our loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia is slipping toward their death. As the disease progresses, we begin to realize the inevitability and eventually accept it. Just as certain is your loved one’s eternal, spiritual existence once they shed their mortal remains.
We can take comfort in God’s promise for their eternal reward. In the meantime, we will make their final days as pleasant as possible. May God bless you and help you as you travel through the Valley of Dementia.
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© Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn