The Giver by Lois Lowry is a book most kids read in middle school. Eerie in its premise, The Giver describes a socialist society that is ruled by practicalities. At a certain point, a person is judged too old to live anymore, so away he is sent to be euthanized, frozen smile etched on his face.
I’ve thought about that weird book as my dad reaches the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. True, Dad requires an enormous amount of family management. He would take as much time as any family member could possibly give to him, and it still wouldn’t be enough. He has a very high energy level, which makes just about everything difficult. Everything.
We all have to come to peace with the fact that Dad is well cared for and we are doing the best we can to provide busy, stimulating days for him, while trying to hang on to some balance in our own lives.
Dad would have hated to know that this is how his last stage of life would be lived…as a burden.
And yet, there is an interesting part of Dad that I find fascinating: he loves church. Especially the hymns! He looks forward to church all week, he sits still and listens (something he can’t do 90% of the time), and he seems at rest.
Even as Dad’s mind is failing him, there is a part of his being (his soul, perhaps?) that responds in worship to his Creator.
Dad may not be adding “value,” Giver-style, but on an eternal level, he is doing just fine.