Thursday, June 28, 2012
Conversations about getting old
"When my dementing mother dies, and if there is a heaven, what will she be like there?"
It's put to me as a dealbreaker. Could God answer such a question? Can he solve the ambiguity of human deterioration and eternity?
I understand the dilemma. Is it the me who dies who goes to heaven, or the best possible me? Is my brain part of my soul as much as it is part of my mind? Do resurrection bodies have neurofibrillary tangles or Alzheimer's plaques?
The answer comes as we share a cuppa and she talks about visiting her grandmother in the locked ward. It's to stop her wandering since she kept nipping out to the shops and getting lost in her last nursing home.
My friend cries and tells me her dad loves his mum so much that he sits with her and reminds her of all the little details she forgets. He tells the same stories again and he leads her gently by the arm to the same places. He's tender and careful. And so patient. She's fading and sometimes querulous, but he loves her. He sees her spirit, her history, and it transcends her failing brain.
So in heaven, there'll be healed memories. Resurrection brains won't deteriorate. And your dementing mother will be the woman of youthful vigour and care-worn wisdom that you love.
The fingerprints of this life may be on us, but the light of heaven will be within us, among us.
Somehow. God knows.
linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose.