Over the last year, I have been documenting the life of my father n law with Alzheimer's Disease in a project called Life with Pito.
On Friday, Pito underwent surgery. He had gangrene on his big toe that progressed to a deep bone infection. The doctors tried intravenous antibiotics for several weeks, while cleaning the wound on multiple occasions. They decided that they would amputate the toe in order to prevent the infection from spreading further to his foot and leg. Initially, the doctors thought they'd have to take several toes, but they were able to get all of the infection by only amputating one. Pito's age of almost 81 and Alzheimer's were both added concerns as he underwent surgery on Friday. We are all grateful that the surgery went so well. Pito is now home and healing with Mita (his wife) by his side.
Trials in life, such as these, are never easy to walk through. I cannot even begin to really understand the daily journey my mother n law travels with Pito. Her example of love and never ending grace and devotion will stay with me forever. Her faith in Jesus and His plan and His provision continues to guide me on my own walk with Christ. Friday, at the hospital, I was reminded again of what an incredible wife and mother she is. I was filled with so much emotion as I watched her nurse and love him with such care and detail.
I don't know if I could continue to be as strong as she is. I know her heart aches as she has watches Pito's health decline and his memory fade, yet, she continues to find ways to praise God for the blessings of each day. She continues to care for him at home and gives him the utmost attention and love. It really is extraordinary.
I am grateful that our children could come with us to the hospital to show love and support to their grandparents. In addition, I am thankful that they could witness the beautiful example of family commitment. Family and friends (that are like family) stopped by all day to pray, to encourage, and to show their love and support. We spent hours reminiscing on special memories. What a gift it was for our children to hear these stories and to see this display of love.
Family is a gift that I never want our children to take for granted. These people we love, and who also love us, are an integral part of our lives. Friday, was such a reminder of this for me. I am grateful our children could see the example of servant hood and love in such a real way.
Many emotions were felt and realized throughout the day. There was sadness and worry of what the future would hold; but ultimately, there was joy in knowing God was with each of us and with Pito. His faithfulness was demonstrated in many ways.
Often we talk to our children about putting their faith in Christ, but for them to see this example lived before them, is something that is far greater than our words. After Pito's surgery, we met him back in his hospital room. A smile immediately came upon his face as the children walked to his bedside. He reached out for their hands and kissed them with such tenderness. Later that afternoon, I was talking to Mita about how special this was. She looked at me and reminded me of the prayers we had said earlier in the day and that so many people had also said. And then she told me to be sure that I went home and thanked Jesus for the blessings of this day. She gave Him all the glory, confidently trusting in His plan.
Alzheimer's may steal so much from our family, but there are still these brief smiles, connections and moments of love. These are the memories I want to hold on to. These are the moments that I believe keep Mita strong. I pray that these will be the memories that our children remember from their Life with Pito.
Pito's life with Alzheimer's has shown me that even when I don't understand why, I can always trust that Jesus is with us.
Light in my darkness. Peace for my soul. You are my rescue. You've never let go. All my hope is in You. All my strength is in You. With every breath, my soul will rest in You. Here in my weakness. Always the same. Your love is my shelter. Your life is my way. -"All My Hope" Hillsong United
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect through weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9