On Dementia

By now, I've met first hand someone with serious dementia. This is the second person I know directly. The first one was our first landlord, and kind old lady from our former Chinese church. However, this last one, has a severe case of short term memory lost. I'll call her T. Because of this, it not only peaked my interest and curiosity in this topic, but also the fear of God. We are so fragile as a human being we often times do not consider how much because we took for granted our healthy body, brain function, age, ability in life by either comparison or just simply without much gratitude to His providence. I recall what Doctor Mike said to a little girl who aspired to be a doctor: I like you, would you be my doctor? Deal? Indicating that we all grow old and eventually our corruptible nature will fail us inevitably, no matter how smart we think we are right now.

T is/was a missionary to the Japanese community either in U.S. or in Japan. She visited our church to brief us on her work this past Sunday. However, half way through she forgot what she was doing or how we obtained the slides. After the service, we realized that she kept forgetting and repeating the same questions she asked: i.e. where are you from, did I say anything funny, etc. It became so severely obvious that it's a case short term memory lost (the correlation would be Dementia, but it's just a guess), that we have to drive her home. I volunteered to drive her car and Nadia followed behind for 30 minutes. While in the car, I kept the conversation with her going, though repeatedly on the same lines, it is still better than risking her suddenly not knowing who I was if we stayed quiet. One of her reasoning: Because I live as a single, prompted me to wonder how this come to be. Why do we get senile, losing memory, and the more severe case of the brain as we age.

I believe for one, she may have a wrong view of being celibate for God. And this is the result of it. It appears that she couldn't remember interaction with people (i.e. lunch together, etc.) but she remembered things when she's alone, i.e. going to bathroom.

Our brain is not impervious to fragility. And how we treat it in how we think in our daily lives matter. If we are always angry, it will affect our brain as we get old. If we are always ignorant of small things, that will affect the brain eventually as well. If we mess with contradictory philosophy of life, it will damage our brain in the future. The younger ones tend to take this for granted, but should I fail, I pray those around me show much a little grace.

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