September 24, 2015, Phoenix- I drove a friend down here, this quiet and subdued evening, that she could pay homage to a woman for whom she cared, in the last throes of the lady’s battle with Alzheimer’s. I did not, of course, know the woman, yet seeing the story of her life, on video, and listening to my friend’s account of her interactions, I was as moved to tears as I would have been, had I known her.
We all have our differences of opinion, and for some, that is the be all and end all of relationships. Sitting in the chapel, though, and listening to the words of the immortal hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, as sung by Carrie Underwood, I can honestly say there was a total unity, that I have only rarely felt, when in a group of people previously unknown to me.
There are those who anticipate a cataclysmic occurrence, this very weekend, or not long afterward. I am a skeptic, along those lines. I believe that something such will happen, but on God’s timetable, not on Man’s. The truth is, each of us experiences our own personal calamity, from time to time. The Alzheimer’s and its aftermath were catastrophic to the departed woman and to her family and friends. Penny’s illness , of nearly eight years, was heart-wrenching to me, to our son and to our families-and how much worse it must have been to her, a woman of high intelligence, drive and achievement. Every day, people endure natural and man-devised crises and acts of destruction, such as few onlookers can appreciate.
Our strength, as a species, lies in our resilience. I am entering a phase, in my own recovery, that I could not have anticipated, even three months ago. This is how it has been, for the last four years and eight months: One step after another, relying mostly on faith, doing things that are humdrum and ordinary for many, but for which a person like me, come only with struggle.
I will surely thrive, even through the worst of whatever may lie ahead- so my spirit guide tells me, and I believe her.