Today's daily devotion

Greetings, Stranger

Love your neighbor as yourself.—LEVITICUS 19:18 (JPS)

As we walked along the busy city streets, Mom pulled away from me to greet one more person. “Here we go again,” I muttered quietly.

“Hello, dear, how are you?” Mom asked a woman in a wide sun hat. She stepped into her path and gave her a big hug.

“Do I know you?” the woman said, clearly startled by the display of affection.

Uh-oh, I thought, what should I do now? I didn’t want to tell this stranger that Mom had Alzheimer’s. By labeling her, I would be limiting the way this woman saw her. Besides, after a few minutes of conversation with Mom, it was usually easy to tell there was something wrong anyway.

“I think we’ve made a mistake,” I finally said, stepping in to take Mom’s hand, “but it’s a pleasure to meet people with nice smiles.”

As a parting gift, Mom gave the woman another hug. And then we were on our way. I knew it was useless to feel embarrassed. My enthusiastic mother never missed an opportunity to greet someone or say hello. It was as if she was wired to spread joy, and as her Alzheimer’s progressed, it seemed that that touch, that human connection, was nearly all she had left.

I couldn’t control how Mom interacted with the world, nor did I want to.

Dear God, help me to accept my loved one in all her glory, and to find blessings in the ways she still seeks connection.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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