She kept repeating, “I am so confused! I cannot remember! I am afraid!” She was near panic. She had not been this confused in a long time. She could not remember where she was. She would ask me this. I would answer and then she would ask me again, and again. Such can be the state of her reality when her dementia became cruel and unsettling. She was afraid she would forget who she was.
All I could think to do was to tell her that even if she forgot who she was, God would not ever forget her. This made her stop and think. She is very old. She is 94 years old. She has no one left. He dementia is not constant. She has good days and bad days. She can be very articulate and is always polite and caring, even when facing the fear she was facing now.
Reminding her of God’s love is the only thing that seems to help when these episodes arise. She is a woman of faith. She misses taking Eucharist. I am considering giving it too her even though my ordination is with a denomination that does not hold to the sacramental nature of this ritual that I have come to embrace. I am too old to pursue the path for recognition of orders or ordination in another mainline denomination. I have about decided that the concept of apostolic session is more man-made than God sanctioned. I know God has called me to pastoral care and the celebrant role even though I do not have the sanction of a bishop to authorize me to bless the elements as they become the living mystery that is the body and blood of our Lord.
But this dear saint needs the sacrament and in the age of ‘Covid no priest or elder can be present in the bubble in which she lives. There is only me. I seek discernment as to how I should proceed.
I pray with her. I start a word game with the other residents. She becomes involve and the fear and panic ends for now. This darkness will return. I will do my best to help her get ready. We will again talk of the day in which Jesus will return, if it just for her. She has hope. Somehow I know it will be enough.