There are a lot of similarities between Lent and Alzheimer's disease. Lent begins in a lousy time of year. It's cold and gray and spring seems very far away. The diagnosis of AD begins a lousy time in a person's life, and the promise of better days seems to vanish. The Lenten season is often one of deprivation, people give up their favorite things as a way of remembering the sacrifice the Lord made for us. The season of AD is also characterized by the giving up of favorite things: driving, jobs, independence. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and the outward sign of ashes on the forehead is a sign to all that the marked person is embarking on the season of Lent. The outward signs of AD aren't quite as apparent, but the glossy, vacant look in the eyes of an AD victim that stare back at you from recent family photos is the true mark that another person has embarked on the journey of AD.
So as today marks the 40th post in 40 days, I am calling on my faith to bring us all through this journey. Lent ends on Easter Sunday, in the glorious resurrection of our Lord and the promise of eternal life. My hope, my belief, my prayer (when my faith wanes) is that the journey our parents are on will end with their glorious meeting with the Lord and the full restoration of their health as they live forever in paradise.