Her father had been a pastor and a very active practical man. In his last months he rarely spoke and showed symptoms of dementia – he was morose and obstinate, to his wife’s distress. Heather told us,
‘Three weeks before dad died we visited him for the last time. It was 9.00 in the evening when we eventually got there and he was in bed. He was certainly himself; pleased to see us with flashes of humour. Ken asked him if he would like a cup of tea and while he was away getting it, dad and I chatted.
‘He told me he had dreamed of Jerusalem, ‘my heavenly home’, and went on to say that in the last months (while he had been silent) God had been speaking to him.
‘I was eager to know what He’d said! Dad said the Lord had reminded him that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholds him with His hand because he trusts in Him.” (Psalm 37:23).
‘This gave me such comfort, as it told me that dad had reached some place of acceptance of his losses.
‘We read Psalm 121 and prayed together. In the morning, dad dressed in his suit with a carefully pressed hanky in his top pocket. We played Scrabble together with mum and as usual, he won convincingly.
‘The news went round that ‘Jabez’ was smiling! Different staff came by to see this rarity!
‘This is my last happy memory of my father and I am so grateful. A day or two later he regressed and didn’t leave his bed again. We were so grateful to know that in that dark time of depression God had been speaking.’
Don’t be misled by the outer appearance of someone with dementia. Although the disease may mask it, the person is still there – and the Holy Spirit communicates in ways we’ll never understand this side of Glory.