Crystal was wondering if Billy wasn't probably right. “Mum hasn't recognized me for nearly a year now, but it's her birthday. It's the right thing to do.”

“I don't understand why I have to go. She's your mum,” said Billy.

“Not another word. You're going and that's final,” Crystal replied with tears.

“Alright, chill out, Mum,” as he stomped away.

The thirty minute trip to the nursing facility didn't seem as long after making the same run five days a week for the past two years, but tiring, nonetheless.

“We're here! Help your Dad get the cake and presents from the trunk,” she said.

Billy responded. “Great, now we can listen to Mama quote scripture and wear her cake.”

“Get the cake and put a zipper on it,” the Dad said with a right now glare.

Mum was sitting by the window just staring and rocking her chair with her bible laying on her lap. A familiar sight. She always said that spending time with the Lord was like looking out of a window. Something new to see every time.

Crystal, upbeat as usual, started the celebration with singing Happy Birthday as some of the staff nearby chimed in.

“Happy Birthday, Mum,” she said.

“My darlings, you shouldn't have,” Mama answered.

Billy forgetting Dad had drawn the line on his mouth for the day, responded. “What was that gibberish?”

“Is that little Billy? My, how you've grown,” she responded.

Sometimes Mum just continued staring out of the window my entire visit and other times she would mumble most of the time. I suppose it does sound like gibberish, but I like to think she is still in there somewhere.

No sooner had the celebration began, when an aide stepped in and asked us to leave for a few minutes so they could clean Mum up. Seems like they wait until you get there every time.

Crystal got her mom's attention and said, “We'll be back in a few minutes.”

“Jesus, I can't stand this part. It's so embarrassing,” whispered Mama.

“Sweet child, come here and let me hold you in my arms. Have I told you how much I love you lately?” asked the Lord.

She giggled and said, “Don't be silly. You tell me that all the time.”

“Child, I going to take you home with me today, but before we leave I want you to tell your family bye for now and that I love them.”

When we came back into the room. Mum was sitting in her rocker actually reading her bible with a glow on her face like she always carried before she got sick.

I was about ready to speak when Mum said very clearly, “It was so nice of you kids to come and spend my birthday with me.”

“Mom!” I started.

“Listen! I'm not going to be with you much longer, but Jesus said to tell you that He loves you.” as she sat down in her rocker. “I hate to bring this day to an end, but I'm getting very tired.” as she glanced out of the window.

I wanted to stay and just catch up. It had been so long since I've been able to have a conversation with mum. We use to shop and talk till we dropped. But, it had been a long day, as I leaned over and kissed her cheek and told her I loved her.

We were just about to leave the room when Mum said, “Billy, you're going to make a fine preacher someday. The Lord said you'd understand what I'm saying.

We were all pretty quiet on the trip home. In a little disbelief that Mum had come around long enough to celebrate her birthday with us. I thought, “God is good.” when suddenly the car phone rang. The nurse on the other end said Mum was in her rocker, her bible opened and peacefully went to sleep shortly after we'd left. I thought, “Be it like the Lord to give us this memory of mom's last birthday.”

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease to watch a love one or friend go through. It affects the lives of everyone associated with the victim. Most often, it is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide. This disease is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

In conclusion, I believe just as the Lord held Mama in His arms when she was afraid. He'll be right there no matter what you're going through to whisper in your ear. “I love you and will never leave you or forsake you.”

The End

Michael Cochran

In His Arms