On our journey, I believe Jesus desires us to be our authentic, child-of-God selves.
FTD is Not a Bouquet of Flowers
FTD is Not a Bouquet of Flowers
If I get a delivery at my door with Mercury Man on the logo of the box, I am thrilled. That means someone thought of me and ordered flowers from Florists’ Transworld Delivery which is more affectionately known as FTD.
But for my friends who had dinner at my home last night FTD means something grim. For them it is a 24/7, day after day, month after month, and year after year watching someone they love slowly slip away. FTD (FrontoTemporal Dementia) has knocked on their door and is not going away. And, believe me, it did not leave a bouquet of flowers.
FTD first expresses itself in the person you love in apathy which is often mistaken for depression. Later the person with FTD becomes increasingly self-centered, withdrawn, unaware of the emotions of others, and they become disinterested in hobbies and interests which previously occupied their time.
As if that is not bad enough, as the disease progresses, inhibitions disappear and the person you love becomes impulsive, hugging and kissing strangers, overeating-especially anything sweet, expressing frustration with frequent inappropriate outbursts. The person with FTD lives an unfiltered life without boundaries of propriety or pattern.
My friend who now has this terrible disease has loved her husband, raised her children, worked tirelessly in the church, used the gifts of music God gave her. She cooked for her family, baked countless strips of banket ( a flakey crusted – at least hers was flakey – pastry filled with almond paste and sugar), and did countless deeds of kindness for those around her.
And now she is like a small child, always outwitting the adults around her with irrational acts.
But this is what I saw in my home on Sunday night. I saw a woman who with all her childlike behavior was indescribably cared for by her husband, her sister and her brother-in-law. They keep her looking pretty even though that is no longer important to her. They distracted her when she became anxious about what was going on and when for the tenth time she asked if she could brush her teeth, included her in the conversation, gave answers to her many questions, led her away from things which could harm her, and validated her.
I saw the grace of Jesus pervading every inch of my home through the sweet gratitude of the child-woman and the unashamed kindness of her care-givers. Their tears are private. Their patience is tried but still true. Their sense of is humor intact. Their unwavering faith is strong. But their journey is long and tiring. And they don’t see light at the end of the tunnel as far as any “getting better” is concerned. She will only get worse. There is no cure for her FTD.
But they know the Jesus who heals the heart even when there is “no human cure.” They have heard him say, “You can go in peace into the uncharted territory of the FTD afflicting the one you love. Your faith has healed you.”
I think I’ll send them some flowers from FTD.
PS. The family’s only regret is that they did not understand what was going on early in the disease. They hope that if there is someone in your life who, at a rather young age, has unexplained behaviors, you will go to the following sites for information. www.ftd-picks.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Vander Zee
Author of WOMAN MEETS JESUS
Journey of Faith