I wrote of Jacquie Beebe here on June 5, 2011. Since then so much has happened. She’s gone to stay at an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s fallen, broken her hip and collar bone, and been remanded to a rehabilitation center to learn to walk again. The world keeps spinning ’round and ’round, but she’s stuck in a place somewhere between reality and dream.
Daily visits, which last several hours, generally involve answering the same questions or statements over and over again without end. “I don’t know what’s going on. How do I get out of this mess?” “I’m afraid.” “Where am I?” “How do I get out of here?” and “Where is my bed?” I would guess that she knows who I am less than a quarter of the time any more; when she does recognize me, she only knows me as “the funny guy.”
My mother-in-law and friend is completely unaware that she has a metal plate and pin in her hip, and a 6 inch scar to prove it. When she asks why she’s in the hospital, the answer always surprises her. “You fell and broke your leg” we say. “You’re not joking me, are you?” she’ll ask. “No, it’s the truth. I wouldn’t lie to you.” She’ll then reach down and feel her leg, then ask, “Where is my leg?”
A few nights ago, Jacquie was laying in her bed, eyes closed. She looked much older than her 75 years. I was laying next to her and thought that she had finally fallen asleep. After a few minutes, her lips began to move and I could faintly hear breathy words coming from her lips. I leaned in close, thinking that she was talking in her dreams, as she always does. I listened. Slowly, and almost imperceptibly the words staggered out:
“Jesus love me! this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; I am weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”
I smiled with a tear in my eye. I couldn’t do anything different.
Jacquie no longer usually knows her own name. She only occasionally recognizes her husband, daughter, and me. She doesn’t even know if her legs are attached to her body. But she knows that Jesus loves her.
You know what? He does.
Re-printed from August 13, 2011. Jacquie Beebe passed away on Thursday, May 23, 2012 after the long good-bye of Alzheimer’s Disease.