There was one couple, who came every night for five nights, and in speaking with them, I learned that the wife’s sick parents were on the cruise with them, and that this was probably their last Christmas together. I asked why I had not met her parents, and she told me that her older sister had come along to take care of the aged couple for the trip because she was most familiar with their needs. She said they went to bed each night on a regular schedule. The young couple gave me a sense that the older sister was very protective and IN CHARGE!!
I do a lot of praying, and I know God was probably a little disgusted with my watery, and morose prayers. I was embarrassed to be feeling so ridiculously sorry for myself. It could not have been uglier… trust me, but I prayed for joy, and almost anything to cheer me up. What would he send to help me get through this one VERY LONG DAY? Wouldn’t you know it, God in his truly infinite wisdom, also has a serious sense of humor. I turned on the television and there was a movie just starting, so I thought cool, ‘I won’t go out to eat, I’ll order room service, and I’ll just lay here and watch.’ Have any of you seen the Notebook? Apparently I was the only one in the world who hadn’t seen it. When I later inquired of my friends, some cringed, and some just laughed out loud, especially when I told them that I had spent my lonely Christmas morning watching. For those of you who have not seen “The Notebook”, let me give you fair warning. This is not a movie you watch when depressed.
The main characters of the movie relive their love story of 50 years, as written in a personal diary or as the the writer calls it; the notebook. At the end you realize the storyteller had taken the time to write their story because she knew she was going to suffer severe memory loss with her progressing Alzheimer’s disease. IN the movie her husband reads the notebook story to her until her memory returns, and they have a few short moments of recognition where she know him and they are again as they were, before she floats away again, into her memory loss. He reads it to her time, and time again, waiting for those few minutes when she can remember him and they dance together to their favorite song. In the end they pass away, lying next to each other, during one of her moments of clarity, and are found the next morning by the attending nurses. This is a beautiful story though very sad.
She told me that she had refused to allow the situation to touch her fully until she found out whether or not I was believer. I did not understand what the issue would be regardless, but I assured her that God authors such miracles, and not men. I did not wish to debate her reasoning, because to me the fact that her mother woke up and knew her again was vastly more important than any religious opinion. God puts his stamp on many things none of us will understand on this side of heaven. She finished her story, in tears, saying how after her mother finished singing to her, she told her daughter thanks for all of her help, kissed her cheek, and then she vanished again. Everyone in the car knew that special gift was what the older sister had truly needed. She would have that memory long after her mother passed on. She wept, shook my hand, and thanked me for the music and for helping her mother come back to remember her. She thanked me even more that the music had taken her back to a place in her childhood long forgotten. She was overwhelmed that of all the things her mother could have remembered, all of the lost things, the forgotten things now gone from her world; that God had allowed the oldest daughter to be the one of the things remembered.