I was visiting my mother recently. She has many challenges, both physical and cognitive, and is living in a memory care facility. Some of her challenges, such as low energy and confusion, mirror my own following cancer treatment. While the similarities can be a little frightening to me, it does help me relate to her situation. The difference is that I am expected to improve over time, while she is looking at a long period of guaranteed decline.

Throughout all of this, she has managed to maintain a fairly sunny outlook. During our visit she told me this story: She had signed up to go to a bible study group at the care center. She is no longer able to process academic information, but it would be a good social event around a topic she enjoys. When she got to the class, it was announced that the regular teacher would be absent. A support person from the facility quickly improvised a back up scenario. All of the wheelchairs were arranged in a big circle, and the students were asked to go around and share something that they would like to pray for.

My mom said, “When it was my turn I couldn’t think of a prayer, so I told a joke”.