Discerning Choices When The Stakes Are High

By Tom Allen

Well, I have moved my wife, Julie, into a memory care community. (She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 57. She is now 63.) It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I used to feel that the older I got, the more skilled I would become at discerning God’s guidance. But this experience has changed that. My trusted ways of discerning seemed less reliable. I second guessed myself many times. And I was making life‐changing decisions for both of us without Julie’s participation:

  • ‐  Continuing to have her live with me, never being confident that she is safe, and being personally responsible for managing all of her care. Versus moving her to a memory care community where safety is assured, someone else manages her care, and I once again become her husband.
  • ‐  Moving Julie now when she is more able to cognitively adapt versus move her later when this would be more challenging.
  • ‐  Choosing a community in which to move her that best meets our mutual needs.I have been reminded by family, colleagues and others about different ways of seeing. These points of view have been helpful.
    • ‐  The purpose of prayer is not selectivity among choices, but rather increasing levels of trust and our capacity to receive life as sacramental. – Fr. Larry Gillick
    • ‐  There is no one right choice. (Really? This is incomprehensible to an Enneagram One). No place you choose is going to be perfect. – A Friend.
    • ‐  We are called to embrace necessary suffering that is a part of life. It is our attempt to avoid it that leads to unnecessary suffering. – Fr Richard RohrNow ten weeks after the move, we both seem to have come to a place of acceptance.