As regular visitors to a Nursing Home we see the effects this has on some of the people there.
We have also seen it affecting our own family.
We visited with a relative last week his mother.
She has a form of dementia.
She and her late husband had much influence in our spiritual growth as Christians.
She was always a very gracious and active lady and very involved in her family and the life of the Church.
To the casual onlooker there does not seem to be much wrong in that you can have a conversation and she is seemingly aware of who you are but more than half an hour with her and things are not what they seem.
She is still happy and content within her own world but family find it very difficult when they no longer have their mum with all her faculties.
If there is a good form of dementia to have hers would appear to be a better one.
Some of course change their personalities and become very difficult when they have dementia.
One of the questions that comes up are about what sort of quality of life does a person with dementia have?
It is hard to know.
In early stages some can still express that they are content and accepting of their condition.
A question also comes up as to when we are actually dead?
Does loss of faculties count for death?
I think not.
One of the things I have pondered on lately is the concept of there being no time in eternity,heaven.
In a sense when we are there we will be there at the same moment as our loved ones.
We will not have arrived today and they will not have arrived years ago as there is no timescale in eternity and bodies and life have become eternal.
A wonderful man Bill Armstrong has just died in this last week.
He had his faculties right to the end.
His beloved wife Jessie has had dementia for a while now and has lost her ability to know people.
She still lives and Bill is in Heaven.
In reality it may be she is already there with him.
New International Version (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."
In this sense we are already blessed in the heavenly realms.
We are already there but until physical death we don't really appreciate that our experience of eternal life starts at our new birth in Christ.
So to my way of thinking if I was to die tomorrow I will already have my Christian family there with me even though in our time frame they have not yet passed from this life.
Maybe this all sounds far fetched but it gives me some comfort.