Lauantai 22.9.2018
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Blog: Old man

in English 23.1.2018 06:32 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
I met an old man walking down the nursing home corridor. He smiled kindly, stopped, and said: “I guess I should know you, but I do not remember who you are because I have this Alzheimer’s”.
The man asked me to come and have coffee with him. He had no recollection of the time when we had been acquaintances, but that did not prevent us from sharing experiences. He still remembered many events of his previous life.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. According to current statistics, it affects 2 percent of people aged 65–67 and as many as 35 percent of those over 85. The disease gradually closes the ”door to memories”. As it progresses, the patient no longer feels himself ill. All of his actions slow down, however, and he seems to live in a land of naive happiness. The man I met in the nursing home was 90 years old.

Over a cup of coffee he told me he had recently begun to think about spiritual matters and now found them extremely important. We moved on to discuss faith. When I was leaving, I asked the old man if I could bless him. He consented and accepted the gift of the forgiveness of sins.

Less than a year later I returned to the nursing home. I went to see this old man. He did not remember me or my previous visit, but he asked me to join him in his room. We had a nice chat, although he had to ask for my name a few times.

Suddenly the man stood up and said it was time to enjoy a treat that he had been saving for a long time. I was a bit worried, but quite needlessly. He went to the freezer and took out a big tub of ice cream. I got up to get plates, but the man only asked for two spoons.

We then ate ice cream straight from the tub - I on one side, he on the other. He said once again that this was a festive occasion; that he had kept the ice cream tub especially for this visit. ”This was just for you, whoever you were again?”

When I got up to leave, the man mentioned spiritual matters. I asked him if I could bless him in the same way I had done the previous time. He nodded, bowed his head, and accepted the blessing. Then he looked at me with a happy smile and said: ”Now I remember you!”

The door to this old man’s memory opened up for a moment. I still remember the happy brightness of his eyes. A couple of months later those eyes closed to this world for ever.

Text: Erkki Alasaarela
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen

You will find the original Finnish blog post here.

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