| | |

When others forget….He remembers <3


So I have been accumulating thoughts about our years with “the Triplets”…my mom, dad and aunt; whose care and well-being were abruptly inserted into our family dynamics 12 years ago this July 23rd.

John and I made a rescue mission to their home in Kentucky to nab up the three of them…my dad in full blown Alzheimer mode…my aunt in the la la land of dementia … and my mom in complete physical, mental and emotional collapse.

I am putting together thoughts and writings from our journey of the next 7 years as we provided care for them and still maneuvered our three little birds through Junior High, High School and College.

I hope to present a book proposal at the writer’s Conference the end of July, but I may straight up go into therapy just walking back through my journals….IMG_0681

I have laughed and I have cried and I have relived so much of it…and I know a lot of you have or currently are walking through this with grandparents, parents, spouses or siblings.

It’s raw…it’s hard…and there is no guide book for it short of the good Book itself to get you through.

It occurs to me that someone out there might need to hear some words from someone who made it and lived to tell about it …maybe you can set down some of your guilt, admit your weariness and know you are not alone.

Indulge me, please…I wrote this about my dad when we were four years into the process…

“He used to tower over me, physically and emotionally. Now his bowed legs and spine have reduced him to eye-level. His tirades can be turned around by a clever change in conversation, but sometimes I am too tired and unenthused to come up with a diversion.

Our visits are limited to about 15 minutes – it is enough for both of us. My patience wears thin and he loses interest after several rounds of repetitive arguments.

I bring him no comfort and I do believe this is a pain that far exceeds the time that will come when he will not know me at all.

To tell him to change his clothes, and have him obey me is beyond humbling.

This man used to command whatever body of people was assembled around him at any given moment – his family, a committee, an office staff, even an entire department. He was a colonel in the Air Force and as a child; I believed he ran that whole branch of the military and perhaps even the country.

Now he holds my hand to walk down the hall so we can find his room. He obediently goes in and changes into the clothes I lay out on his bed and then asks me to help him with his buttons and his belt, because as he puts it: his fingers just don’t work right.

This man used to buy the most expensive suits and shoes he could reasonably afford.

Now he wears the same shirt and pants, and probably more – I really don’t want to think about it – for weeks at a time.

He can’t remember why he is in the nursing home, which he calls, depending on the hour of the day – church, a hotel, the office, or “this place”.

He knows it isn’t home, but when you ask him where home is he doesn’t really know that either.

There are funny things and I give myself permission to laugh.

He will tell you he grew up with just about all the residents of the nursing home. They are, for the most part life-time residents of Decatur and he grew up in Louisville, KY; but he delivered newspapers to a lot of their houses as a boy. And they nod their heads enthusiastically when he tells me. They are all happy with this story; so I just say “What a small world!” and go on.

I see God’s mercy in the midst of this very ugly and evil disease. I believe that this forgetting has a grace to it.

The pain does not accumulate for him over time; the frustration does not build for more than a few minutes and then it is forgotten.

God comforts my mom and me and our family in the pain when he lashes out. He may forget, but we don’t.

God gives us grace each time to go back again for another round.

And truly, it is a gift that, in his mind, he just got there yesterday and he is going home tomorrow.”IMG_5506

If this sounds familiar…I pray for you today. It is hard, dear one, but there is a sweet refining as you serve the Lord in the care of your loved one.

He knows. He sees. He does not forget you even if your loved one does.

May you be strengthened today to press on.

May you extend yourself grace when you grow weary.

May you know that He knows what you are made of and He will carry you through as you……

journey onward <3

Share and Save:


  1. Beverly Durham (remember her from Jenny Rogers?) and her husband have adopted my dad. I am so grateful for their love and support of him that I decided I needed to do the same for someone in Richmond. I’ve adopted my ex-husband’s aunt who is in a memory care unit. I joined her and the other residents for lunch yesterday. She repeated the same stories and asked the same questions throughout the visit. But she also told everyone (many, many times!) that though I am not “blood,” I am family. While it is hard to watch this once vibrant woman fade, that core of love fills me and provides new vitality for my life. Thanks for your post and the reminder that giving is rarely one-way and more often returns to us 10-fold.

    1. I do remember her…we towered over HER by 5th grade!! I ran into her on a trip back with our young family many years ago. Cute as ever! How sweet. And yes, we can be so thankful for those who also share the care of loved ones in our absence AND good for you to realize you can be that for someone else! God bless Sherrie. I know you went through a bit of the “forgetful’s” with your mom, tho as I remember, just repetition of things. Hugs your way!

  2. Thanks. HIS grace is all that has gotten me through the last 4 years. Sometimes I feel guilty having moved, but I decided I needed to be here more than I needed to be there right now. As it turned out that was a good decision, but I sure miss her. Thanks for having such a beautiful way with words.

    1. Susan, bless your heart. I said so many times that there was only one me and I can be in only one place so Lord, show me where that is. It is humbling to have to let others care for whoever you are NOT tending to…but we have to trust God. Much love and hugs sent your way <3

    1. I understand. I always felt like my time was a waste because I ended up hurting so badly and he seemed to not even know I had been there, but I know he knew in his spirit and that is never wasted time. God bless you to continue to press on in love. Sometimes we have to just tell ourselves that we are doing it for the Lord…and He blesses that. I would often literally say, “I am taking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to the dentist today” so I could get myself in the right attitude for our outing! Love you dear!

Comments are closed.