I sat beside my father in the loungeroom, silence filling the air.
My boys had been running around, fighting, pushing the boundaries – as they often do – while my mother followed after them.
But my dad?
He just sat there, alternating between watching the news and seemingly staring into space.
I sat there too, wondering if my presence made a difference.
Then he spoke.
“I think I have dementia…” he said.
Then I saw his newspaper clipping on the table. It was filled with gloomy looking black-and-white pictures of people in their eighties being fed by a spoon, and dire stories of once-great minds deteriorating.
“How do you feel about that?” I replied, knowing full well he’d had it for a long time now.
He told me he couldn’t use numbers anymore and lots of things were fuzzy.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so sad.
You see, while everyone is intelligent in their own way, my father is next-level.
He’s a linguist who in his day managed to master more than 15 languages, and his attention to detail was incomparable.
He was gregarious, dynamic, and talkative… the life of the party.
And he was always proud of the things his mind could do.
But now, he sits lifeless, powerless, humbled.
His power is gone – or so it seems.
But as I sit, I remember Paul’s beautiful prayer in the book of Ephesians:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
Earthly power might have been stripped away from him, but the same power that raised Jesus from the dead still lives in him, many years after committing his life to Christ.
And, though my father is frail, one day, before long, this power will raise him from the dead as well.
All will be restored – and more.
So while we sit in the reality of a world devastated by illnesses of all kinds, we can look forward to the day when everything will be made right.
It was time to go, so I patted his thin shoulder.
He didn’t have the energy to stand up.
“Don’t be scared, dad,” I said.
“You’re safe with Jesus. He’ll look after you.”
And he’ll look after you too, no matter where you are on the journey, and however scary and sad things feel.
He’s got you, and one day he’ll carry you home.
Tears, hugs and prayers. And thank you for the truth, even in the midst of hard things. Blessings and love.
Thanks so much Debbie. Hugs right back, dear friend.
Powerful message! I enjoyed reading your post!
ouch…that really tugs at the heart strings. His beautiful brilliance shines through even with the dementia…for him to recognize it when it is so far along already is quite amazing. I hope he feels the peace of Jesus as he navigates this chapter. And you too.
That’s a beautiful thing to say, and true. I agree. Amen, praying that he’ll still find ways to connect. Hope you’re doing well Denise.
Alison, thank you for posting this! You are right! Your dad was someone I would not expect to get dementia. He has been so exceptional in life, especially with languages! And he was a very social person, too. We will certainly be praying for him and all of you who love and care for him. Please give our love and greetings to him and your mum! With our love and prayers to all of the family, Luke and Marie
Thank you for writing, Uncle Luke and Aunty Marie. Yes, so true. Thanks for your kind words and your prayers. Will do. Sending you love and praying you are well. Ali
Absolutely beautiful ….love ur parent dearly … praying for them lov from us both xxxx
Beautiful, thank you so much for your love and care.
Thank you for posting this, Alison. It is very difficult for you all. But the hope of the Christian is our comfort that God is in total control. And He supplies so much to His precious children. Your parents are long time friends of ours. Denis still remembers the day your parents & some of you kids went off to Vanuatu. A mighty man of God! A brilliant linguist as you mention. May God, our wonderful Lord & Heavenly father help you all through this difficult season in your lives. Remember, your dear Dad has been used by God over many years & to many people. Much love from us . Denis & Caroline Shelton.
Thanks so much for writing, Denis and Caroline. Lovely to hear from you and read your reflections. It’s so good to remember that God is in control and will continue to supply all our needs. Thank you for being such good friends to my parents over the years. You are both a true inspiration to them.
And a wonderful memory! Thank you so much for your encouragement! May God bless you both richly. Alison
So very poignantly & beautifully written, & especially in the light of this very tough, but earthly only, reality! What a blessing though to have parents such as yours – a VERY dear & special couple! Love & prayer!
Thanks so much! Yes, they are very special and unique, that’s for sure. I’m so grateful they both know Jesus and look forward to heaven. God bless you!
Oh, Alison. We happen to be on parallel journeys—you with your father, and me with my precious mama. Oh what a day it will be when we cross over that Jordan and into His presence: gloriously whole and free from the heartbreak of this earthly reality! Until that day, His grace proves to be sufficient over and over and over… Prayers and hugs for you, dear sister.
I’m sorry to hear that! So hard… but yes, what a day that will be! Well said xx
So heartfelt and hopeful. Glad you’re able to see his circumstances in light of eternity.
Thanks so much, Mitch. Yes it helps to have an eternal perspective doesn’t it?
Such an emotional post…
Thanks, it came from the heart.