Monday, August 19, 2013


The mind is an amazing thing.

Did you know?

The average human has about 100 billion brain cells.  Weighing in at about 3 pounds, the brain is one of the largest organs in the body.  It's an electrical circuit board that processes somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 billions bits of information a second.

When it's working at optimum productivity, it's an incredible machine.

When it isn't – it's a heartache.

My father is disappearing.

Though we've not had a *formal* diagnosis of Alzheimer's I'm pretty sure that's what he has.

And over the course of the last few months especially, he is becoming but a shadow of who he once was.

Nancy Reagan wrote a book about her experiences with her husband, Ronald Reagan, and his battle with Alzheimer's at the end of his life.

She said that it was "a truly long, long goodbye."

Yes, I would agree.

And my heartache lately is not only that my dad is losing himself, it's that he is also forgetting me.

I can't describe the pain.

I'm his first child.  And we spent many years together.  When I had my sons, the legacy of time and friendship continued.  He was included in everything my family did.

All of this is gone now.

When he isn't resentful of my presence – which he often considers an intrusion – then he's suspicious of why I'm there.

He's always concerned that he's going to get into trouble for not obeying "the rules."  Not rules, Daddesperate attempts to help you.  Like use your walker ALL THE TIME to prevent the multiple falls you've had over the last few months.

My dad enjoys spending long lengths of time reminiscing.  However, many of his "facts" are based in a truth that he has manufactured.  His recollections are blurry at best.

He's told me that though he sees me now, he doesn't really remember me – because until recently, "he hadn’t seen me for 40 years."

My heart silently cries, "Dad, I was always there.  You were always there. I grew up with you.  My sons and I LIVED with you for many summers."

He argues with me that he was NOT home every night, as he thinks he was traveling all the time.  He seems to think that it was only my brother in all the home movies.  He's not sure who "that other girl" is.

My heart silently cries, "It was ME, Dad.  ME.  Your daughter…"

Yesterday he talked about family vacations.  He said he only remembered our family being there – so he didn't recall my presence.

My heart silently cried, "Dad, I am your family, too."

Sometimes he attaches my name to my face, but I can tell that there are only fleeting moments when he comprehends that I am related to him.  That I'm not just the "dark-haired woman who comes to see him from time to time."  

He doesn't remember me growing up in his household, nor the years that I worked for him at his business.   He doesn't remember things I did with him, nor things he did with my sons growing up.  He seems stunned that I remember so much.

"How do you know that?" he often asks.

I say, "Because I was there."

But my heart is silently screaming, "I WAS THERE!!!  ME.  SHARON. 

And though I feel frustrated, I know that underneath that feeling is a deep well of sorrow.  A pain that keeps on hurting.  And all that I can say and feel in my heart is the agonizing cry…

Dad, remember me?

It is brutal to accept that most of the time, perhaps all of the time, the answer to that question is no.  No, he doesn't remember me.

If Alzheimer's is the long, long goodbye – then being the daughter of that dreaded disease is an excruciatingly long, long grief.

It's like having a band-aid stuck to the hair on your arm.  And someone is pulling it off s-l-o-w-l-yone hair at a time.

Every visit is a new puzzle piece missing, a new forgetting, a new denial of the truth of the past, a new stab to my heart.

I cry out…


PLEASE remember me, please remember ME.

In some ways, it feels like I'm losing a bit of myself – like part of my identity and worth is being diminished.  Like somehow I'm getting sucked into his shadow of obscurity.

And if someday he looks at me and actually says, "Who are you?" – I feel like I might just shrivel up and die.


There is another Someone.

A SOMEONE who was rejected and betrayed and forgotten by the people close to Him.  A SOMEONE who longed to be known and loved, but was often ignored and left by the wayside of life.  A SOMEONE who actually had his Father turn away when he needed Him the most.

A SOMEONE who suffered all that because He longed for me.

For ME, Sharon.  

For me, SHARON.

And lately I have heard His dear and kind and gentle Voice speaking to me.

He knows me.  He did before I was born, and He'll know me for eternity. He knows me better than I know myself.  He knows what I think and feel and say and do.  He knows where I am at all times.

He leads me during the day, and watches me through the night.

He hovers like a mother hen, and protects me with eagle wings.

My hairs are numbered, my tears are recorded, my heart is cherished…

…and I am NEVER forgotten nor forsaken, NEVER lost nor let go.

I am held tightly by the Hands that formed me.

And when I am crushed by the weight of Alzheimer's, when I am incredibly despondent over the long good-bye, when I am slashed by the wounds of grief…

When my heart silently cries out, "Dad, remember me?"

I hear HIM answer:

"Yes, dear child.  I remember YOU."

My dad may not remember me, and that is an earthly cross to bear indeed. But, because of the Someone who bore the cross for me, I have a Heavenly Father who is as close as my heartbeat, as near as a breath.

Do you get this???

In the midst of it all, when we feel forgotten or ignored or dismissed, rejected or betrayed, may we never forget this one incredible fact

We are GREATLY loved.

I have now seen the One who sees me.

"'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…'" (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV)

"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!" (Psalm 139:17, NLT)

"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you…he who formed you…: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'" (Isaiah 43:1, ESV)

"O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.  You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!  I can never escape from your Spirit!  I can never get away from your presence!" (Psalm 139:1-7, NLT)

"'I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.'" (John 10:28, NIV)

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)

Have you felt forgotten lately?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Jen at UNITE

BLOG ="Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Oh Sharon, how incredibly you have articulated the pain of Alzheimer's. How thankful I am that you have Jesus as your comfort and strength.
    Many, many blessings!

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  2. So sorry you are going through this, we know it well. We went through it with my father-in-law and now again with my mother-in-law and my father has started it also. Yes it is painful. Yes it is a long goodbye. Yes we turn to the Lord. I need to send you the song my husband wrote for his Dad over is called, A Heart Still Remembers.

  3. I remember the long goodbye with my grandmother. It was hard to have her but she not be fully present. May God strengthen you as you walk along this journey.

  4. Oh Sharon, You have me nearly in tears. It must be so heartbreaking. It is so frightening also to think that we too could end up with that horrible disease. But you are right, we do have a Loving Heavenly Father, who we reject and ignore (well I do) and He is and will always be there for us, whatever, extending Grace and Mercy and Love.

    Take Care, Hugs for you

  5. I've said it before, you speak the words my own heart feels, so many times. I so relate to the pain of these days Sharon, it happened with my mother after her stroke. It was so painful. What I can tell you is that much later, after he is heaven, your heart will remember the days when he remembered, and he knew. For now, your closing says it all... God knows all of it, and He is never going to change or diminish in being close to your heart. One day... none of this will even be on our radar, as we are al together again and perfect.

    But for now, I pray for your heart, that God will smooth the whole process. Tears in Texas this morning for my friend. :)

  6. Sharon, I'm sorry for this pain you are going through. I understand how it can make you feel like you are disappearing. Under all the sorrow is the "lie" that you are being rejected. All the love and family life and memories that you built seem to never have existed--at least in the mind of the one you love so much. Our hearts pull every ounce of energy in us to try and make those memories vivid again. So much of our identity is tied up in the object of our love remembering the love we have given and the moments we have created together. It could be a father or a wayward son.
    Cling to those Scriptures and to Him who knows your pain and is holding you through it all.
    Draw closer to the Hubs as well.
    Praying for you and your father,

  7. I am so sorry Sharon, my heart breaks for you as I read this. We had similar problems with my FIL and a friend told us the same thing you ended your post with..We were told that we would always have a heavenly father who knew our name, knew every detail of our life, was always there, always available, ever watchful, ever caring, ever loving. Will be praying for you

  8. Your post reminds me of the Father's Day I missed my dad so much and God reminded me that He will always be a father to me and is always with me. I am feeling your hurt and can't imagine what this must be like. I think it is so important that you share this though so that we all can learn from it and hold you up in prayer as a stretcher bearer. Your faith is so comforting to me. So glad you included that photo. It lightens up everything and is so sweet!

  9. Hi Sharon, wow, such a powerful post and such a touching analogy. Our Father will NEVER forget us, but even without meaning to, our earthly fathers can and do let us down. Yours through illness, mine through alcoholism. This is such a great reminder for me that God will never let me down. Great post Sharon
    God bless

  10. Beautifully written from your precious heart. I totally understand, went through this with my momma. Praying for you, and your dad. I love you.

  11. Oh Sharon, my heart is up in my throat as I write this. Another dear friend of mine is going through this same thing. I remember well the first day that her mother didn't know her. She called my sister (her best friend) and just had a good cry.

    I truly think it is the worst goodbye, not just the longest. I really do lift you in prayer.

    I loved this wonderful reminder of the one who knew us before we were born and will never, ever forget us. Your heart wrote something beautiful today.

  12. Sharon, I am so very sorry that you are slowly losing your dad. My husband and I went through this with his mother several years ago and you are right, it is a slow death. I don't know how long she would have lived with the disease itself since she fell and broke a hip. She never put her feet on the floor again and about two months later, she went to be with Jesus. It is so sad to watch your loved one slowly fading away, isn't it. I am so sorry you have to go through this but I know you know the One who has ALL of the answers.

    May the Lord continue to lift you up and give you peace and strength to face the days to come. You have a true gift of writing it all out so beautifully...what a gift!

  13. Hi Sharon! Coming to you from Unite.

    What a heartbreaking thing. My mother-in-law had dementia, but she still knew who I was. I can't imagine your sadness at seeing a Dad who doesn't know his daughter. I will keep you in my prayers (is this the Anakim?) as I have in the past, that you will have the strength to overcome in those challenging days.

    Peace, blog-sister,

  14. What a talented writer you are. May God continue to use you for His glory. HE is with you through it all, and you are shining brightly. Thank you.

  15. No additional words, my friend...just a long distance cyber hug



  16. Thank you for sharing the heart break of Dementia and Alzheimer’s with us here at "Tell me a Story." I understand when my mother did not know who I was. Our Heavenly father does remember us daily and moment by moment.

  17. Sharon,

    I think this is one of the most difficult illnesses to have to deal with on both ends. You should read the book The Rockin' Chair by Steve Manchester. I think he does an exceptional job at writing his novel and helps people understand both sides of what Alzheimer's does. I pray for you that one day, this will all be a thing of the past. I love how you related this to our presence with our own heavenly Father and how often times we forget He's in our life because we don't always "see" Him physically.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  18. Dear Sharon, This has brought so many memories of my mother who suffered vascular dementia for over 16 years. I had her here near me and walked the aisles you are walking. The one thing Mama did not go through is forgetting me so I cannot totally walk with you through this. But I know. I know the heartache, the accusations I received that were totally false and then when a sibling chose to believe the mother who never lied rather than me, my heart was broken even more. Mama came to forget the whole episode, yet the sister did not for over 3 years. But Mama became more and more confused, more disoriented, angry, discouraged, jealous...not the mother I once knew.
    She just passed away this last January. I miss her terribly, but she is with the Lord and is no longer confused.
    I lift you up, Sharon, in prayer and thank you for writing from your heart so beautifully. Yes, you are loved by Your Jesus as am I. I need to remember that as well and you have reminded me.
    May His peace rain upon upon you and reign in your heart.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  19. My dearest Sharon... This is so heart wrenching and heart rendering that I'm only half way through because of the tears that welled up in my eyes and (well)you know why??? I ache for you, your heart, your dad, and probably your mom too!

    I will collect my tears and gather myself to return and read this because I know that you will share great wisdom and insight with spiritual lessons to be gleaned ... and it looks like we need Papa BIG TIME now and His Word of encouragement would definitely benefit and be an asset. I dared not even read the comments because I'm sure that they were many with tender thoughts and prayer and perhaps memories of such loss and profound sad experiences (that I'm sure I can't handle).And you being the sensitive soul, you are, did not mention this post, because you knew it would hit home ... I only wish I could do and say more to express my heart to you than to say, you are in my prayers, thoughts and heart. Our Father remembers you and deep within yours, he too has fond memories of how close you two existed.

    It takes a gifted (near saint) to be so close to the situation and come out from UNDER and shine with words that once again capture our hearts penned by a heart that is breaking, broken and bruised. May Our Father encompass you in His peace and bring you through this valley ... to a brighter side soon.

    I will now go back and finish (hopefully I did not blubber too badly and make a mess of typos through my clouded vision)... but my heart is so sensitive to your deep emotions and how I want to support you as you travel this road. I may or may not comment again ... but this ONE is a KEEPER and I hope that you are journaling all of this beyond what you share publicly. You are His beloved daughter and his treasured daughter, and a mind that has lost that incredible capacity does not erase what has been shared for a lifetime. Don't let him or the enemy destroy your mind and heart with these wounds and pierces of a looonnnggg goodbye. You are you and I'm sure he couldn't be prouder of who you were to him once upon a time and who you are and such a wonderful writer you've become and woman of God. I am so thankful that you are my friend, and pray we remain friends from a distance that love and support each other through crisis moments that cause a bump and thump in our throat and heart ... in the looonnngg nights and days to come... that we may be strong to face a loss that we can't quite grasp. You are beyond aMazing! You are strong and more than a conqueror so hold on to all of God's Promises and some fond memories of JOYFUL times to see you over this mountain of misty memories and hard heart aches to the glory of God beyond these days...

    Love, hugs, blessings and continual prayers from a heart that knows and is preparing as well,

    *Sidenote: Do you know "Lisa Notes"? She's moved her blog now but she went through ALZ as well with her parent (but it was her mom)and shared on that blog. My friend back in MN watched her mom go through this with her mom but she died before my friend had to face this same painful journey of being unknown.

  20. Sharon, we have only just met but I hear your heart cry and I am so sorry that you are having to go through this pain. The good news is that you know your heavenly Father and that He will get you through the rough days ahead....

    Your writing is beautiful even if it is revealing pain. I am glad you have this gift to help you handle the pain.....

  21. Thank you for being vulnerable in sharing the journey of this pain with us. By sharing, you are transforming pain into beauty- thanks for linking up!!

  22. My grandfather suffered Alzheimers. It is truly a horrible, horrible disease! And so very hard on the family. Praying for you during this time.

    And yes, praise God our Heavenly Father will never, ever forget us.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!


  23. Gosh Sharon so many people write such nice long letters - but all I can think of to say is I'm sorry - it is hard to lose someone this way. Hugs too. sandie

  24. Sharon, I am so sad to learn that you are living through this painful and lonely time. And at the same time, I appreciate how you shared how God has lifted you up and comforted you.

    blessings to you. I will add you to my prayer time.

  25. This is a heartbreaking time...I am so sorry that you are walking through such a time of grief. I love how, even through your sorrow, you look to God and remember that He loves you and remembers you. No matter what we go through, He is always there with us. Thank you for sharing your heart, Sharon. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Trusting Him, Joan

  26. Oh dear friend, how sorry I am that you are going through this pain. I will be praying that you will feel God especially near today, and as the road becomes long and your heart full of grief.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)