It hurts to see a loved one Suffer from Alzheimer’s Desease


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By Jenny Shinsky

“Don’t step on a crack,” she said.

“Why not,” I asked.

“Because you will break your mother’s back,” she said.

I turned to her. “But you’re my mom,” I said and she laughed.

My mom and I go through this bit quite often. She always laughs when I feign surprise and exclaim that she is my mom. I love to see her laugh and smile. It makes me happy – but yet sad. You see my mom suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

She tells people I am her daughter but I’m not sure she knows what that means. Does she know that she gave birth to me? Does she know how she shaped and molded me to become the woman I am today or is the word “daughter” just a label she associates me with?

When she was first diagnosed, it seemed unreal. Sure she was forgetting things more than normal but she still knew the names and birthdays of her children. She could still have a conversation with relatives about the good old days and she still knew when my dad would sneak outside to smoke a cigarette. In fact, until that day at the doctor’s office, she was still driving.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I fully understood the reality of her disease. It was the Fourth of July and I was talking to friends at a picnic. My mom walked over and introduced herself to them. At first I thought she was joking but it soon became apparent she really did not know who they were.

These were my dearest and closest friends that I have known since childhood. They spent many days and nights at my house and participated in family activities and outings. She thought of them as her own.

The doctor told me that she would have good days and bad days. He did not tell me that I, too, would have good days and bad days. I grieved when she no longer knew my friends and again when she could no longer use the stove. I grieve each time her illness reaches a new stage and I see her decline.

With the grace of God, I have learned to accept my mother’s illness and embrace both the good and bad days.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV) says

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

My mom and I are walking through a dark valley at this time in our lives but we are not alone. She does not remember as much as she once did, but she has never forgotten her love for the Lord. She knows she is a daughter of the King who is also her great comforter.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

As God holds us up in his righteous right hand, he teaches me to live in the moment and cherish the small things like my mother’s laugh or the silly joke she always shares about breaking your mothers back.

On some days, mom cannot string together a full sentence, but she always has a smile on her face. That smile comes from her love of God who shines through her and reflects on everyone she meets.

Jenny Shinsky is a writer and bible study leader who is called to serve in women’s ministry through teaching and writing. She calls your attention to our awesome God while living with every day struggles.

You can read more about Jenny at  http://jennyshinsky.com

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26 thoughts on “It hurts to see a loved one Suffer from Alzheimer’s Desease

  1. “The doctor told me that she would have good days and bad days. He did not tell me that I, too, would have good days and bad days.” Jenny, my eyes began welling up when I first started reading, but when I got to this part? Oh my. I’m so sorry for this road you are on with your mom. And so glad for the comfort God gives through his Word.

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  2. Jenny, I found you on the Women With Intention link-up . . . your words are such an encouragement. Truly, He is with us as we go through the dark valleys of life. Thank you for sharing your situation and this beautiful truth.

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  3. Dearest Jenny,
    I am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing as you love your mom in the midst of this disease. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that she still experiences the joy of her salvation! That is an amazing blessing! Your example of enjoying the good days, and trusting God through the tough days is so inspiring!
    Blessings,
    Kamea
    PS – Hi Lisa! I’ve missed connecting over the last little while. I hope that all is well with you and your family. Much love to you ❤

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  4. Jenny, I’ve walked a similar path. My mom had vascular dementia. She was diagnosed in March 2014 and died in November. It is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry you are having to walk this path. Your post is real and tender. God bless you. Stopped by from #GraceTruth

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    • Leah I’m sorry to hear about your Mom. Thank you for showing our friend Jenny that you can relate. My Dad died two years ago and his Birthday was May 6th- just a few days ago. Missing someone we love is indeed a sad time. Blessings to you and God’s mighty strength on the hard days when grieving feels so overwhelming.

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  5. My husband & I are walking a similar path. We lost my MIL to Alzheimer’s last April & my FIL is now in a nursing home. It is heartbreaking. It is amazing how the Lord stays close to them (& us) through it all. Play her favorite songs as music is such a wonderful balm & truly jogs the memory. This was tender, real, and heartbreaking yet sure to bring strength to others on this same path. May God bless you both!

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    • Oh Joanne – I’m so sorry that you and your husband are going through such a sad time. I remember my grandparents having Alzheimer’s before they died. It was so heartbreaking. I was in High School when I witnessed this and it really hurt me to see such a hard thing. I broke for my parents as they watched and stood by my Grandparents. Thank You for sharing your kindness today with Jenny.

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  6. Your words brought me to tears, Jenny. Thank you for being so transparent as you shared. I know the Lord will use this to bless others in a similar situation. Hugs and Prayers for you and your family as you walk through this season together. God bless, Tina

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  7. Jenny- I am so close with my mom and I can barely imagine how difficult it is to watch this disease take hold. I love your honesty here and your encouragement. Thanks for sharing your lovely mom with us and for these lines: ” My mom and I are walking through a dark valley at this time in our lives but we are not alone. She does not remember as much as she once did, but she has never forgotten her love for the Lord. She knows she is a daughter of the King who is also her great comforter.” What a great perspective for all of us. Blessings to you~

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  8. Jenny, I’ve walked with others down this road and know the heartache it can bring. What joy there is knowing your mom knows the Comforter and walks through this with Him and with you. I pray God’s peace and comfort continue to surround you on the good and not so good days.

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  9. Coming to you from Grace & Truth – thank you so much for sharing from your heart your journey. Good days and bad days are never out of the sight of Him who loves you with an everlasting love. He knows the end from the beginning and knows all things. Your yielded heart is showing and it’s a good thing – a very good thing. In Him, ~Chris~

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  10. Pingback: In this dark valley | Jenny Shinsky

  11. Beautifully written about your sweet mother and both your struggles. My MIL, who lives with us, is also declining with Alzheimer’s but is becoming hateful, irritable and a little combative at times. She has served God for her entire life but for some reason cannot offer a kind word to a caregiver. When I told her maybe the Lord had put them in her path so she could share Jesus she snapped back and said, “They don’t know God and I’m not telling them!” Broke my heart. Thankfully the caregivers understand the disease. God bless you on this journey. ♥

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