Leave the Light on for Me – Alzheimer’s Caregiving

Our loved ones spiral down into the darkness of memory loss and dementia as Alzheimer's takes over, but the light is still on, and loves shines through.

Our loved ones spiral down into the darkness of memory loss and dementia as Alzheimer’s takes over, but the light is still on, and loves shines through.

“Ok Mom, you take care, let me talk to dad a second.”

It’s the first time I’ve spoken with Dad since he got out of the hospital.  The diagnosis is years old, the problem is new every day.

Alzheimer’s.

Mom can’t take dad home unless he can walk and this stint in the hospital has taken all his oompf (as he would say).

I can hear a voice in the background, moaning.  Mom says clearly, “Honey, it’s Carol.  Do you want to talk to Carol?”

“Oh yes.  That’s wonderful.  Where is she?  Here?  Oh, the phone—hello sweetie!”

“Hi dad.  How are you doing?”

“Oh much better now!  I didn’t know where I was but now she’s here and we’re together now,” tears enter his voice, “it was okay before but we were really missing everyone!”

“Well, Dad, that’s why I called.  I was missing you, too!”

“Well, yes.  But she’s here now and I’m doing OK.”  A pause and then, “When are you coming up?”

“Oh, Dad, I don’t know when I can get there.  For now I just have to talk on the phone with you.”

“That’s great honey.  But I miss everybody and I don’t really know where I am.  She’s here now, so it’s better, but we don’t know where we are.  There are lights and everything, but…”  I can almost hear him looking around.  “We just don’t know where we are for sure but we’ll figure it out.  When are you coming up?”

“I don’t know, Dad, hopefully pretty soon.”

“Well, dear, we’ll just figure out where we are and I’ll tell you what, we’ll leave the light on for you.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“It’s just hard to figure out where we are, but we’ll leave the light on for you so you won’t get lost and you’ll be fine honey.  Come soon.  Here’s Grandma.”

And just like that he’s gone.

Oh, Dad.  In the midst of a nasty old disease like Alzheimer’s when reason and language desert you, you still have life figured out.  God comes first, always, with you.  And then your family; thanks for turning the light on for me.

Sometimes in Alzheimer's the light is still on, and love shines through. #write31days #caregiver via@caregivermom Click To Tweet

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  • TEARS! This is beautiful and touched my heart. I want to send you (((HUGS))) Thank you for sharing your special and personal moment with your dad! #write31days

  • Carol … I can relate to this so well! My grandmother had Alzheimer’s. My dear mother-in-law is in late-stage dementia. These moments with them are absolutely precious. I love this story about dad. I can tell he love you very much.
    Dianne Thornton recently posted…Worshiping WITHOUT AngerMy Profile

    • Thank you Dianne. I’m sorry about the loved ones in your life experiencing those difficulties. When I read your comment, it actually made me cry because I know my dad loves me, but sometimes, when he forgets who I am, it’s hard to remember that!
      Carol Bovee recently posted…Doubts and Decisions in ArgentinaMy Profile

  • Bless your heart. I hate Alzheimer’s. Robbing children of their parents and grandchildren of their grandparents. My sister-n-law’s father has Alzheimer’s and is in a facility. It’s been so hard for her and her kids to no longer be known and recognized by the man they love so much. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • I love this story. There’s nothing else to say. May God continue to be with you and your family as you journey this difficult road.
    Anita Ojeda recently posted…31 Glimpses into the Unquiet MindMy Profile

  • “Leave the light on”; so like a situation like that, when we just don’t have the words to respond, or the energy to go on, or the time to BE there…so like the one who is cared for to find the words to say that give comfort to the caregiver…

    I am almost there…with dementia it can stay in one place; or it can move on slowly yet surely. My prayers are with you; with the one who shared this story – or maybe it was you! And…be sure to leave the light on whenever you need that boost of strength…for the “Light of the world” will shine His light on you to show you the way!
    Barbara recently posted…Day 4 – 2015 – EMBRACEMy Profile

    • I appreciate your compassion, Barbara. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the angle, this story is about me and my dad. The saddest part is that I am miles and miles away from being able to be with my mom and dad through this time and have to stay connected through phone calls. My dad has truly taught me a lot about depending upon God, so that’s what I cling to!
      Carol Bovee recently posted…Doubts and Decisions in ArgentinaMy Profile

  • I love that – “we’ll leave the light on for you.” My m-i-l does not have Alzheimer’s but does have dementia and has been slowly declining. She has been living with us for 2 years and is under hospice care now. It’s sad, but we ahead to the hope that lays before us that when she gets to heaven she’ll have a right mind and a new body.
    Barbara H. recently posted…31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot: The Rupture of SelfMy Profile

  • Tara

    Carol, beautiful post. I love that he still has it figured out in the midst of the disease. And love that your dad is leaving the light on for you.

  • JaneAnn B

    Oh, Carol, the light was very dim this weekend. Maybe tomorrow will be a little brighter.
    Thanks for writing about this. Brings tears, but they are there anyway.

  • Oh, my. Your father is so precious in his concern for you even though he doesn’t quite know what’s going on. What a blessed and tough time of life for you all. Thanks for sharing your hope.
    susan recently posted…4 Things I Learned By Making Peanut Butter Cookies with Spiders on TopMy Profile

  • One of my biggest fears is losing my parents — whether literally or to a disease like this that loses me to them as well. This is a beautiful post; thank you for sharing your story.
    Sarah recently posted…day 5: vulnerabilityMy Profile

  • renato tiamzon

    Beautiful narrative of love, understanding with a subtle hint of that fear of the unknown. Went through it myself. Each day you get to talk with them is every bit as valuable as the first. You are so blessed as a loving daughter..the light is important, for them as it is for you.

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