He Lives within my Heart

After-effects of a battle with Alzheimer's

 “He lives within my heart!”

You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!

It’s amazing to stand in an auditorium filled with Christian pastors and teachers and have all 300 or so lifting their hearts to God together in song.  I loved every moment.  Until they introduced the hymn, “He Lives”.  The song leader motioned everyone to stand and I felt my heart sink even while it also rejoiced.

“He better not direct and have us hold out that note,” I whispered to my husband regarding the actions of the song leader.  I tried to sing, I really did.  But as soon as we hit the chorus, tears beat the words to my mouth.  Swiping my cheeks frantically, I leaned my head down so my hair could cover my face a bit.  The congregation sang mightily and the chorus sounded amazing echoing around that great hall.

They hit the last verse and I muttered to myself, “Don’t hold it…don’t hold it.”

I’m pretty sure that song leader attended the same university my dad did.  You know, that one where they teach you to hold your arms up and wave the audience into unison singing, where you learn to sing with emotion and emphasize certain notes.

This song leader entered the chorus with gusto and loudly sang the lines, “You ask me how I know He lives?”  He  took a deep breath, and just like my dad used to do, he directed all of us to a grand finale,

“He LI-i-i-i-i-i-i-VES, within my heart!”

“Amen!” shouted pastors and teachers.

“Oh dear!” I whispered.

He lives…

My dad’s been gone just over a year.  The pain and confusion is over for my dad. The caregiving days are over, for my mom.  I no longer wonder or worry about how dad is doing, but it’s worse not having him around.  When I hear those songs he loved so much, or read a verse he cherished, or see a new building being built or spy old blueprints: in those moments the loss of my hero smacks me so hard.  It blindsided me during that hymn and I hate that it did, yet I love that it does.  My dad sang that song out of pure unadulterated joy in his Savior.  He believed God had led in his life and he believed that Christ lived in his heart.  He believed it, he lived it and he sang it.

Watching my dad with Alzheimer’s was difficult, but getting the opportunity to see him cling to the love of his Jesus was beautiful.  I couldn’t sing “He Lives” with my fellow teachers very well.  The tears fell too freely.

But I have the song in my heart, where my dad taught me to place and hold the love of God.  “He Li-i-i-i-ives, within my heart!”

Alzheimer's cannot remove Jesus living in your heart! #HeLives #caregiving Click To Tweet

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  • Alice

    I cannot imagine the feeling you had reminiscing your dad’s favorite song! But I’m glad that just like you mentioned, He had the love of God in his heart and provided these reminders for you to look back. BTW, its a beautiful song and our music director does the same thing too at the end! Bold and wonderful 🙂

    • Aren’t we blessed with music! I am so thankful for the positive memories and God’s constant blessings, even in sorrow!

  • Dementia is such a hard path, and my heart goes out to those who are in that journey with a close family member. Your story is encouraging even in its bittersweet-ness.

    • Thank you Michele. I hoped it would be so…

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  • After my parents died, I was amazed at what could trigger reminders and grief, and it still happens years later, though not as often. But what a sweet reminder of your dad. How precious to know where his hope was and what (or rather Who) carried him through.

  • I feel your pain. 🙁 My mom died from Alzheimer’s in 2010, but my dad died a few months earlier than her, from lung cancer. He, too, had been a song leader and I can hear him leading “He Lives” as well. I miss them both so much. Blessings to you as you adjust to the change.

    • Oh Lisa – I’m so sorry for your losses. I feel so thankful for blessings of a Godly love that sees us through. Prayers!