Parting Words From The WORD . . . What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

(Friends, I’m honored to have permission to share this poignant, beautiful post from Cheryl Morgan, a pastor’s wife, mother of six, grandmother of one, and–for eight years–a caregiver for her sweet mama. As a caregiver for several loved ones with Alzheimer’s through the years, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I read her precious writings. Like Cheryl, I’m concerned for my own brain and memory quite often. She wrote this piece for her children and I’m sharing it with mine . . . and with you, sweet friends. Thank you, Cheryl.)

What I’ll Say To My Children If I’m Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

By Cheryl Morgan

I was skimming somCheryl Morgan and her mome other dementia blogs lately and a reader had written in saying, that though she felt guilty about it, she wished her mother would die in her sleep and not have to continue living through the pain and indignity of dementia. I’ve heard others say things like, “I’ve told my kids if I ever get Alzheimer’s just shoot me.”

I understand where these comments are coming from, but they make my heart heavy. I feel like these attitudes devalue my Mom’s life right now. Even though they are not specifically referencing her, they are in effect saying that people like her are better off dead. It is hard to see Mom changing and confused and upset. But she still has sweet times of love and joy, too. And God still has a purpose for her life.

He is growing our patience as we care for her. He is developing our tenderness and mercy. God is giving us opportunities to show love to a dear mom who loved us all so well when she was able and strong. He’s sending us smiles and laughter with Mom’s quirky ways and funny words. He’s challenging us to love faithfully when she is angry and difficult.

People with dementia are still people. And God still has a plan for their lives. Even when they are bedridden and can do nothing at all, maybe their very life keeps us clinging to God more. Maybe their very existence draws us closer to God as we seek Him and cry out to Him.

I fear having AD someday myself. (My mind already concerns me too often.) But if that day comes I’m not going to tell my kids, even jokingly, to just shoot me.

What I would say to them is this . . .

Pray and trust God to guide you. Get as much help as you can. I don’t want you to sacrifice your life plans or family for my sake, but I want to always be part of your life.

If you need to find a nursing home for me, I understand. Pray about it and seek wisely. And then visit me often. Even if I don’t seem to know you, believe in your heart that part of me does. Hold my hand and talk to me. Tell me all about your life. Sing to me and read the Bible to me, please. Brush my hair and tell me memories of your childhood.

If I’m still able to chew be sure to bring chocolate. (You know your mom.) And hopefully I’ll have some adorable grandchildren to marvel at.

And don’t forget to take some time to just sit quietly next to me. Hold my wrinkled hand and let God whisper to your soul. I’m so sorry you have to go through this painful journey with me, but God will give you strength and grow you through it all. Hold fast unto Him. Sink deep into His love.

Everything will be better in heaven. Meanwhile, when I can’t talk anymore; just know that I love you forever and that being a mom to you was an honor and the delight of my life.

That’s what I’d say to my children. Oh, and I might throw in a “Be nice to your brother” for old-time’s sake.

Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3:21 NIV

Cheryl Morgan headshot

Cheryl Morgan is a Jesus follower, pastor’s wife, mother of six, and a new grandma! She’s also a caregiver to her mom, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for eight years. She writes about this journey at God’s Grace and Mom’s Alzheimer’s because she feels compelled to, and is blessed when she hears from readers that it ministers to them.

Posted in categories: Christian Living | Jesus | Parting Words from The WORD | Uncategorized

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  • Such a great perspective and advice for the future, Cheryl. A beautiful and tender post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your encouraging words for Cheryl, Cheryl! 🙂

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Cheryl!

  • Cheryl Morgan

    Vonda, what sweet readers you have. Are they all writers, too? Such lovely comments! Thank you again for sharing this post. God bless you!

    • Thank YOU for allowing me to share your post, Cheryl. Even after reading it multiple times, it still touches me deeply! And thank you for the encouraging words for my friends. Yes, we’re all writers and/or speakers who love the Lord and each other. A beautiful, God-ordained relationship for sure!

  • Wednesday, I posted a link to the original with these thoughts:

    “Precisely what I would have said had I thought of it.
    When my mother’s father had dementia and couldn’t tell me from my mother or my
    grandmother, he always knew my daughter. He called her his Glenda-girl.”

    Thank you for sharing this Vonda. It struck a real chord with me. And now I have another sister to pray for.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Judith. And thank you for your prayers. That means so much to me.

      • You are very welcome, Cheryl. Praying for my sisters in Christ is a high and holy privilege. It blesses me so very much.

    • I’m so glad to see that you were drawn to the post even when I only linked to it on FB. Yes, my grandfather knew me, too! He knew me and it thrilled me. Even hours before his death, when he’d been basically comatose for hours, when I got there and he heard my voice, he opened his eyes and they lit up in recognition, and he puckered his lips for a kiss. The mind cannot be explained, but our Lord sometimes allows even those with dementia to remember moments of love. Thank you for sharing Cheryl’s post, Judith!

  • Judy C Taylor

    Thank for shining the light on wisdom for caregivers. It is a difficult journey. I would say please don’t forget the music I love so very much.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Judy. You’re right, music is so important! I sing to my Mama all the time. She doesn’t sing with me anymore, but it was one of the best ways we connected for a few years. I would start one of “our” songs and pause for her to fill in blanks. We would sing “I Love You a Bushel and a Peck” and “Oh, We Ain’t Got a Barrel of Money…” and many hymns that way. I miss her filling in the words now, but I hope my singing to her still blesses her. We have a tape of all of her favorite songs that my dad plays for her frequently, too. Music is so powerful and such a blessing!

    • Good point, Judy! That would definitely be important to me. And when my father-in-law was in a rehab facility within a nursing home, I saw patients who appeared totally unaware, but when the music started from their time period, they could sing right along. God certainly created us with beautiful minds!

  • Nan Jones

    Cheryl, thank you for sharing your heart with us. This is beautiful. By honoring your mom, you are honoring your Father who, I’m sure, smiles each time He thinks of you. Thank you Vonda, for sharing Cheryl with us today.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Nan. I love the way you worded this comment! Thanks for blessing me.

    • What a beautiful truth, Nan. I love you!

  • Bonita Bandaries

    Thanks for sharing this, Vonda. Cheryl expresses so beautifully how we should care for the person with love trusting God to guide us through the experience. I will be sharing this with friends who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. I know they will be blessed as I am reading Cheryl’s touching thoughts.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Bonita! And thank you for sharing the post, too!

    • I’ve cared for several family members with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and her points were so true. I’m sharing this with my adult daughters now, while I still can. 🙂

  • Cheryl, thank you for being a light that shows us how to live in the darkness of caregiving to our loved ones with Alzheimers. Shine on with this message.

    Thank you, Vonda, for getting this meaningful message out. Serve on.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      Thank you, Carolyn, for your encouraging words!

    • Yes, this is a beautiful and powerful message, Carolyn. Thank you for encouraging Cheryl and me, too!

  • Ruth Allender

    What beautiful and delicate writing about beautiful, delicate individuals – on both sides of care. Sometimes it is important to just say, “thank you.” This is one of those times. Thank you, Cheryl.

    • Cheryl Morgan

      What a beautiful comment, Ruth! Thank YOU!

    • Beautifully said, Ruth! Thank you!