English: Fortesque Bay, Sunrise, Tasman Penins...

Great post from Clay!  Thought I would share it here!!


The phases of life can be strange and difficult to understand. I have come to that realization by understanding that I am part of the sandwich generation. I Care for my teenage son who is still at home, while caring for an aging parent.

Last year I began to notice that my mom (now a widow five years) was starting to slip in memory. After a number of events we moved her up close to us from South Texas. After a visit to the doctor for testing we found she has level II dementia. She is still able to talk about her boyfriend in high school and growing up in the depression. But then the next few moments I have to repeat five times what we have just talked about in the now. That exercise can be very frustrating. As months have passed and things have worsened, she has begun to forget to walk the dog, bathe and at times can call me 20 plus times to ask about what we just discussed. I see the fear in her eyes as she realizes she doesn’t remember and there is soon an anxious attempt to please everyone around her (another symptom of dementia). It’s a hard place for her.

So now its time for another move, probably in with us, for more care. Once again I find myself being the emotional responsible parent. This is a  role I often filled when I was young, as she battled alcoholism. To be back here again is quite overwhelming and I have felt frustrated with her, the situation and with God as to why I am having to deal with this as now the only child.

Being a man of faith I am aware that God is up to something. Moreover, being a life coach I understand that focusing on my frustration will only get me more frustration. So I needed to change my focus. But what could I focus on?

Then I had a chance to hear Amy Grant (who I respect so much) talk about caring for her Dad who has dementia. She made I statement that just floored me. She said, “this is the last great lesson your parents will teach you”. WOW! Thanks Amy {{{Hugs}}}. What a thought. I’m not sure what the lesson is at present. But with a heart open to the tenderness of God I have decided to learn it.

With a 180 degree shift, I have found something to focus on in heart and God has led me to dealing with this in a different way.

First, be flexible, because there will be good days and bad days in dealing with this condition.

Second, live with heartfelt understanding. Pray and ask God to give you compassion and love. For me, this is a great need because mom and I have not always had the best relationship.

Third, laugh a lot. Laughter is the best medicine. It also helps remove the awkwardness from many moments and helps me not be so serious about everything.

Finally, sing a lot. Music is a mystery that can touch the core of our very being. One thing mom and I share has been music and singing. Whether singing an old hymn or one of the many songs she sang during her long  career as a jazz singer, music makes her spirit come alive. As this worsens I plan to keep singing with her even though she one day may not be able too.

There is still quite a journey ahead and no “happily ever after” on the horizon. But one thing is for sure. There is one more great lesson to learn. And, with God’s grace, I plan to learn it.

Sunrise through the clouds