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696 thoughts on “A Tribute to My Dad, a POW, and a Veteran of Two very Different Wars

  1. I literally cried while reading this and some of the comments below…i do not know anyone who is effected by this horrible disease but my grandfather has dementia and he nearly killed us driving on the wrong side of the road…he calls home when he gets lost going someplace he’s been hundreds of times and he repeats himself alot…though sometimes these things are scary or annoying i would NEVER abandon him in his time of need for i have not always been the largest ray of sunshine to deal with myself and he was there for me always!!!

  2. wow. I guess the “reverend” forgot the traditional wedding vows of “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” and “what G-d has brought together, let no man tear apart.” I sure hope he doesn’t get sick & have to deal w/ abandonment – altho, that would seem like poetic justice!

  3. I can relate to this so much, my own mother who passed away in Feb 2011 had brain damage due to lack of oxygen after surgery. She needed 24/7 care but I made it as often as I could, living 15 miles away and working full time, plus dealing with cancer surgery of my own. She knew she was loved even though her brain was damaged. I don’t regret a minute and miss her so much.

  4. I am not one who comments about things on line but I SO LOVED this article about you and your father and TOTALLY agree with you. Having cared for my Mother I understand what an absolute gift and privilege it was to care for her. Honestly, it is time for Pat Robertson to just get off the air, period. This statement is just another is a series of things he has said in the last few years that are a complete embarrassment to the whole of Christianity.

  5. It does not matter what Pat said. The bible tells us we are not to divorce unless adultry is committed. He is leading people falsely. My dad suffered from this disease and I to saw him decline. My mother took care of him with the help of my sister, myself and my daughter. Eventually, having to put him in 24 hour care. But we never left him. I cannot imagine Jesus giving the ok to leave someone on the wayside because they are disabled. I am uppalled.

  6. Pat Roberts surrenders his credibility about every 20 minutes or so with some inane nutterance [my coinage]. His frequent takes on the alleged connection between catastrophic natural events and the wrath of God upon those suffering from such catastrophes are particularly despicable. Pat Robertson is not God’s press bureau. He is, in fact, a sleazy poseur and a fraud. My guess is that a VERY warm welcome awaits him in the afterlife.

    • LOL True but I am not going to be the one to judge him either..Thats God’s job! When it comes to those who preach on TV the only one who I ever thought had any credibility is John Hage! The others I feel it all comes down to a different God they worship called money!

  7. Pat Robertson is a great guy and all but his word is often his own opinion and not God’s & I think Pat has a hard time telling the difference between the two. God would never feel that if your spouse is so sick and gets to a certain point that its ok to divorce & that goes right against the vow’s we take in marriage til death do us part! Funny hope some folks will take God’s word and twist it around for their own likeing. My Wifes mother has Azhiemers & so does my friends mother who by the way has had a role model marriage ..so much so I belive those two will still be married in heaven when they both get their. Pat Robertson is totally off the mark here & what he says doesn’t help his credibility at all! Jesus speaks to us through our hearts and souls and thats where we know if it’s right or if it’s wrong & to divorce somebody because of their current state of health is flat out WRONG!

  8. Ken: My Dad also had Alzheimer’s & was in a nursing home for six years. The best that I can come up with is – my mom went to see him every day to feed him lunch & dinner except for maybe two months if the days she missed due to her or him being ill or I just decided she needed a day away were put all together. I went one day shortly after he had been placed in a nursing home, because mom was sick, & came home crying because he didn’t know me. My wonderful husband told me something that I hung onto until Dad was gone. He said – “Honey, your Dad’s mind is already with the Lord, that is just a shell of him here on earth. One day he will know you again.” After that, when people asked how Dad was, I would tell them – “he’s OK for now, but will be better once he is gone so that his body, mind, & soul would be whole again with the Lord.” I’d get some strange looks until people could digest what I said, but once they got it – they got it. None of us ever gave it a thought to not go see Dad because he didn’t know us. He was still Dad!
    I would gladly come to visit you, as long as you would do the same for me.

  9. Just found out my mom has Alzheimer’s. Beginning stages-I am dreading the day she won’t remember me-but my memories of her I will treasure. One thing she constantly remembers is the music of Legacy Five. They are her lifeline and mine as well.

  10. The husband of a former co-worker, who was a retired pastor and who suffered from Alzheimers came to the place where he could no longer communicate but would stare off into space would accompany his wife to work every day and simply sit in a recliner which had been provided for him. One day when we were doing a mailing and the location of the table where we worked was next to where Jack was sitting I decided I wanted to communicate with him. I began to sing some of the old, classic hymns and after a few moments Jack joined me in song. As long as I sang, Jack sang. What a wonderful Savior that He continues to reside in our innermost being even when we have no consciouness of our surroundings.

  11. Ken,

    I just read a little of your article about your father as far as Pat. R.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….. As I was reading your article, I could not help but think of a book someone loaned to me a few years ago title “Charasmatic Chaos”
    Does Pat R. think he is elevated above God Almighty in his stupid opinions in regard to our parents and our marriages. Oh Lord have mercy on Pat R.
    I have been deliverd by Almighty God from a horrid Charasmatic horsehit system like all of that. I humbly apologize for my cursing, but I am really humbly humbly so very sorry, but who in the …. do men like Pat R. think that they are…… God help him is about all I can say about him at this precise moment. We are to honor our parents as much as we possibly can under normal circumstances (provided they were not horridly abusive in any way) and as far as the sancitity of marriage. What ever happened to “until death do us part?” I had to leave one of those wretched Charasmatic Pastor/husbands approx. 8 years ago because he was an asshole. He was severely abusive to me and I mean severely. He is actually still pastoring a church today. Well may God help them all is all I can say. Again, I am horridly extremely sorry for any of my language that was in appropriate, but I am sick and tired of these asshole pastors and or teachers contradicting the word of God Almighty. I am still in the healing process of all that I suffered in the marriage I crawled out of. It has taken me years and I mean years to begin to heal emotionally from all of the horrid abuse. May God bless you Bro. Ken for being willing to say something and speak out about all of that. I honor you and respect you ALL THE WAY . God bless you and you beautiful wife and all of your family. Love, Karen Behm

    • I am awlfully sorry again for all of my anger about Pat R. comment. It honestly hit alot of pain in my own heart that is still healing. I sincerely apologize if I offended you Ken in anyway, or if I offended anyone else in anyway. I had to get it all off of my chest. I honestly hope that you did not mind. I hope that you understood.

      The two greatest commandments are to love God and others, not to love religion and their dogmas and horrible traditions alot more loving God or others. I am so sorry if I offeneded any one in anyway by the way I responded in my last comments, but to be frank I was offended by how Pat. R responded to the whole thing…..

  12. Dear Mr. Davis,
    Thank you for what you have written here. My beautiful Mom also had Alzheimer’s / Dementia. If Alzheimer’s / Dementia were a person, in all complete honesty, I would have enjoyed kicking it around because it is a lowly theif who was stealing pieces of my Mom.

    I, too, contacted Mr. Robertson about his careless, thoughtless remark to the husband who’s wife had Alzheimer’s. There is no excuse Biblical or otherwise that says you can abandon the sacred vow of marriage….i.e….’in sickness and in health’.

    Again, thank you for what you have written.
    Sincerely, Mrs. Ramona Taylor

  13. Ken,

    Thanks for your post. A flood of memories is washing over me. Here is the short version.

    My Dad was a fun loving guy who worked very hard his entire life. My Mom was a lovely woman who raised 4 children while she worked at least as hard along side him. When they were older and had saved a little money, Dad thought they could enjoy retirement. That was not to be. Mom starting to forget things which frustrated her. Later, she repeated stories, then repeated stories in the same visit. As she progressed, Dad took care of her in their house. He lovingly coached her through each step on this path in her life. She was safe, fed, clothed, entertained, loved. This ended abruptly when he broke his hip during a fall in 1999. Their lives were changed forever. The disease now raced through her mind in the next couple of years. Dad never fully recovered and needed care each day. He was so sad when she no longer recognized him. Dad left the earth for heaven on Jan 9 2004, during the early morning hours. Mom went to heaven on Jan 9 2008, during the early morning hours. With his broken body reborn and her broken mind reborn, they are enjoying retirement from the difficulties they had on earth.

    Bob

  14. Wow…thanks for this personal sharing. My wife and I nurtured her mom through nine years of Alzheimers. Then in God’s time, He took her home. God must have thought we were “good to go for more,” because near my mother-in-law’s homegoing, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. That began a daily MINISTRY to he and my mom that lasted for eleven years.

    And it was “all good” in that my mother-in-law WAS THERE as was my DAD. There were just “new normals” for US to adjust to.

    I do not regret one minute given to these wonderful people…loved them deeply and it only grew through the “care years.”

    Again thanks for your sharing. It meant a lot. I hope Mr. Robertson reads what you wrote!

  15. Dear Ken your story touched my heart I cared for my mother for 7 years with this horrible disease the first 3 1/2 wasn’t to bad I could still take her places when she would let me that last 3 1/2 she was bed ridden she went home to be with Jesus on Good Friday at 12 noon be 2 years all ready I loved caring for her I still worked 40 hours a week I was bless by the Lord with great care givers and we are all still friends but know matter what they are still human and deserve respect from there family they did raise us and fed us took care of our needs and they deserve that also I Loved my parents and would do it all over again caring for her but she is in a better place with Jesus and I will see her again some day. Love to listen to you when hear you on radio your sayings make me laugh when having a bad day GOD BLESS

  16. Thanks for our story and your precious memories, my father suffered for years, his body was gone but his mind was all there..Your story is quite different and I think those situations are more difficult to deal with. It is possible that many of us will be afflicted in some way and we will need family, loved ones, and friends to help us. I know I need God every day, and our sufferings here points us to the eternal hope of the saved believers, we all need help in dealing with difficult situations, may
    God be with you and bless you…

  17. Thanks Ken.
    My dad was diagnosed 9 years ago. He has been living in the Georgia War Veterans Home for the past 5 years. I am very fortunate that he still remembers me. I am not sure he knows I am his daughter, but he is always happy to see me and can still talk and eat with me. That is all I asked God to do and He has honored that request so far. My dad turned 89 this past November.

    I had some of the same ideas about Alzheimer’s in the beginning, but God has taught me a lot through this process so I think I can cut Rev. Graham a little slack.

  18. I thought your piece was very sincere,from the heart, and emotional. It should be read by many.

    My ONLY comment about Pat Robinson, a questionable ‘religious leader’; is that he is no leader to fool to nor follow! The only ‘ignorant’ uneducated are his followers who dumbly continue to send him money. He is only wearing the religious leader mantel as a cover to dupe these religious fanatics to send,send,send their money $$$. The $ is all he cares about. IDIOTS !
    I heard his rant about ‘divorcing’ those terminally ill and without recovery hope and you know how much time I spent over his comments : — 0_-!

  19. I totally agree with this response to Pat Robertson.

    My father died last year at 92 years of age. He had great faith and many accomplishments, but the greatest thing about him was the love and care he had for my mother who suffered from Alzheimers for over 10 years prior to his death. At a point caregivers were required around the clock, but Dad still felt primary responsibility for Mom’s care.

    I too recognize the toll on a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s and recognize that many are not capable to provide for caregivers at home, but to divorce a spouse because they suffer from Alzheimer’s and “are not there” is something that I cannot understand or accept, notwithstanding Mom did not know who I was for many years, but knew that she had a reason to trust us and to love us.

  20. In His sovereignty The LORD didn’t bless us with children but our fondest desire would have been for a son like you. God Bless you Ken!

  21. My Dad would be fascinated with my buttons.Even though he did not know us he too knew he was loved. May God richly bless all the care givers out there and may Pat Robinson go read his Bible which says when two people come together they are one flesh!!!!!

  22. It’s only OK to divorce your spouse if you believe it’s OK for Jesus to divorce you. A covenant is the opposite of contract. A contract is performance based and has a clause to break it. A covenant is non performance base and may never be broken.
    And for those who raise the issue of abuse – physical and/or emotional – it’s not an excuse to divorce, but truly you do need to get yourself to a safe place and out of harms way. The stuff you say gives you an “out”? Well, that’s the “worse” you promised to bear, even as Jesus bore your sins on the cross, even unto a bloody, humiliating, agonizing, death on a cross.
    We were not promised a happy life…..our purpose is to glorify God’s name, in our words and our actions. In the bigger picture, our time on this rock is not all that long…..it’s the eternity that matters. Store up treasure in the heavenlies – your reward will be great! †

  23. Constance Esposito My mother recently passed away from a brain aneurism but had been suffering from age-related dementia (very similiar to Alzheimers). My father had been her main support for some time. She relied on him for both physical, mental, and emotional support. Now that she is truely gone, gone to be with God, he says often that he misses her. I can not imagine him divorcing her, especially in her worse time! To state that it is ok to divorce someone because they have an illness is so not what the Bible states, but what an individual has twisted to suit their own wishes. Sad, so very sad.

  24. Pat is a fallible human just as each one of us is, and we all say stupid things that are at times against what the Bible teaches. I’m very thankful that we have the forgiveness of our Savior, Jesus, for the pain we cause others “in His name”.

    Blessings to you, Ken, for your commitment and love of the man who God deemed raise you in your faith. You will be justly rewarded.

  25. I would love to have my husband back (he was pronounced 99% brain dead by doctors but WASN’T) whether he knew me or not … I would spend all the time in the world with him! That is just WRONG to believe someone is no longer there just because they can’t remember you…what happened to unconditional love in this world? Does God just disown us if we can’t remember Him anymore? I think not! No, I KNOW NOT!

  26. My grandmother was stricken with this horrible disease at a rather young age. I never knew her because she was bedridden and childlike by the time I was old enough to remember. My grandfather cared for her for the 15 years she lived with this disease. He gave her cold coffee because it was her favorite drink. He pureed her favorite foods because he wanted her to have what she enjoyed. He never put her in a nursing home and she never once even had a bedsore. He did eventually have to hire a nurse to help while he worked, but he cared for her out of ove and commitment. He even won a caregiver award from the communtity where he lives. Anyone who would leave a spouse in a time of need such as this doesn’t truly understand the selflessness of true love and commitment. It’s not easy, but it is just what you do for those you love.

  27. Thanks for sharing this! Pat Robertson is so wrong because the Bible does not teach that! How callus would you have to be to do what he suggested? I love the response of the man who said his wife might not know who he was anymore but that he still knew who she was!

  28. This is such a poignant piece of writing. I spent my early twenties taking care of my Grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. I loved the fleeting moments of lucidity where she would look at me and say my name, then drift off into the other place. We always say she knew you in her heart because there was always a sense that there was something familiar about me, even if she didn’t know my name. So, as much as I try not to think about what the future holds – I agree with you. 100%.

  29. We do not have to agree with everything another person says! Thank you for sharing your story. Pat Robertson may change his mind at a later time should it come closer to home.

  30. My Dad did not have Alzheimer’s but was in a nursing home for a year because he was so, so mean to my mother and me. He had health issues also but it was mostly to keep him under control and from hurting someone. I took care of my Dad from a “distance”. I couldn’t go see him as it was always an ugly fight. Now, my own two children have turned their backs on my husband and me with ugly allegations that started with a controlling son-in-law. We have four grandchildren that they won’t even let us see a picture of because they say we are dangerous. The same applies to their grandmother and all the rest of their family. I have always cared for my parents, my husband, my children, my grandmother, my husband’s parents. But as I get older it weighs on me so heavily and scares me to death who will be there for me? You write below “Because of who He is he will never leave us or forsake us.

    Dear friends, If at some future date you find me staring into the distance because this disease has wracked my mind and body. I ask you not to cast me off.

    Please visit me.

    Hold my hand.

    Let me touch your watch and sense from some deep place in my soul that you love me.

    I ask you to believe that until I go to heaven and look into the face of Christ………….

    I am here!!” When will this ever end? When I look into Christ’s face………

  31. Thank you, Mr. Davis, for this eloquent rebuttal. YOU are more God-centered than many television evangelists and I will be reading more of your stories. Blessings on all of your loved ones!

  32. I feel people with Alzheimer Disease, are trapped in their bodies and the brain becomes unable to communicate with the body, but still know a lot more than we think, I have seen several, and it is so sad, we really have no way of knowing. Your dad knew what a watch was and the only words he could speak at that time.
    Pat Robertson, doesn’t follow God’s Word because God Said, “For better or worse.” not if a wife or husband are no more use like a car that has seen it’s better day. I suppose, I’m a lot like my mommy, she used to say,”I wish I could put all the old people in one place and care for them.” I don’t think she ever considered what that would encompass, but her compassion was that deep.

  33. My Dad as well suffered from this horrible disease. The hardest thing for me was two things: my step-mother tossed him away after 25 years of marriage like he was garbage and she wanted to start a new life. What happen to sickness and in health but what was so hard for me was he did not know me. But like you said, he knew I loved him. He passed away in my arms. I can’t wait to see him again b

  34. Ken,

    This is a beautiful tribute to your parents and their journey through life, which included Alzheimer’s disease at the end. I saw this same dedication in my grandmother, who cared for my grandfather at home for about 12 years after he got Alzheimer’s disease. To paraphrase theologian Jim Houston, we need to concentrate much more on whose we are, rather than who we are and what we do. He currently cares for his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease, and his thoughts are the same as yours — his wife is still a child of God whom God loves and whom he loves.

    Blessings,
    Ellen W. Potts

    • Ken,
      Thanks for sharing. I worked for many years with individuals with demintia. And my grandma had demintia also. I looked at the bright side of things. When my grandma called me by my mom’s name that could be good or bad, but I just listened. The stories she told, how precious that was. I did not care what name I was called, it was nice to hear her talk about growing up in the MN winters. The other thing I learned you can look at the world over and over and discover the same thing, and be excitied about it! I dont know how many times my clients would come to me in winter and ask, “did you know it is snowing out?” and then the conversation would bring out more memories. I also discovered, although a person may not know the here and now, they will remember their past. I would sit down at night, when I worked in an assisted living facility and go through cards the family left for her to hold onto after her husband died. We would sit for atleast an hour and read what the person wrote and she would tell me about that person and how she knew them, it was wonderful! The two most important things I learned from my grandma, was that no matter how mad she was mad at me when I left, she was always happy to see me another day! 🙂 The other thing she taught me was imagination in the best thing to have. She thought the local Dairy Queen had a strawberry garden for fresh strawberries for her sundea and cows in the back for fresh ice cream. And as she ate her ice cream she enjoyed every bit.

      We all deal with things differently, but I choose to look at the good things. Yes, holding hands sometimes is what is needed, it is easy to be done. Sometimes an ear is what someone needs. God gives us what we can handle, he knows.

      • Tina,

        Thank you for your very touching and informative comment. Love is eternal! Your grandmother was blessed to have you present!

        Ken

  35. My aunt was a catholic nun and I don’t remember her but i’ve heard stories. She would come and spend a couple of weeks each year with my Nana and one year when she travelled out by train my father could not find her at the station. She had gone to the wrong station and was looking for the train to Disneyland (we live in Australia). They knew that she was starting to forget things and get confused but didn’t realise she was that bad. Dad said he would drive her back to the convent when it was time for her to return at the end of her trip. As Dad drove her through the mountains on the way home she thanked him for taking her in his race car – with the winding roads she thought she was on the race track. Dad just said ‘no problem’. He said she was happy and that was all that mattered to him. He loved her and knew that telling her that she was wrong would only upset her. Dad would go and collect her after that whenever she’d come visit Nana and the nuns at the convent were beautiful, caring for her to the very end. She could have come home to live with us i’m sure but the convent was her home. Love is not conditional.

  36. My favorite aunt died from alzheimer related issues. She did not know her sons or me or anyone else for about 8 years before she died. But she was still my aunt and I still loved her. She has been gone probaby 15 years now but I still miss her. Pat Robertson is irrelevant. His rants are irrelevant. He forgot about God long ago and only relates to his sick interpretations. God will always know us and will always be there for us.

  37. What does he mean exactly by “She’s not there”? Not where? Not in her family”s hearts? Vanished into thin air? My response about dementia is always this: The person may not know you or act in the way you remember, but as long as he or she has enjoyment within the limitations the disease has imposed, enjoy it with him or her. I have the capacity to adjust to that person’s needs–that person does not need to meet my needs. You do not stop loving someone because a physical–or mental– disease sets in. Love is Forever! To run away now is selfishness and cowardice.

  38. Yes, it is true you are able to divorce your spouse without condemnation. Yet, Agape love, the greatest love of all, Jesus Christ, showed us to die on the cross for love of others…The Lord will judge and reward us accordingly and there are few that have the privilege to imitate Christ to the Cross. Bravo for the martyrs of LOVE. A NOTE ABOUT ALZ. THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT CAN DELAY IT: READING A LOT (IT INCREASES THE FOLDS OF YOUR BRAIN) AND RECENT RESEARCH POINTS OUT THAT THE GOOD CHOLESTEROL FOUND IN PURE COCONUT OIL IN OUR DIETS HELP WITH THE CHEMISTRY OF THE BRAIN.

  39. Thank you, Ken!! I had the pleasure of hearing you speak last night in Edgerton, MN. You also took the time to say hi! You shook my hand, you autographed my book, and after a brief visit about my dad and your dad and Alzheimer’s, you directed me to this post. Before putting my make-up on this morning, I grabbed a Kleenex and sat down at the computer to read it. Now I tell you with my heart bursting with gratitude, last night and this post, were exactly what I needed right now, at this moment in my life! I am renewed and plan to begin living again! 🙂 Never stop doing what you do, Ken! God truly has given you a gift! Hugs to you and your family (and to Michele C. for picking me to win your book!). <3

  40. This brought tears to my face. I remember seeing my dad in a bad state some years ago when he had cancer. He is fully recovered now, and he is now a priest in church. We have this confidence in Christ that God is able to make all grace abound.. So we keep loving… because God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit… and those times when it is truly tough… people that do not know Christ can say anything they want because their love and strength is failing… but those that know their God shall be strong!… Thanks Ken.. Lots of love.

  41. Reading this made me cry. God has given me a great big love (and a music ministry) for people with Alzheimer’s, even though no one in my family has been affected by it. I have many questions to ask the Lord someday about Alzheimer’s and the cognizance of people with this disease and their ability to relate to God (and accept Him as Savior?) even when they are unable to relate to the world around them…
    …but for now, truthfully, I struggle with the concept of Alzheimer’s. I do not understand. But I love these people, because I know God loves them, and as long as they have breath, they have a precious, eternal soul. Even on a surface level, I have found there is much to love about them…their vulnerability, their childlike trust, their honesty.. I can’t even begin to express it all here, in just a short comment.
    I have been inspired to the depths of my soul by a group of husbands at one of the Memory Care facilities I volunteer at. Just like your story, they are there, every day, wrapping their arms around their unresponsive wife, singing to her, feeding her, serving her…beautifully faithful to the end.
    How it sickens me to think of someone leaving their spouse to deal with the void of confusion and lostness on their own, without the steady love and compassion of their life-companion.
    I think it comes down to: did you enter the marriage covenant to get, or to give? If you leave when the other person is unable to meet any of your needs, it seems to show that your motivation to love is deeply flawed. We are to follow Jesus’ example…He loved us and laid down His life for us, “while we were yet sinners,” rejecting Him. There is more than one way to lay down your life for another person. [John 15:13]

  42. My husband was planning on filing for divorce, he’d left me for a younger woman, typical story, but three months on, your spell led him to come back to me and put ideas of divorce behind us thanks Esango priest. You can also get your ex back through Esango priest contact him via his email: esangopriest@hotmail.com

  43. I am so sorry for what Pat Robertson said. I honestly wonder and I swear I am not being mean spirited when I say this, but I am afraid Pat’s mind is slipping. He is a very old man these days.