Stage 3 of Alzheimer’s – Fear

As told by Reverend G …

Please God, help me! I can’t stand it!

More and more things are disappearing and this week, I lost an entire carton of Chunky Monkey ice cream. It’s my favorite you know – with that creamy texture, bits of chocolate and that slight banana flavor.

How could that happen? How could we find my ice cream in the pantry, slowly dribbling next to the hot tea boxes?

That doesn’t even make sense, God. Nothing makes sense.Stage 3 - Alz

I’m losing more and more concentration. I can’t work well anymore – can’t serve you as I did in the past – can’t put together a decent sermon and preach it.

I forget names and conversations. Words jumble together.

I’m afraid…so afraid.

Why can’t I experience the same trust I once taught to my congregation?

Even now, I read Psalm 34:4 and try to make it mine, “For I cried to him and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”

Please free me, God, from this terror that follows me every day, then escalates whenever I forget something.

Please help me to somehow find a direction that points toward you in all of this. Let me not lose my faith in the process of losing my sanity.

Help me, God! I can’t stand it!

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G Books –

Hope Sits With My Child

Because of our busy schedules, we rarely see each other. This boy child who has become a man in such a short time – my only living child, my son.

Yet each time we are together, the emotional bond feels as strong as if we had never experienced a separation. We sit in the living room, watching the news or a rerun of Blue Bloods. We switch to ESPN and cheer for the Jayhawks.

sitting on sofasAcross those few feet in my living room, the emotional umbilical cord stretches. We are content to merely sit and be.

A certain joy exists when the child becomes an adult and the two of us can share the same space without the hormonal conflicts of a male teenager and a menopausal woman.

This peace indeed is a palpable blessing.

When I visit my mother in assisted living, we share the same bond. Though the roles are reversed and I am now the child – still we find a peaceful coexistence in the moment.

We watch television or not. We read or not. We sit silently without conflict, knowing that just being together is precious.

Until I sat with my child, I did not realize the pure treasure of sitting with a loved one.

No need for conversation. No stress to finish a chore. No desire to fix a meal or hurry anywhere.

Just the quiet assurance that we are together. Each of us knows a time will come when we cannot share such a physical space.

A sacred communion. An extraordinary gifting.

On either side of this juncture, I cherish the bond. Knowing my child will one day leave, certain my mother will graduate to heaven.

And I will be left – to savor this fragile breath we have shared and find hope that in the future – we will sit together again.

©2015 RJ Thesman – author of the Reverend G books –

Calling Mom

We used to chat for at least 30 minutes about recipes, her grandson or my latest writing project. She asked me about life in Kansas, and I listened to her descriptions of life in Oklahoma. We discussed the weather because it affected the various crops, and she knew the farm life still flowed through my veins. I missed the country. She knew that without my telling her.

But now, as Alzheimer’s steals her brain cells, Mom no longer initiates phone conversations. She answers basic yes and no questions, but she’s lost the cognitive ability to deal with open-ended questions. She can’t tell me about new recipes or express interest in my writing projects. She remembers her grandson’s name and always asks about him, but our conversations rarely last longer than 10 minutes.

I make a list of things to talk about, because Mom can’t think of new topics.

“How are you today, Mom?”


“Have you had any rain this week?”


“Is the food still good?”

“Yes. Good food.”

Then a pause to swallow my tears and try to think of some way to initiate a longer answer—anything to hear more of her personality come through, that sense of humor we once shared or maybe a nugget about her faith.

“What do you think, Mom, about the crops this year?”

“Oh. Hmm.” She hands the phone back to my sister. She’s obviously tired of talking and she’s run out of answers.

Although it’s difficult to talk to Mom now and carry on any type of relevant chat, I still call every week. I need to call, because I need to hear her voice.

I know that someday even that will disappear.

Note to readers who still have parents: Call them often. Call today. Initiate a conversation and take the time to call—while you can, while someone still answers.

How Reverend G Prays

Several readers have commented, “I really like how Reverend G prays. She just talks to God, like a regular conversation.”

This comment encourages me, but also saddens me.

Have we missed teaching about prayer in our churches and cell groups? Do people not know that prayer really is just talking and listening to God?

Or have we presented God as the High and Mighty One that we can’t approach on a personal basis?

I think we’ve missed something.

God is indeed worthy of our respect and awe. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He created each of us as a unique specimen of human DNA, then he injected us with talents and gifts so that each of His children could find a niche in life and glorify Him.

But He is also Abba Father – Daddy God, the personal Divine who wants us to cling to Him, climb up in His lap and love Him.

We can tell God exactly how we feel about life, because He knows our inmost emotions. He also knows our motives, so we can be honest enough to tell Him that life sometimes gut-punches us and we don’t appreciate what we’re going through. Like Reverend G, we can genuinely state, “I can’t stand it.”

And does God Almighty answer us?

Oh, yes, He does. He is, after all, the Word (John 1:1) – the One who communicates with His children on a personal level.

We can talk honestly to Him and listen to Him whenever and wherever. He’s always available.

Reverend G has no special heart line to God. She’s just like all the rest of us, except she really is a fictional character.

But she teaches us that prayer is just a heart-to-heart connection between us and God, the One who loves us completely and forever.