• Living with urgency

    Living with a Sense of Urgency

    I asked my dear friend Caren Austen to write about the life-upending diagnosis that, in a single moment of time, changed absolutely everything about her life. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 Cerebral atrophy. That was the diagnosis resulting from a recent MRI. Deterioration of the brain. After judiciously researching the diagnosis, a consultation with a friend in the medical field confirmed the most likely cause that my brain is shrinking: Alzheimer’s. A singular moment with horrific implications. At 66, I was stung as the future I had anticipated seemed to be snatched away. The time I likely would not…

  • Engage

    Strength While Weak: Facing a Loved Ones Alzheimer’s

    Today I have a guest blogger, Canadian Nancy Rempel. Nancy has served for decades as a cross-cultural worker in the Middle East and elsewhere. She enjoys the beautiful Canadian countryside and writing accounts of the ways God has worked in her life. Nancy is husband to Don and mother and mother-in-law to two adult sons and one daughter-in-law. In the dead of night, I could hear the commotion through my earplugs. Voices. Banging. Shuffling around. The light from my parents’ room glared under my bedroom door. Roused from my sleep, I slipped out into the hallway, unprepared for the drama. It was 2003, and I was 47 years old. I…

  • Graveyward B/W

    The Clarity of Death

    “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). My father died recently. He was always sharp, quick with a pun or a play on words, an accountant by trade who worked until he was seventy-seven years old. He was a student of the Bible for almost sixty years. He did a lot of reading, writing, and “sparring” (personal debating) over the years, quoting folks like Barnhouse and Spurgeon in the process. But dementia overtook him these last few years. He could no longer…

  • Engage

    What you need to let go of the people you love

    One phone call and life changes: “Lael, this is Mom. They’ve called in hospice for Dad.” I fly to Texas immediately where I’m learning about hospice. It’s no longer just for critical care at the very end of life. With advanced Lewy-body dementia and Parkinson’s disease my Dad continually cycles between somewhat relaxed and hyper-agitated. Psalm 31:7 describes it well: “…you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.” Clearly Dad’s soul is in distress. Like the unforgettable quote from George Washington, “I die hard.” Whoever tries to sell death as simply the turn of the wheel in the circle of life is so deceived. Death…