A Brother with Alzheimer’s


          I pestered him to get checked out by the doctor.  I figured he was depressed and he’d get an antidepressant and all would be well.  Not quite.  He had a concussion during a football game when we were kids and he had a seizure on the field….  There was not a lot of health care in those days, Dad was already sick and it was something of a different world.  Who knew that his risk for Alzheimer’s would skyrocket that day?  He’s in his 50’s…….  He also had his share of motorcycle accidents but he’s sure it was the football game…. There is a certain logic to it….  He’s sure he remembers who hit him but in truth I don’t remember who hit him: but I well remember the seizure….




I don’t want to see him suffer: and he does, big time.  He knows what it’s doing to him and he hates it.  He’s embarrassed by it.  He’s ashamed of it.


I ask God for help for my brother and his wife and for me and yet I know that he’s just going to get worse and worse…  I don’t like to think about it. Sometimes I don’t like to talk to him now because there is nothing I can do except suffer with him.  All I can do is suffer with him so he need not be alone.  Is that enough?

Why must we suffer like this?

 Rom 8:26-39

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Suffering and loss sharpen love sometimes to an unbearable point.  There is something life changing and life affirming about feeling the pain of another as if it were your own.  Colors take on a deeper, richer hue; gratitude leaps to the forefront because you see how much you have that you never think to be thankful about.  The flaws of people take on this rosy glow until we forget and remember to be annoyed with them again. Suddenly you get it –in a visceral gritty physical way.  The shortest verse in the Bible is this: “Jesus wept.”No one escapes the times of weeping not even Jesus.  I think I understand this verse now. Each day, each moment, each life, is precious and fleeting.  Love it all now for all your worth for tomorrow never comes. Good always comes from such love and gratitude but sometimes I forget all this and still ask…




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