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The Best of Christmas Gifts.

Posted by frailin on Saturday, December 27, 2008

For the Evans family, Christmas has always been about family, music and food. This year was no different. But yesterday, my 22 year old son Seth and I got to experience the best part of my Christmas favorites... family and music.

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My 90 year old mother has advanced Alzheimer's and is in a full-time care facility in Cedar Rapids, IA. Seth and I drove 5 hours (each way) to spend some time with her. Most of you know the story... my mother played organ in the Methodist Church in Early, IA for 55 years. My dad would joke that "no one could get married or buried without first checking her schedule."  Mom loves music... especially old hymns and Christmas songs. And that's what Seth and I were there to play.

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We cracked open our cases and filled the air with music for the better part of an hour. Mom wasn't sure who we were when we first came in (neither me or my son are the "clean cut" type she raised us to be). But once the music started, she quickly got into the Christmas spirit. She knew we were their for fun. As you can see from the pictures... it was delightfully good time.

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Alzheimer's is a thief. I hate it. It robs a person of any evidence of their existence. My mother is a beautiful person that selflessly gave of herself, her skills and her heart whenever it was called for. She doesn't remember any of that now, not even her name... or mine. But it's clear, the thief has not been able to steal that which throughout her life has given her the greatest joy...her music.

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Within a few bars of Joy To The World, What Child Is This and Jingle Bells mom's eyes lit up with excitement. A few seconds later, and out came the lyrics. Next she was singing just as loud as she could, grinning all the time. What she has treasured in her heart - the joy of her music - has escaped the burglar of her mind.

As terrible as it is, I know God has a plan for Alzheimer's. I despise how it tries to deceive one that past history, or "dignity" and even "security" are of such a high perceived value. Yes, with this condition, they all go. And fear, anxiety and depression can set in. I've seen it in others. It's awful.

But there's good news here. My mom has always had great faith. She lost her father early in life and her brother at the Battle of the Bulge in WW2. But she didn't just persevere in life, she thrived. And through her actions and love, she gave that gift to me.

It's easy for me to see there's a joy that comes from knowing God and Christ that transcends Alzheimer's. As far as I can tell, it doesn't live in the mind. I choose to think it resides in one's heart. That's where the Bible says you experience true joy. And like other God-given rewards that come from faith, these treasures are free from moths, rust and thieves... the ravages of this world. Indeed, these treasures are what we will enjoy when our time on earth is done.

What Seth and I got to see and feel yesterday is God's reward for a life of faithful service. This Christmas, my mom gave us the best of Christmas gifts... she showed us heaven on earth.

Merry Christmas, everyone. 

Craig (frailin)

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13 comments on “The Best of Christmas Gifts.”

Furmans student Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @8:27:38 AM

Craig,  I am glad you were able to spend time with your mother and have the experience that you did.  Even though she may not have known who you and your son were,  it looked like the three of you were having a blast.   There are many terrible diseases that can rob us of our loved ones and of minds, but most usually can't take away what's in the heart.  Life is short,   Enjoy it!!!!

 

Monty

 

pete hobbie Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @8:29:48 AM

God Bless you and Seth;
What a wonderful gift for your Mother and all of us out here in BHO land.I have to go now to get something out of my eye.
Pete

banjotef Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @8:29:51 AM

Wow,  Craig,  what a great story and testimony!   My father is dealing with Alzheimer's also.   I plucked a little with him on Christmas, and he got out his C harmonica.  Was so happy to play it,  said he hasn't played it in awhile.
Music really does work magic! 

ScottK Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @11:53:36 AM

Thanks for sharing that beautiful story Craig.  God bless you and your family this Christmas season!

Scott

kentr Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @12:06:58 PM

What a great Christmas gift, and post.

Alzheimers is sad. What a great way to fight back.

My wife's mom, Elsie, now 80, is another victom.  Elsie refused to move away from her brother, also 81,

and would not accept help.

Uncle Art passed on now, 10 days ago, and my wife, Cathie, flew down to San Diago, that's 1,200 miles

away, to finally bring Elise back .  We will be able to place her in a very good home based care facility

a few miles away from here. Cathie will at last be able to help keep watch on her mom for a while.

When she is up here and settled in, we will be sure to bring some of our home made music and love.

Banjo23055 Says:
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @2:44:59 PM

Thanks  for the pictures and story.  Alzheimers is indeed a thief. You were able to give mom back some of the stuff (music and family) that she has likely done without. May God bless you both.

Blessings & Prayers,

Ellett

TopCat Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @2:08:14 AM

Well done Craig and Seth.

Debbielee Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @6:03:25 AM

Sweet story Craig,

Can't remember if we told you, but we are going through the same thing with Joe's mom.  I'm so glad she was able to enjoy the music.  What a gift, indeed.  Hope you both are well.  Blessings in the New Year.

Debbielee

 

 

Badger Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @6:52:28 AM

Thank you Craig,
John Radcliffe

retiredguy Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @8:07:23 AM

Thanks Crait, you have an old man sitting here with a tear rolling down his cheek. Of course i no longer have my parents, but you certainly brought them back to mind... thanks again... don

banjorose Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @10:10:02 AM

That was so beautiful, thank you. Alzheimers, dementia... they are all thieves indeed. The worst kind. I watched my grandmother die before my eyes over 8 long years. The hardest thing was the vacant look in her eyes. But it didn't steal her spirit. When God puts His spirit in a person, it stays there and will shine through when all else is gone and stripped away. She passed on last year and now suffers no more. I miss her terribly but I know I'll see her again!  God bless.

mainejohn Says:
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @1:02:39 PM

What a great Christmas story...your mother is fortunate to have to and Seth.

pstroud1 Says:
Sunday, March 4, 2012 @7:12:52 PM

What agrat story thsnks Craig.
Lind Lou has been diagnosd with demantia but she's doun great right now has some time but she is hangin there .
God belss you Craig your Momraid a good son.
Thanks for sharing.

Paul

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