While I have heard many stories that have stirred great wells of compassion within me over the years, there have been just a few that have impacted me like hearing of Julie Allen’s diagnosis of Alzheimers.
I stopped breathing for a moment.
She is 57.
It is hard for me to imagine a more devastating diagnosis.
I was around during some of the confusing months beforehand.
I collaborated with Julie–a dynamic and highly capable professional–on her web site. And I have worked with her husband Tom as a consultant for his non-profit organization, City House, for nearly six years. In fact, Tom was my first official client as a private consultant…so he will always have a special place in my heart. A spiritual director, Tom has prayed and prayed for my family’s various health challenges over the years. It is now my turn.
Tom and Julie’s open embrace of their circumstances–their obvious joy in the midst of tremendous loss–is a clear witness to the significance of their faith, relationships, community and each other. Here is a short quote from Tom, who was interviewed for a recent Pioneer Press article. You can read the entire article here: TomandJulie
At one therapy session, Julie talked about what she wanted for me, what she wanted my life to be like as the disease progressed. The therapist and I were in tears. The therapist said to me, ‘When she forgets who you are, she will still realize that you are safe to be with.”
I’m convinced the essence of the person doesn’t leave…The sacred center is still intact.
If you want to witness exquisite beauty, watch Tom and Julie in this PBS interview (filmed recently at the Memory Walk.)
Friends of Tom and Julie’s, Karen and Jerry Parks were also a part of a Christiane Amanpour interview examining Alzheimers issues, so if you want to know more about early onset Alzheimers, take a look.
Tom and Julie, God will certainly grant you grace for the journey ahead.
You are demonstrating daily a lesson that we all must learn:
Even when we forget who we are, God remembers.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
– Lamentations 3:22