Dad Had Alzheimer’s But Was “Still In There”

dad-portrait

My dad, Kent Bolsta

Three years ago, my first book was published. It was a business book, and I brought it to St. Cloud, Minnesota, to give a copy to my mom. On my way back home to Minneapolis, I stopped at the nursing home to see my dad. He was sitting in the day room in the Alzheimer’s ward, waiting for lunch. Well, that’s not entirely true; he wasn’t waiting for lunch, or waiting for anything for that matter. He was just sitting at a table, slumped in his chair, his mouth hanging open, a vacant look in his eyes.

As usual, he didn’t react when I walked over to him. I sat down and said, “Dad, I wrote a book. See, my name’s on the cover.” He stared blankly ahead. I told him that, all my life, whenever I wrote something I was proud of, that he was the first person I wanted to show it to. And then something amazing happened—he started to cry. Hugging him, I told him that I knew he understood what I was saying, and that that meant the world to me. He cried twice more before I left. Here I thought he had left us long ago, but somehow, some way, he had broken through the barrier of his ravaged mind to let me know that he was still in there, and still proud of me. Three months later, he was gone.

For an even more dramatic example of how a soul can transcend Alzheimer’s, see the story on page 298 of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s book, Kitchen Table Wisdom. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up—in a good way. If this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is.

Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that a loved one with dementia has no clue about what’s going on. On the deepest level imaginable, they’re still there. And still loving you.

POSTSCRIPT 1: A few years before this moment with my dad, I wrote an essay for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about his long, slow descent into Alzheimer’s.

POSTSCRIPT 2: My dad not only personally welcomed the guests at his funeral, he also provided the entertainment. Here is my eulogy from that service.





Click here to see all my posts featuring my parents and grandparents.





Click here to see all my posts related to Alzheimer’s.






ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to GodsEyesOrder.com OR order from Amazon at GodsEyesAmazon.com OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.




Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER





logic-of-living-a-spiritual-life-book-cover

Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?


Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.




Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.



SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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2 Responses to “Dad Had Alzheimer’s But Was “Still In There””

  1. Laura Bramly Says:

    Hi Phil:

    Thanks for letting me know the link for your follow-up story. This experience that you had with your dad really resonated with me. In my mother’s final year, I really needed to talk to her about something personal, regarding someone that I knew and that she knew as well. I was sad, of course, that I couldn’t have a heart to heart talk with her, but I thought “Well, if I just say what I wanted to say out loud, at least I’ll feel a bit better even if she doesn’t respond.” So I waited until we were alone in her room, and as she lay stretched out on her bed staring at the ceiling and smiling, I talked to her. And she responded “Well, a bit late for that now, isn’t it?” I have to tell you, that was the most appropriate response she could have given. I think she was listening, and understood what I was saying at some level, and at the very least, she was listening with her heart and understood my feelings.

    We know so little about how people operate under the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and our tendency to think the worst is doing them such a disservice.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I appreciate you sharing that, Laura. I’m glad you had that moment with your mother. I believe that an Alzheimer’s sufferer’s mind is whole and intact but they just can’t express themselves anymore, like they’re trapped in their bodies. There are so many instances like this that you can’t help but at least wonder.

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