Posts Tagged ‘dementia’

“Tell Your Mother That I Love Her”

June 5, 2014

elderly-man-alzheimers-illustration
This incredible story from Rachel Namoi Remen‘s book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, is eerily reminiscent of my own experience with my father near the end of his struggle with Alzheimer’s. While my experience wasn’t as chilling, it was just as real.

There is no medical explanation for the story below. So how did it happen? Only God knows.




kitchen-table-wisdomFor the last ten years of his life, Tim’s father had Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the devoted care of Tim’s mother, he had slowly deteriorated until he had become a sort of walking vegetable. He was unable to speak and was fed, clothed, and cared for as if he were a very young child. As Tim and his brother grew older, they would stay with their father for brief periods of time while their mother took care of the needs of the household. One Sunday, while she was out doing the shopping, the boys, then fifteen and seventeen, watched football as their father sat nearby in a chair. Suddenly, he slumped forward and fell to the floor. Both sons realized immediately that something was terribly wrong. His color was gray and his breath uneven and rasping. Frightened, Tim’s older brother told him to call 911. Before he could respond, a voice he had not heard in ten years, a voice he could barely remember, interrupted: “Don’t (more…)

Little Drummer Boy

January 27, 2012




Tim Leitch and Mrs. Kamasz



What do you get when you cross a down-on-his-luck middle-age punk rock drummer with an eighty-two-year-old woman with dementia? What else? A beautiful love story!


Tim Leitch, aka Spit Stix from the nationally prominent (more…)

The Last Smile

April 20, 2011

Cyn and I help Grampo celebrate his 64th birthday, fifty-two years ago today

It was the day after Christmas, 1971. I was fourteen and my sister, Cyn, was fifteen. Our family was at the Vets Hospital visiting Grampo, my dad’s father, who had spiraled into dementia after undergoing double-cataract surgery months earlier.

Our beloved Grampo was sitting in a wheelchair in his room, staring vacantly ahead. My sister and I were sitting patiently on his bed, waiting to go home. It had been a long time since Grampo had recognized any of us or demonstrated that any trace of the Grampo we knew and loved was still “in there.”

Suddenly, Grampo turned to look at Cyn and me . . . (more…)

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

August 4, 2008
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. (more…)

Transcending Life as a Flowerpot

July 30, 2008
dad-portrait

My dad, Kent Bolsta



This is a story from my book, Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World,

On an otherwise ordinary Thursday night, my dad slept in his own bed in his own home for the last time. He didn’t realize it, and never would. He was to spend Friday night—and all the rest of his nights—in a nearby nursing home.

His memory had been failing for at least a decade but it wasn’t until a warm September evening six years before that I truly became alarmed. In my mind, it was the night he veered off the main highway of life and began weaving erratically down Alzheimer’s Avenue.

He had worked on the stats crew for University of Minnesota Gopher football games for forty years, and, as was his custom after home games, he was going to drive the twenty minutes to my townhouse and sleep over rather than drive an additional seventy miles to his home in St. Cloud.

I expected him around midnight; at a quarter to one, the phone rang. He was lost. He was calling from the Hopkins House Hotel just a few miles down the road. I cheerfully told him that all he had to do was head east on Highway 7. He said he didn’t know which way east was, which startled me. I then heard five words that sent a chill up my spine. In a soft, sweet voice, he said, “I’ll (more…)