"The need is great—and not just in Africa.” --Those were my ending words in a newspaper article that I wrote for my hometown newspaper right before Christmas. I encouraged people to love and reach out to those around them who are struggling.
I finished writing it, and literally three minutes after clicking “send” and emailing the article to the editor, I stumbled across the blog of a family friend who lives in that very town.
As I started reading Sandy’s blog entries, I gasped and couldn’t believe what I was reading.
This young, vibrant family has suddenly been thrown into the middle of a very dark, terrifying storm: Sandy’s 46-year-old husband, Curt, has been diagnosed with Alzheimers.
Curt has been a teacher for the past 25 years, but several weeks ago he had to stop teaching. I know his students loved him and will miss his presence at the high school; one of my teen girls at HOHC last year had Curt as a history teacher at the time and she highly respected him.
I can’t imagine how difficult and challenging this journey will be for this family (they have two teenagers: ages 13 and 16), but I know one thing: they are 100% relying on God to carry them through. Instead of cursing God, they are still saying “blessed be the name of the Lord;” I can’t tell you how encouraged I am by this! Many Christians turn their back on God during trials like this, but Sandy and Curt know that true peace and strength can only come from Him.
Here’s an excerpt from Sandy’s blog. She writes:
“I am the type of person who carries a flashlight, a tape measure, a pocketknife, and clorox wipes in my purse with me. I am always prepared for everything, I plan for things, I think ahead…..BUT having a husband who has Alzheimer’s at age 46 is NOT something I ever planned for, or ever prepared for…
…I have come to ACCEPT this diagnosis. I don’t like it, I don’t understand why it is happening to us….BUT it is what we are dealing with and I refuse to confront it with a negative attitude…
I am not prepared for this journey we are on….but amidst such difficulties I am amazed at the PEACE I have come to know!! God has truly granted me that peace during the storm of this life.”
Ask yourself….would you have the same attitude and be able to rely on God for your strength? I know how I would WANT to react if I were in Sandy’s shoes, but I don’t know how I would actually react. I watched my grandfather endure Alzheimers for several years, and it was incredibly emotionally draining (my mom and grandma set wonderful examples, the way they loved + cared for him.)
While reading Sandy’s honest and emotional blog entries, it’s evident to me that she meant the words “….for better or worse” when she stood beside the love of her life and recited her wedding vows.
Please please please, if you live locally and know this family, extend a loving hand to them and see how you can be a blessing to them. They’re an incredible family, and I’ve SO enjoyed getting to know them over the last 8 years or so. (My family met them when their son and my brother played on the same baseball team. I enjoyed babysitting their kids when they were younger—their son even gave me a drum lesson once when he was about 9 : )
As Christians, we are meant to live this life TOGETHER—not alone. So reach out to friends (and even strangers) around you who are in the middle of difficult situations.
Above all, pray for Sandy + Curt and the kids each day as they adjust to a completely new way-of-life.