By Charles Towne

My darling Nancy surprises me with some of her revelations. We were visiting with friends from our church and Nanny was sitting on the sofa carrying on an animated conversation with the mother of one of the other guests. I was standing listening to them when I heard the lady ask Nancy, “Does your mother live nearby?” Without missing a lick Nan, with a little, just a tad of artistic license I might add, and with no hesitation, replied… “No, she lived in Pittsburgh until just recently, but she went on a cruise, fell overboard, and the sharks ate her!” This bit of information, though very informative, came as quite a surprise to me due to the fact that her mother had visited with us only recently and showed no signs whatsoever of shark bites, missing limbs or what one might consider catastrophic amputations.

In my wife’s defense, she has enjoyed the diverse, frustrating and somewhat peculiar delights of Alzheimer’s dementia for several years now so the shark revelation cannot be considered dishonest, but it was, at the moment, Nanny’s reality.

Nancy has been a resident of Florida Living nursing home for two years now.  Her confusion at times leads her to behave in a wild and whacky style but she still knows who I am, for this, I am very thankful.  She is always glad to see me come and gets angry when I leave. She doesn’t understand why she can’t come home with me. Yeah, it is more than frustrating for both of us so all I can do is go in and visit with her on a daily basis

If you imagine the confusion that accompanies dementia is difficult for you to handle, try to see it from the victim’s viewpoint.  Almost all that was familiar is now strange.

Just this evening I received a call from a friend.  I was shocked as she told me that she has recently been diagnosed with dementia with it’s accompanying confusion.  She has always been a wonderful cook, but now, everything is strange. She lives in Canada with its socialized medicine and is told that she will have to wait at least three years before admission to a nursing home.  She and her husband live on a farm with no family nearby. What do they do?

What do WE do?

We can pray and hope for the soon coming of our Lord, and do the best we can.

Praise you Lord, thank you for everything, yes, even this for this too shall pass away, Amen.

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. I am still laughing…
    Of course, I know sweet Nancy, so it adds another layer of humor to imagine her responding in such a matter-of-fact way. I love her imagination. She gets points for creativity..sharks???? Where on earth did that come from? lol.
    Thank you for my Sunday morning smile.

  2. Dear NH, yes, you are so right! My sweetie sure does have style. The thing that struck me as especially funny was she said it in such a matter of fact way with no hesitation whatsoever! Bless you dear friend. Chaz

  3. Thank you for making every Sunday morning different. I do enjoy your articles even more in my Sunday newspaper

  4. Charles, I wonder what the shrinks would have to say about your wife’s bit of creativity? We all know that for whatever reason some weird things come out of the unconscious mind. Perhaps this was instigated by a dream? They are just beginning to delve into the puzzle that is the Alzheimer’s afflicted mind. then again, just perhaps for whatever reason, Nancy’s comment could have been the result of wishful thinking? It would be interesting to know what sort of relationship she had with her mother? Curious. A friend

  5. Herb, that means a lot to me. At my tender young age I figure I have at least another twenty years of articles rattling around in the old think tank so please keep reading and commenting and I will keep scribbling away. Bless you pal, Chaz

  6. Dear friend, yes, I know what you mean. She has expressed frustration to me that her family has seemingly abandoned her due to her illness. She was telling me just the other day that she would love to go up and visit her folks. She is unable to grasp the fact that mama and daddy are both dead. Have never been able to grasp how a family can abandon one of their own? Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Chaz

  7. Mr. Mike Mike, glad you liked it. Definitely more coming. Tell your lady we said hello. Bless you and yours, Chaz

  8. Yes, what a good chuckle, especially knowing dear, sweet Nancy. It is what it is…unless
    the Good Lord heals her. So, I am
    glad you can take each day at a time and love her and enjoy her…enjoy “wherever” she is that day. It is not an easy thing to go through, as I have also had relatives who have been there. The Lord’s grace and love help us keep moving forward. Thank you!
    God’s richest blessings on you Chuck!!

  9. Wow, so very right CSG. Your comment, “wherever she is that day.” That is what is so very difficult because there is really no telling where she is going to be, at any one moment, past, present or future, she, and all victims of Alzheimer’s disease, are dwelling in their own reality. Yeah, WOW! Bless you my friend, Chaz

  10. UUUAAAAOOOO … Such a Beautiful Poem, Article, etc. First of all for knowing all around Nancy and You. And besides the way that you being “Living” as an authentic GENTLEMAN and perfect Husband.
    Dealing with ‘it’ loving Nanny the way that you’re still adore her is an example for Me and for everybody that know your story.
    I love Nancy and I appreciate GOD sent me such a Wonderful Little Brother.
    GOD Bless You !!!

  11. Leo, I praise Papa God for my darling wife. I have the blessed assurance that the day will arrive when she will be healed, completely, and I will know her as the Father intended her to be Praise THE Lord from whom all blessings flow. Bless you and yours my brother, Chaz

  12. Hi Charles, I was sorry to hear about your friend in Canada and the prevailing conditions up there. I’m guessing it is a comfort for them to have you as a friend especially because you have been through this with Nancy. Thoughtful and interesting story as always. 🙂

  13. Hi Charles, I just left a comment and then it disappeared. Glad I scrolled down to see if it was there. I was saying very sorry to hear about your friend in Canada. I am guessing it will be a good thing to have you on their support team if only by phone or internet. It is always good to hear about Nancy and how you make the best of every situation no matter how difficult. Keep up the good attitude and faith.

  14. Kristin, my dear friend, when it comes to making the best of every situation I must admit there are those times that I want to run, far and fast. But, I guess that is my “inner coward” at work. I have to remind myself that under the veneer of her humanity lies the fragments of my sweet lady. Yes, she is definitely still there and worthy of my love. Bless you kids, Chaz

  15. Dear Chuck, you might try to find out what Nan is watching when you aren’t around! This disease is one of the most terrible conditions one can imagine because you have to watch a loved one leave so slowly and in so much confusion in many ways it is almost more painful for the caregiver than the patient! But even so, there are those moments when the one we knew and loved comes back for a short time and we are strengthened by those moments we get to spend with the person we remember! With my mom, they usually came as we watched old movies from the 30’s or 40’s on tv, and I cherish them! May Papa God bless you
    abundantly,Chuck and grant you strength!

  16. Richard, yeah, you are so right. An Alzheimer’s victim’s reality is fantasy from the get go. All we can do is love the victim and protect them the best we can. Bless you my friend, chaz

  17. As I remember your precious Nancy, she still has a great memory of songs she likes to sing! I will never forget how she always had a great smile for everyone, including my Betty! Betty is in Heaven now, and I expect to see her some day. Until that day, I will always have fond memories of the days spent at FLNC and special friends like you and Nancy! Also, I miss all the special friends from Anytime Fitness exercise Club!!

  18. Yes brother Don, the songs are still there as are the smiles. People ask about your well being frequently. May our friend Papa God bless you and hold you close always is my constant frayer, Chaz

  19. I agree with the comment made by a friend – then again, just perhaps for whatever reason, Nancy’s comment could have been the result of wishful thinking? It would be interesting to know what sort of relationship she had with her mother?
    Dementia often loosens mental filters allowing troubled feelings to slip through from the subconscious. You responded that her family had abandoned her – definitely cause for deep resentment.
    You are blessed that she still recognizes you and also blessed that you’re able to visit her daily. She’s blessed by your faithfulness and kindness.

  20. Judith, the aforementioned abandonment of family is not at al uncommon. Many people have a difficult time coping with what the consider strange behavior and this leads to the abandonment. On the other hand Nan praises her mother. Some of the off the wall comments are definitely hard to explain. Thanks, Chaz


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