By Charles Towne

Dear friend, Imagine that you went to bed last night and everything was fine.  You kissed your sweetheart goodnight, maybe you even cuddled a bit. Perhaps you talked a bit about tomorrow’s plans.  Then you went to sleep.

Several hours pass and a new day caresses the land with rosy fingers.  You slowly drowsily come awake, opening your eyes to a new day, but something is wrong?  You are confused, even bewildered. You ask yourself, “Where am I?” You look around trying to get your bearings, but… you don’t recognize anything.

You are now fully awake, or think you are, but… everything is so strange?

You hear a voice and turn your head.  There is someone standing there, a stranger.  You call out, “mama… daddy!” But you don’t recognize your own voice.

The stranger is staring at you, and begins to walk toward you.

You shout, “Go away, you are not my mama!”  Or think you do.

The stranger speaks but you don’t understand anything they say.

You try to get out of bed and fall to the floor.  Soon you are surrounded by strangers.

You don’t understand anything… you have had a stroke.

Yes, imagine.

Now imagine that you are in a strange place, again you are surrounded by strangers.

All, all that was familiar is gone.

A stroke?  Alzheimer’s disease?  They are not alike, but they are not all that different either.

Nancy, my darling wife has endured the ravages and confusion of Alzheimer’s disease now for several years.

At the very least it is difficult for both of us.

One of the most difficult consequences of any form of dementia is the loss of family.

People suffering the loss of a loved one to dementia often don’t know where the other, their loved one, has gone.  That they are confused, frustrated, is the very least that can be said, and I speak from experience.

Nancy has a son.  She also has three beautiful grandbabies.  In over twenty years since Nan and I were married, she has seen her son about ten times and her grandbabies less than half that often.

She praises her son.  Me? I have very strong feelings.  Abandonment is cruel, to say the least

Family is so important


Please Papa God, we caregivers need your help.  To say we are frustrated is a great understatement.   This is the most challenging task I have ever faced, and yet it is also my most rewarding.  Help each of us and give us the strength to be what you want us to be. Bless each of your children with your love and your great wisdom.  And Father, please help us to remember that if one member of the family suffers from this curse, it affects the entire family. Thank you Papa God, in Jesus wonderful name I ask it, 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. What a powerful way to understand the heart and mind of those who have lost the ability to recognize their loved ones. Thank you.

  2. Dear Little Brother … Life is one and we need to express and give all of fear and lovely people everything we got for them.
    Seventeen years ago I lost part of my life, when the Heaven was opened. My GOD, my Mom and Arthur; my second brother and Dad. Was the most terrible lost that I ever felt.
    But now I got my Man, my Life. My Son: Andrés.
    So, GOD give us proof to keep going and make us more confident and strong.
    Same GOD put us in the same place same hour and we stand together as a brother as their sons.
    Praise GOD. Life is one. Takes a breath to change everything …

  3. Leonardo De La Rosa Cano, My friend and brother in Jesus. I can feel your pain when you lost your family members those years ago in that terrible accident. Isn’t it wonderful that Papa understands your pain. I thank Him for your blessed friendship, Chaz

  4. Dear NH, I thank our Papa God that He gives us the strength to endure!. Our lives on this earth are so often filled with pain, but there will be a blessed time when sickness, pain and death will be no more. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, o what a foretaste of glory divine. Bless you my dear friend, Chaz

  5. You wrote, “This is the most challenging task I have ever faced, and yet it is also my most rewarding.” What are the rewards?
    I have an acquaintance, Nell, who was placed in a nursing home four years ago with dementia. She was and is an amazing pianist. Mentally, she is oblivious – wanders, doesn’t recognize friends and family, makes nonsensical comments. But all isn’t dismal – the nursing home has a beautiful piano, and when Nell places her hands on its keys, exquisite music flows. While she plays, her face is serene or intent, depending on the piece. All is not lost.
    Did Nan have a hobby? It might be interesting to give her acrylic paints, brushes, and canvas. Drawing and painting don’t require words, much artistic expression comes from the subconscious – the choice of color, the thickness of line, how much of the canvas is filled. Has she worked with paint?

  6. Your article today was very sad. The gradual fading of memory and final of motor skills is terrifying . My greatest wish for the people around me that I love is that they do not experience Alzheimer’s disease.

  7. Ahhh Judith, yes my dear, there are rewards! One is satisfaction of a task well done. Another is the inspiration she gives me in my writing. And there is her beautiful smile, and the fact that she still knows who I am and I know she loves me. Music fills her heart with joy. Nan remembers songs and music from the past and sings like a lark. This illness is a temporary setback, yes, temporary. I believe as we learn to face the difficulties of life Papa God is developing character that we would never have otherwise. Some people live life as a curse, others live life as a blessing. A wise man once said, “Those that were seen dancing were thought to be crazy by those that could not hear the music.” Nanny could always hear the music. Bless you sis, Chaz

  8. Yes, it is not the end…if we have Jesus! Hallelujah!! I pray that we each march to our own drummer and remain happy and loving, no matter what chapter of our life we may be in.
    Thank you, Chuck!
    God bless you and Nancy!!

  9. Dear CSG, IT IS JUST THE BEGINNING! What a wonderful friend we have in our God! Bless you each day of your life, Chaz

  10. Herb took,the words right out of my head – well said Herb. Our prayers for you and Nancy as you face this challenge.

  11. Hey Mike, yes, sad it is especially for the caregiver in the sense that we are aware of the nuances of the disease. I have arrived at the point of mind where the victim, as in my case, my Nanny, doesn’t see herself as diminished in any way, It is the caregiver that is the problem. It is a challenge to say the least. Thanks so much for the comment Mike, and many blessings on you folks, Chaz

  12. I like how you write about what it might be like being the person that is losing their sense of reality. In some ways that is quite hard to imagine, but yet I can imagine it enough to feel the fright. You two have really been through so much. I wish Nancy’s surviving family cared more, visited more, called more. It is understandable that you have strong feelings about such abandonment. It is hard to understand the abandonment! Thank GOD that Nancy has YOU. And vice versa. 🙂

  13. Ahhh Kristin, my dear, I am the one that is so fortunate it hurts. I just walked in the door from visiting with my lady at the nursing home. My only fear is that Nanny will outlive me and there will be no one to care for her, but I need not worry about that because Papa God will always take care of her. Bless you dear friend, yes, bless you. Chaz

  14. Dr. Bursey, when I began writing this article I didn’t began to imagine how it would impact people. I am so appreciative of the feedback by my readers. Blessings to you and yours sir. Chaz

  15. Dreams and imagination verses reality. What is clashing with what could be. All the times I have been yelled at to.stop day dreaming and pay attention! Perhsps the real horror of these diseases is that they remove our ability to choose and randomly impose their own warped sense of reality on one!

  16. Richard, what I find disturbing is the fact that Nanny has recounted this tale according to her sense of reality several times now and each time she tells it as fact? Interesting! Chaz


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