The Biggest Miracle

Mid-morning often found my mother sitting half-dressed, wet, and smelly on “her” couch in the den, while my father and I sat at the kitchen table, defeated.

Mom had said no. When she awoke and we helped her out of bed, she said no to the bathroom. No to dry clothes. No to her chair at the table and the orange juice and tea that awaited her there. No. Clearly, emphatically—no.

Dad and I knew time was the only help we could give Mom as she sat in these dark moods.

So we waited. Dad slumped forward, elbows on the table, head in his hands. I perched on the edge of my chair across from him, with short, desperate pleas for help threading through my mind like a mantra. When I became aware of my thoughts, I would stop, grasp the knots of faith hunkered down in my spirit, and start to pray again, consciously.

Eventually, though, we’d look at each other.

“The sofa’s been wet before, Daddy,” I’d say. “We’ll clean it up.” Then, more quietly, I’d remind him, “You know she always comes around. She’ll be clean and dry in an hour or two or three…we’ll just wait for the right time.”

“Yes, honey. Sooner or later.”  Dad spoke in low tones that rose from between his hunched shoulders. “And you know….”

Here it comes, I’d think. I knew what to expect. Hope was on its way, like a bright balloon, getting bigger and bigger.

“And you know,” he’d say as he straightened his back, “the days aren’t all this way.”  His voice would get a little lighter. “And the whole day’s not lost. In fact, by this afternoon she might be telling me ‘I love you, Daddy. I just don’t know what I’d do without you.’  We’ll just wait a while. Maybe I can get her to drink some juice.”

And there it was. Once again. The miracle of hope. The drive to try again. By the kindness of heaven and the power of the Almighty, my father never lost it. He conceded a battle sometimes, but he always returned to the field.  He remained a valiant, loving, fierce warrior throughout my mother’s illness. He fought for her. He fought to keep her alive, to keep her at home, to keep her with him. Hope helped him fight. He never let it go.

  • Hope. Expect it. Invite it in.
  • Feed it by remembering past events that have seemed hopeless but have ended well.
  • Even when you can’t find your own hope, talk about it to friends, family, other caregivers. Let them share with you.

Hope is the biggest miracle. It opens our eyes to see the other wonders that come to caregivers every day.  We’ll look at more miracles next week.

Meanwhile, will you share your own stories with me and the caregivers who read this blog?  We can give so much to each other, in spite of distance and time.  Just scroll to the bottom of this page and click in the “Leave a Reply” space. We will all thank you!

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…. Therefore we do not lose heart….We are being renewed day by day  (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16  NIV).”

Father of all hope and encouragement, open our eyes to the power you give us to care for our loved ones every day. Fill us with the certainty that You are always with us, and where You are present, miracles abound.


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About atimeformiracles

I'm a writer. And a speaker. And an advocate for victims of Alzheimer's. I write about a lot of things, but right now Alzheimer's has taken center stage. You'll see some of my work on my blog If you're a caregiver, this blog is for you, from someone who has been in your shoes. I offer help in the form of tips and strategies gained through my personal experience. I offer encouragement in the form of witness: You are never alone. The God of all hope is always with you, and where He is, miracles abound. I speak to groups on the same subject, sharing helps and challenging caregivers to expect joy on the path through Alzheimer's. It's a rough road, but it leads through terrain of intense beauty. I can point out some of the miraculous sights along the way. In the U.S., a new diagnosis of Alzheimer's is made every 69 seconds. Please join me in praying for those suffering from the disease and for those who care for them.

4 thoughts on “The Biggest Miracle

  1. How I remember those “no moments”. I wish I could tell you we were always patient with Mama. But we weren’t.

    Knowledge is power and Kathleen, you are providing us with wisdom and knowledge we can use to make this difficult journey through the darkness of Alzheimer’s brighter for the loved one suffering from the disease as well as the spouse, family and friends. Thank you. Medical experts tell us in every form of disease we face, our attitude and faith make the difference in the journey.


  2. Hi….Thank you for your words of encouragement…my brother and I are travelling through uncharted territory as well, with God’s help in reguard to his wife,Barbara. So much is similar…a lot of things you have done we are also doing with sucess. Praise God! Lately she sings a lot around the house with all the words correct….among so many others miracles…(she used to sing all the time)….Have you tried coconut oil and MCT oil? We have been using it in her food for about 3 months along with Cogni Sure & P.S. from Natural Factors…..We have had major improvement incorporating this mix. I am so glad I found this post!

    • Oh, Joy, I’m so glad you found it as well. What a generous sister and sister-in-law you are! Though Mom used to sing all the time, she stopped when she became ill. But sometimes she responded well to music. You and your brother must love it when his wife sings! My Mom has passed away, but I’m so glad you mentioned the coconut oil and MCT oil and Cogni Sure and P.S. Though I don’t have experience with them, other readers probably do. And knowing these products have brought major improvement for your sister-in-law, I know readers who haven’t heard about them will check them out. Thank you, Joy. You’re helping the whole caregiving community. God bless you.

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