Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mom's "Never Alone"

As I was knocking about the internet the other day I found an online version of a magazine article, titled “Never Alone,” that my mother got published back in 2003. The article is about how Mom’s faith in God and a big black dog comforted her when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of 60.

According to the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, “Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” That’s the clinical definition. It takes on a much more personal tone when it strikes someone in your family. It slowly takes away who that person is before it takes their life.

Rereading her article now, seven years after it was published, is like a window into the past for me. I can once again see the woman I once knew, expressing the thoughts and fears that she can no longer fully articulate.

Mom wrote: “Tank sprang out the door and galloped down the road. Eighty solid pounds of black Labrador retriever, he certainly lived up to his name. He loved barreling through our 160 acres. I used to enjoy it too, but not lately. Not since I heard the word Alzheimer’s. ‘You seem to be showing some early signs,’ the neurologist had told me, after a checkup with my family doctor and a battery of tests, including a brain scan. […]

“I remembered the flyer I’d picked up from an Alzheimer’s support group. It said that I should get an ID bracelet with my name, address and phone number. More than likely I’d end up forgetting who I was and where I lived. The thought horrified me. I was going to lose myself, remembering nothing and nobody. Would I eventually forget who God was? Lord, I can’t bear the idea of being so utterly alone. Please stay with me.
“’Tank!’ I called. No sign of our big black Lab. Would I forget him too? ‘Here, boy!’ I called. Tank careened out of the woods. The dog was so big that when he stood on his hind legs his paws rested on my shoulders. Still, he was one of the most gentle creatures I’d ever known. Tank circled me then dashed back into the trees, chasing something I couldn’t see. I’m being chased too, I thought. To a place where no one will be able to reach me.”

Medicine has slowed it somewhat, but the predator that stalks my mother is closing in swiftly now. She has difficulty now with common tasks that my four-year-old takes for granted. My words, my guns, even my love for my mother are all powerless against this killer.

Mom is a good, hard-working, church-going woman, totally undeserving of being slowly stripped of a lifetime of memories, then of life itself. I often use this blog to impotently speak out against injustice. If you’re listening God, I’m speaking out now.

If anyone else has some time, please read the short article by my mom, Judy Cashner, here.


  1. I know it must be difficult to share a personal moment to relative strangers, but please know that you and your mother are not alone.

    I shared your mom's story with my wife and it will be passed on to others as well.

    I wish I could express adequate words of comfort for you both, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Wonderful article by your Mom. At a loss for words on this. I will pray.


  3. Thanks guys. When I re-read Mom's article I felt like it deserved to be shared with people again.

  4. Thanks Ben. We keep a copy of that magazine on our coffee table and it has been read by various visitors over the past few years. That and your old Mother's Day post are two things I cherish.


Post Topics

10 Questions with... abortion ACLU alcohol Alzheimer's Ames Straw Poll armed self defense assault weapons ban Audit the Fed Austin Petersen Barack Obama Ben Lange Beth Cody Between Two Rivers Bill Weld Bob Barr Bob Cashner books Bruce Braley Bruce Hunter Candidates Carl Olsen Cedar Rapids Gazette charity Chet Culver Christopher Peters Clel Baudler communism Confederate Flag Constitution Constitutional Convention Corey D. Roberts Crime Cristina Kinsella Dan Muhlbauer debt Declaration of Independence Democrat Party disasters Donald Trump drones drugs economy education elections Eric Cooper events Facebook Fast and Furious First Amendment food freedom foreign policy free markets freedom Gary Johnson gay marriage Glenn Beck gold gun control Gun Owners of America guns health care Hillary Clinton history Honey Creek Resort Iowa Iowa Caucus Iowa City Iowa Firearms Coalition Iowa First District Iowa Freedom Report Iowa Gun Owners Iowa Right To Life Jake Porter Joe Bolkom John Boehner John McAfee John McCain Judge Napolitano Keith Laube Lake Delhi law Lee Heib Lee Hein liberals Libertarian Party libertarianism marijuana Me media medical marijuana memes Memory Walk Michele Bachmann military Mom Nate Newsome Nick Taiber NRA NSA Obamacare police policy politics President Obama primaries privacy property rights Rand Paul religion Republican Party resistance Rick Santorum right to carry Rob Petsche Rod Blum Roger Fritz Ron Paul Rush Limbaugh Ryan Flood Sandy Hook Massacre Sarah Palin Second Amendment smoking Social Security spending Star Wars State Defense Forces Steve King Steven Lukan taxes Tea Party Movement Tenth Amendment terrorism Terry Branstad Tom Harkin traffic cams TSA TV/Movies war Wayne Jerman weapons Will Johnson Yuri N. Maltsev Zach Wahls