Alzheimer’s, Death, and Divorce

When I heard of televangelist Pat Robertson’s recent comments about Alzheimer’s disease, death, and divorce, I remembered an illustration that Adrian Rogers used in a sermon a number of years ago. I do not recall the sermon title or text, but the illustration has stuck with me all of these years.

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The story is told of an elderly couple who had been married for well over fifty years. Tragically, the wife succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease and needed to be placed in a nursing care facility.

The husband, who loved his wife dearly, visited her daily. He would spend hours talking to her about their life together and their family. He would read her favorite books to her, feed her at mealtimes, take her for walks in the garden, and sit quietly next to her bed while she slept.

All of this did not go un-noticed by the administrative and nursing staff at the facility. One day several administrators and nurses approached the husband and asked if they could speak with him.

The staff members shared how they had observed the husband’s faithful devotion and attendance to his wife and her needs. They complimented him for the tenderness with which he cared for his wife of decades. They expressed great appreciation for the couple’s years of love and marriage and for his sacrificial commitment to his beloved.

They then commented that he still had his health, energy, and  interests. It was suggested that he should begin taking more time for himself and not spend so much time at the facility with his wife. “Sleep in every morning, play golf with your friends, do things that you enjoy.” “After all,” they continued, “your wife doesn’t know where she is at and she doesn’t even know you are.”

The loving husband relied, “But, I know who she is.”

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