Staring at Dementia, Fighting for Joy

Jeff Robinson | June 10, 2015

She looks like my mother, but it couldn’t be her; this lady doesn’t even know my name. She thinks I have eleven brothers (I have two), including another named “Jeff” who lives next door. I reside 400 miles from my hometown in the Deep South, arguably in the lower Midwest if you want to make the case Louisville is not a Southern city. They don’t serve sweet tea here. Not many grits are on the menu unless you count Cracker Barrel. Not exactly a Southern town. Formerly, mom would have agreed. Today, she doesn’t know I live in Louisville and cannot name the state in which it is located.

I ask her: “Ever hear of my father, Charlie Robinson?” After a long, wistful pause, accompanied by a miles-away look, the mental wheels turning but not catching on any pegs, she says, “No, his name sounds familiar, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him.” I reiterated that he was my dad, a paratrooper in World War II, a deacon in our church, a man widely admired for his integrity and commitment to Christ in our town. “Remember, he died of an aneurysm back in 1991. You all were married for 25 years.” “Really?” she…

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