In the first few years of my dad being back in my life, I struggled with my dad’s dementia and often read about his condition in various medical journals. It became too much for me to read much more about it, and I often cried thinking about what dementia will do to my dad. I still do, from time to time. John 11:35 tells us that Jesus wept. As fully-God and fully-man, Jesus experienced the full range of human emotions, yet never sinned. Hebrews 2:17-18 and Hebrews 4:14-16 in particular have been such an encouragement to me during this time.
It was a pleasant summer evening in Caldwell, Idaho, and my wife and I were sitting in our home watching some TV. The year was 2012. Suddenly my cell phone rang: It was my older brother, calling me to let me know that my dad—who had moved from the Seattle area to Eastern Washington six and a half years previous—had been admitted to a hospital in Seattle. My brother explained I was to call the hospital and talk to my dad to find out what was going on. As soon as I finished with my brother, I called the hospital switchboard and asked to speak with my dad. I will never forget our conversation after talking to him for the first time in six and a half years.
I said, “Dad, it’s me, do you remember me?” My dad said, “Yes.” At this point I’m a mess inside, but I’m not crying. I told him I loved him and asked if he would like to see me; he said “Yes,” and we talked for a while more. I tell him I’ll call him back soon, and we hang up. I then call my mom and let her know what has happened. She’s shocked, and asks, “Are you coming to Seattle?”
My wife and I, a few hours after this conversation, hopped in the car and drove the eight hours from Caldwell, Idaho, to Seattle, Washington.