Because I Can

It’s been fifteen days since the love of my life went to his forever home with complications from Dementia. Today, I went to the cemetery to choose the headstone and take a look at the gravesite. As I sat there talking with the young lady who assisted me in doing what I never planned to do, it was as though I was outside my emotions as I looked at the names on the headstone – Dr. Henry R. Jones and Dr. Elizabeth A. Jones. More than once, I have told others that we are now the generation that will be next in line to take our final journey. But when you realize it’s today’s reality, it changes the scope of your thinking.

The night Henry passed away, everyone was leaving my home when I asked my family to remove the hospital bed from my bedroom. I then moved chairs around in my room to make it look more inviting. Kimberly, my daughter, was spending the night, so we prepared to go to bed. We were exhausted from our emotions which had been raging throughout the day as Henry was straining to breathe, so when he drew his last breath, it was as though we had climbed Mt. McKinley and needed extra oxygen for the higher altitude. We lay down and immediately went to sleep and rested throughout the night. People have asked me how in the world we slept in the room where my husband had just passed. I know it was the extraordinary peace of the Holy Spirit that gave us strength to just keep going when our emotions were unraveling.

Each day at 6 pm, I go on Facebook Live with Kimberly and speak to thousands of followers who are connected to Kimberly through church and her RTK Inner Circle. Yesterday, we were online and began to laugh about our day and how much we had accomplished. We both saw a post that someone had written that said, “You seem much happier since your husband has passed.” I immediately went into attack mode because no one can understand where we are unless they have walked in our shoes.

When Henry was diagnosed with Dementia in February, 2015, I went home, shut the bathroom door and cried a river while questioning how in the world could we walk through this awful disease. We knew we would never put Henry in a nursing home and yet, I felt so frail and alone. Honestly, there is no way to explain to those who have never experienced Dementia or Alzheimers how difficult it is to maneuver through such hardships. We only knew that God would be our source and would give us strength as needed.

We had been given a special invitation to travel to the nation of Indonesia for six weeks, so we decided we would take that trip in September, 2015. As we traveled through the years, Henry was the travel agent for us. He would procure tickets and get us fantastic seats because the trip was always from 24 hours to 30 hours, so we would fly economy deluxe which meant we had wide seats, foot rests and personal television. However, for this trip, everything was directed to me. I had to determine the plane, the flight schedule and itinerary for six weeks. I had always been protected and taken care of by this strong man who prided himself in being the best husband, dad and granddad to our family. However, I knew that this would probably be his last trip to the nation that he dearly loved and the friends that we had made for the last eighteen years.

I look back today and am so thankful that we took that trip when we did because Henry would not have been able to go later. The neurologist gave me wise advice after the diagnosis. He told us to do what we loved doing. Take cruises, visit family and just live life until you can’t. Henry’s first love was preaching because he had been preaching since he was sixteen years of age. So, the Indonesian trip was his last opportunity to truly preach without forgetting his subject.

In 2018, we took a seven-day ministry cruise with about fifty pastors to the Caribbean. I could not leave Henry alone at all or he would be missing in action, so we were attached at the hip through the entire cruise. I know he christened every restroom on every floor on that cruise ship. If it had a man’s picture on the door, he had to go in while I waited patiently outside. What I would give to go on just one more cruise with this amazing man.

I am a member of a Facebook Alzheimers and Dementia support group, and I am still reading other families dilemmas with their loved ones (LO). I can tell you that I totally understand and have empathy now that I could never have had if we had not walked through this horrendous disease. This disease did not just affect my husband. It affected our entire family. During lunch with a grandson today, he told me that he had to get healing from being disconnected from God. When asked why, he explained that he had not been able to understand how such a good man who gave his entire life to serving God and people could have been stricken with a disease that would cause him to forget the family that he loved so dearly. How could a good Heavenly Father allow such a dreadful disease to steal the very life of someone he dearly loved. He then explained that, after much praying and seeking God for answers, God assured him that his Papa’s spirit was already with the Lord. Even though he did forget his grandsons names, he still loved them.

Two weeks before he passed, I was walking into the kitchen past the living area where Henry was sitting when I heard my name called. He had called “Ann” so I immediately went to him. He motioned for me to sit on the arm of his recliner, which I did. He just wanted some time with me. He still told me many times a day that he loved me, and I would hold his hand and just kiss his face. He could not change his clothes, feed himself or even take ten steps alone, but he still knew me. I had prayed from the beginning of this journey that he would never forget me, and he didn’t! God is a good Father. We are not promised a constant happy life or a pain-free life; however, our Good Father promises to never leave us nor forsake us. And He didn’t!

Published by Ann Jones

Ann and her husband, Henry, have been in ministry together for fifty-two years and have traveled the world for Jesus Christ. It's a new season for Ann and she invites everyone to travel with her.

33 thoughts on “Because I Can

      1. My heart ❤️
        Mimi you have my heart.
        Although, we’ve never met face to face, I love your heart. I love you. I always keep you and all your family in my prayers. God bless you Mimi Ann ♥️🙏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for writing this blog. I really felt connected to you while I was reading this. And I just stumbled upon this tonight when Kim asked us to read what her Mom wrote. My hubby is a brilliant man. Went to Columbia University. Majored in Chemistry. But in fall 2011 he was diagnosed w Parkinson’s disease. Developed mild dementia around 2015 and now he has severe dementia. What a loss! I miss him and his companionship. I too have a hospital bed for him in our bedroom. He needs assist with everything. He also did everything bills, planning trips finances. But in space of two years now I had to learn to navigate all this! He is content and well cared for and can walk eith a walker with total assist but very slow and distracted that must be guarded at all times. But he know me! He called me Maureen and I am there for him. I cannot think of putting him in a nursing home. I was s RN supervisor in one for 25 years before retired. It is hard very hard..but he forgets grandkids names. And has no track of time. But even if he doesent remember others in family.. he remembers me. Do as I ho on Th is journey I want you to know you have given me comfort.💜

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    2. Beautiful. I’m going through this with my husband. Our 44 year old daughter moved in with us to help. There is a 15 year difference in our age. But I love him. I pray that GOD gives me the strength to keep him home. We have good and bad days, but I will keep him home. Thank you for sharing this.

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      1. My greatest blessing in the last year was hospice. I had a nurse and CNA who came several times weekly to assist in bathing and keeping him in his meds. When hospice came in, they began delivering everything I needed – diapers, pull ups, gloves, masks, pee pad, hospital bed, transport chair & even shower chair. It was all covered by Medicare – saved me a fortune in supplies the last year. My son and daughter would also come in to assist. Don’t try to do it alone. We could never have given him the service he received without hospice. I, you, loved him & was honored to serve him.

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  1. I love reading your posts and can feel your heart through each memory you share with us all! You’re blessing so many as you reveal your heart, pain, blessings, trials, and victories. There’s an anointing and compassion as you pour out each word and story that transcends mere soul expression! I myself and I’m sure so many others can relate and are encouraged! Bless you precious lady and thank you💕

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  2. Bless you sister ann cant really say anything because my.emotions are going.crazy right no. All i can say is respect to you and your family for allowing him to be in his home until the end with family or should i say great respect to all of your family and you. Love is amazing.

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  3. Amen!!! Amen!!! I understand you dear lovely sister. My Mom was diagnosed with Dementia March 25, 2015 and passed 5 years later on March 25, 2020. I praised God that Mom forgot so much from her past and present and instant living but Mom could no longer hold conversations she remembered my name each time she saw me and Mom never forgot us her surviving children and her children that had passed already. But Mom is all new in her eternal home in heaven. Thank you for this writing it filled me up. God bless ❤

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  4. I took care of my 97 yr old Aunt until she died of Alzheimer’s 5 yrs ago. She always knew me too. You are is shock for anywhere from 2 weeks until a month. You may hit rock bottom when the shock wears off. It’s ok God will carry you when you can’t carry yourself. My husband & 4 yr old grandson was also killed in a family car wreck instantly 21 yrs ago. I know everything u r about to walk through. God Bless you keep going forward. I’m at peace and healed now. You will one day say the same thing. 🙏

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  5. Mama Ann thank you for sharing because I know how it feel to have a love one dealing with this disease I was my mom caretaker for years and she pass away in 2013 that time in my life was very hard so thank you for sharing your story because I know it will help someone else love you and your family be bless

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  6. Today is the anniversary of my husband‘s passing. It has been nine years and I have such empathy now for others who have lost their spouses. This is the gift that God has given me, a way to comfort others because of my experience. You don’t have to explain to others you’re grieving process, it’s none of their business. Grief doesn’t come with the handbook. We do it however we can. May God‘s peace and grace continue to be with you. ❤️🙏

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  7. My heart goes out to you! Don’t ever lose your joy. God held my hand through the time my daughter was called home (complication of cancer). Please don’t let the hurtful words of some people destroy your peace. They have no idea what it is like to watch a loved one disappear on you a little bit more every day. You grieve the losses daily rather than all at once, although we do that also in the end. I remember how many times I cried at the losses and breakthroughs that my daughter had. We learn to love every small moment. Those special memories and moments we treasure with them. I am praying for you and I will add to that to shut the mouths of the hurtful and scornful to the list. Bless you for sharing a small part of your journey with us. You are a strong and beautiful lady ❤

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  8. Ann, your blog post came up in my e-mail this morning and what a blessing. My husband, Bob, is in remission from Acute Myeloid Leukemia – he had a stem cell transplant at age 73 and in October it will be six years since that happened. However, through these 6 years he has been physically well, but not mentally well. He was diagnosed with dementia officially about 2 years ago. He is losing a lot of language, has temper flare-ups and anger issues at times, and cannot do the normal little things he used to do around the house. He is no longer able to drive – after many near accidents. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know WYO holds our future. We were married 59 years ago in April. He was always a good provider and took care of his family, home, and business. This is, llike you said, so tragic to see the losses he is experiencing. I just take it all one day at a time – and I trust our Father to be with us every moment of those days.

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    1. Lynda, we too went through the anger, combative feelings and the dr would not give us anything but the normal Namenda and Aricept. Finally, Henry’s PCP suggested hospice, so 10 months ago, we did this. Within 3 days, there were no more anger nor fights. Even though Henry was getting more feeble, it was much easier caring for him with the hospice staff. They started him on Seraquel & Ativan and it changed our life! The nurse & CNA became family to us and still visit us. Please don’t do this alone. Henry could not hold a conversation and only spoke my name. Yet, we are sure he had lucid moments & recognized our kids. Even though it was difficult, I would not take away one day that I was able to care for him. Praying for you!

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  9. Thank you for sharing your life. I don’t think I would have the strength to do any of what you did. You are an amazing person with a big heart.

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  10. Prayers for one of the best and seeetest families in the world. Y’all where do good to us and I’ll never not be thankful. I love u and pray everyday for Jesus to comfort and give u peace!!! I love u

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  11. Thank you Anne for sharing your journey as it encourages me with the journey we have begun with my Mum 💕 You are truly an amazing lady an inspiration and your wisdom constantly encourages me as I listen to your devotions and communion online 💕

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  12. Thank you for sharing your heart. It beings tears to my eyes(in a good way) reading this. Bless you. ??

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  13. Really loved the blog you written I am from India I always follow your blogs very amazing and I am really happy that even in this age writing blogs encouraging us with your spiritual food may lord shall grant you strength good health love u loads Mrs joans from India

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  14. I am crying with this beautiful love expression!.

    He could not change his clothes, feed himself or even take ten steps alone, but he still knew me. I had prayed from the beginning of this journey that he would never forget me, and he didn’t! God is a good Father. We are not promised a constant happy life or a pain-free life; however, our Good Father promises to never leave us nor forsake us. And He didn’t!

    Like

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