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Snapshots of Dementia: Letter to My Sweetheart

Posted by on July 24, 2020 in Dementia | 48 comments

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

You don’t understand

How to play a game

Or pay a bill

Or pull a name

From your contacts list, which you cannot find

For a villain lurks

Inside your mind.

You always said

We’d be the two

Who’d stay in love

Our whole lives through

And indeed we have—yet today, somehow

You’re a little boy

I’m the parent now.

My shattered heart

Breaks more each day

As you, my darling,

Fade away.

Like a photograph in too-bright sun

You sit tired, confused

The thief has won.

But no! The Father

Showers grace.

Takes every tear

And, in its place,

Brings relief and comfort, sure release

From the chains that bind

Grants perfect peace.

My deep desire

To serve my King

I wrap in this,

My offering.

To bless in ways, be they large or small,

When no one’s around

To see at all.

To give to you

As I’ve received,

Bring joy to you

When I am grieved.

To put you first

In every way.

To grant each wish,

Take time to play.

Speak words of love,

Do each hard task.

Still hold your hand

When you cannot ask.

One day we’ll end

This earth-soaked race

One day we’ll see

With unveiled face

One day your horn

Again will sound

One day we’ll kneel

On holy ground.

Until then, dear,

My joy will be

To serve and love you


As I wrote this, I was thinking of course of my husband, Tom, but I was also remembering my dad and my mother’s loving care for him through his many years as a Type 2 diabetic and then as a cancer patient. These words are for Tom, but they’re also in honor of Mom and all those who offer loving care for others. Your story matters because you do. Feel free to share in the comments below.


  1. Poignant words, Marti, that only the heart could write. You know, I know what you know: Out of the raw pathos of grief blooms beauty of God’s grace.

    • You knew before I did, Tracy. Thank you!

  2. My heart overflows for you and Tom.

    • And mine for you and your love who waits in heaven.

  3. Tears in my eyes! Thank you for this!

    • Marti, You have been blessed with the gift of words. Thank you for allowing us into this part of your live. You have and will continue to make a difference in our lives. May God continue to wrap His arms around your whole family..

      • Thank you so much, sweet friend!

    • Grateful for your love and support.

    • Thank you for loving us, Marty!

  4. Praying for you this morning

    • So grateful. We’re all broken, but He holds the pieces. Prayers!

    • Marti. I smile. I cry with each post. I want to hug you and thank you for all the ways you have endeared your heart to mine. Maybe it’s because we love Toms deeply.

      • You’re so sweet. I remember how much I admired you so many years ago–and I still do. Hugs and prayers!

  5. A different style for you (inspired by Hamilton), but not a different heart. The same love you have had for your God-the Lord and hope of your life. Beautiful and encouraging to all to see the true reason for life. “I came to serve” and with Jesus in our heart we can.

    • In other words–I am not throwing away my shot, Martha. May the Lord guide me to finish well. Much love!

  6. Marti, You have been blessed with the gift of words. Thank you for allowing us into this part of your live. You have and will continue to make a difference in our lives. May God continue to wrap His arms around your whole family..

  7. Tears of love from my heart to yours. Beautiful poetry from your beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing this sacred writing,

    • You’re such a blessing. Thank YOU, Dena!

  8. Sweet sweet spirit. Thank you for sharing my love and prayers Marti

    • Thank you! You know about sweet spirits because you have one! Miss you.

  9. Marti, You write so eloquently. My eyes are filled with tears knowing that Tom’s condition worsens. Please remember me to Tom. God Bless. Ty

    • Thank you so much, Ty. I appreciate your tender heart. He has declined significantly but is still very much Tom. Sharing your love!

  10. Dearest Marti, as I read (and heard!) your poetic words, I glimpsed into your heart of undying love for Tom, and the willing sacrifices you are making to hold his hand throughout this journey…and to share your heart thoughts with us. You minister deeply to me and others around the world who are following you. This season may be your most significant one yet.

    • You’re so kind, Gail. I have taught on memoir without ever thinking I had a story to tell of my own. And in a way I would never have chosen, I’m learning my own story matters. HUGS!

  11. I am so blessed to read your words. To see the love you have for Tom reminds me the love that Tim and I share. Saturday I had a stroke. Tim recognized immediately something wasn’t right about me. We are so intertwined. Thanks be to God I came home from the hospital today and I have no residual effects. It feels so peaceful to lay in his arms again. Praying for you and Tom and your precious family.

    • Oh Tammy! I had no idea! Thank you for taking time to share and especially to pray. I will be praying for you as well. I do remember your bond with your loving husband. We are blessed!

  12. Marti,
    Because of my mom I know some of what it is like to experience dementia of a loved one. My heart and prayers abound for you and Tom. May God give you strength, wisdom and love as you navigate this difficult season in your life. Much love and prayers!

    • Thank you so much, Evelyn. I remember our conversations as you walked that road with her. Grateful for your love and prayers–praying for you and your important work, too. I came to Christ because a missionary cared enough to come to a secular university. Your work is vital to the kingdom!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this intimate, poignant love letter with us. It is truly beautiful.

    • Thank you so much, Kim. I’m enjoying my “time” with your daughter!

  14. I understand these words so much and love how eloquently you put them together. If I may, I’m going to keep them in case I need them in the future. My heart feels your heart and I pray for you often, sweet friend! Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Of course! I would be honored. And I’m so grateful for your prayers. I know they are carrying us through.

  15. What a beautiful and honest tribute. Praying for you both.

    • I can’t say all these things to Tom or even show this to him because it would upset him (he forgets that he is getting worse). So I just wrote what I would tell him if he could hear it. Thank you for the prayers, and you are loved!

  16. You r words tug at my heartstrings, causing tiny heart tears to drop from my memory. Memory first of Kristy, then my Dad

    • <3 I will always remember Kristy and your great example of loving care. And your dad--such a special man. Sending love and prayers!

  17. Sending our love and prayers. Many fond memories of our years at Lane Prairie. Before your babies.

    • Thank you and same for us! We miss teenage Emile and not-yet-teen Benji!

  18. Love you and Tom. This is a beautiful testimony to the Lord’s goodness and His faithfulness to keep you in the midst of this life. Thank you for sharing your rich witness. It encourages as it touches deep sacred space. Hugs

    • I read and re-read this because I can hear you saying it. Miss and love you, always. HUGS back!

  19. My sister-in-law has been diagnosed with dementia. I had suspected for some tome, but when the confirmation comes it is hard to accept. Reading what you have been sharing has been a tremendous blessing to me. Thank you for for sharing and letting all of us who read your story the courage to be real and talk about what we are feeling. God bless you and Tom and your family.

    • Aww, I’m so sorry and I agree, Kathy. Every once in a while, for a moment, I let myself pretend Tom is his normal self–but deep down, I know the truth. I’m thankful if my sharing has been a blessing; that truly confirms that posting has been the right thing to do. Blessings back!

  20. Marti, Your poetry speaks love as well as your anguish. Your love is like His above. In that Tom is fortunate.
    I’ll always remember laughing and joking with Tom. We miss him.
    Joe and Kay Estill

    • Thank you so much, Joe. You and Kay are always a blessing in our lives. He still has his sense of humor!

  21. Thank you for the reminder that our lives’ purpose is not comfort here on this earth. God has such greater plans for us. Life is hard, but GOD…!

    • AMEN. And thank you, Terry!

  22. Dear Marti, I am reading through your posts as Pam suggested. I may not comment on each one, but I am here and thank you for sharing and will remember you both in my prayers. Bless your Mother for the care she gave your Dad. My father had Leukemia and Parkinson’s/dementia and I was his caregiver due to my mom being blind. Ten years later mom developed dementia and only lived 6 mos. and I was her caregiver. My husband has been disabled for 17 years and now we are seeing other changes. Each person’s journey is different but none the less, heartbreaking.

    • Aww, you have had and do have a lot on your plate. Praying for you and I agree–everyone’s journey is different.

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