It is now almost one year since my wife, Marty, was diagnosed as
having Alzheimer's disease. The doctor gave us the news as we sat together. She
acted as if she understood. She did not. I have told her that she has
Alzheimer's disease and she tells me that she understands. She does not. What
she does understand is that something is terribly wrong with her memory.
Watching her fight to remember simple everyday things such as whether or not
she drinks coffee and she has been drinking it her entire life, is
No one can tell she is ill, except me, of course, and several
close friends that know about her condition. When I take her with me to
church and to the stores etc. and we see people we know, I always hear how
"wonderful" she looks. Yeah, well the Titanic looked all bright and
shiny as it headed out into the Atlantic that cold, April day in 1912. When the
iceberg did its dirty deed the Titanic was doomed. Nothing could have ever stopped her sinking
into the cold Atlantic.
A year after diagnosis Marty has become my new seven year-old existing in an older body.
She is very insecure and becomes frightened if I am not nearby. She still tries
to maintain her independence as a self-sufficient person even though she cannot
remember where to put the forks or cups. As her caregiver my life has become
disconnected and very unpredictable because of her needing so much while trying
to not need anything. Alzheimer’s is never just the patient’s illness. On the
contrary, it latches on to the love of those close to its victim using that
love in a sordid attempt to destroy their spirit. Most times that results in abject failure because the power of love often proves to be much stronger than the evil disease. Sometimes not.
For me, my work as a writer has become a bit scattered. It has become a fascinating existence where focus
has become an evasive shadow and cohesive sentences are written in pieces and
then squirreled together at another time. However, I am blessed. I have been given the gift of faith which allows me to trust the God
above. This gift helps me to realize that this woman is now a special treasure from Him entrusted to my
care. I have told Him, “No problem Lord, I have her back and will do my best until
whatever is to be will be.” (But believe me, I do have my "knee-buckling" moments.)
Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's Disease and
about 200,000 of those folks are under the age of 65. It is the only disease
among the top ten that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured. The disease kills
more people every year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. It is
estimated that by the year 2050, 16 million people will have this disease.
Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds. They have
estimated that by 2050 it will be every 33 seconds. This is an epidemic growing
before our eyes. It is also becoming a nightmare for more and more moms, dads,
sons, daughters, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and society as
Imagine that all around the country there are people like Marty having their brains slowly erased by an invisible demon inside their heads.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh; back and forth, back and forth, the tiny eraser keeps
moving--back and forth, back and forth. Slowly but methodically the demon goes
about its work 24/7. After a while, the person under attack does not even
remember how to go to the bathroom. And then, after a time, the eraser stops.
It stops when the disease it is part of finally erases the person's life.
That is the course of the relentless, unstoppable, illness known
as Alzheimer's Disease. It is at work at this very moment in different minds all over the world. Somehow, someway we
will have to stop it. We will need God's help because this war cannot be won
Since I find myself still filled with the wondrous spirit of the Christmas season I have decided that this will be my final blog post for 2015. I am simply doing everything I can to keep that upbeat feeling a bit longer. I don't care. I like it and I want to feel it and enjoy it a few more days. But right now I am going to smash that spirit with a right uppercut that will stagger it for sure. I am counting on my shaking it off and getting on with the true spirit of the season, feeling the peace and love that exploded all over.
Here is how it is (I am just speaking for me). We have the great celebration of the Birth of Christ and the next day we honor the very first martyr, St. Stephen, stoned to death for teaching about Jesus. Two days after that, on December 28th, we honor the Holy Innocents. In case you are unfamiliar with who the Holy Innocents are they are the baby boys massacred by King Herod in his quest to kill the Christ child. Herod, a seedy man insecure in his own pathetic skin, was afraid of toddlers. What a 'man'. Anyway, those remembrances can short-circuit that whole peace and love thing going on.
The gospel reading for the Mass of the day is about when Herod, in a fit of rage, ordered the slaughter of all baby boys, two and under, in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. He did this because he feared the Messiah, whose birth had been told to him by the visiting Magi. The gospel for the Mass ends this way:
The Gospel of Matthew 2: 17-18 reads;
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: (31: 15)
A Voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
Since they were no more.
"Little Christy" pinterest.com
People have been massacring children for thousands of years. Last year I posted this picture of a child I named "Little Christy". It is probably...no, it is, the most heinous, disgusting photo I have ever seen. This Innocent was killed because she was a Christian. Her mom was murdered first and then, satanic fueled terrorists, whose souls have been blackened by an unimaginable demonic presence in each and every one of them, staged this propaganda photo to strike fear into the people in Iraq and Syria and everywhere else they could do so. A picture says a thousand words and this one says it all. King Herod on one end of the spectrum of two thousand years and Little Christy on the other end with ISIS wielding not only knives and swords but also automatic weapons. How "brave" these killers are.
The photo below is from the Holocaust in Germany. sometime in 1943. This is a photograph of truth. This is what people do to people. And the most innocent of all, the children, are included.
History is filled with the destruction of people by other people. Here are links just to those genocides from the 20th century. This link will take you to all listed below:
Let us not forget the unborn, those in the womb, those unseen who quietly call out to us all to please help them. Humankind has slaughtered over 50 million of these little people and the numbers are continuing to escalate.
Finally, euthanasia is becoming an accepted means for people to end their lives "on their own terms". In the United States, Oregon, Washington State, Vermont and Montana and "parts" of New Mexico have Euthanasia laws on the books. These laws are referred to as "Death with Dignity" laws. But the nation of Belgium, an upscale European nation of 7 million (two-thirds catholic) approved euthanasia for children. Why not--lets let the little ones decide for themselves whether or not they like living. That's "full circle" for you; from being murdered to being able to murder yourself---at any age
So now, as we approach the year 2016, children are being tortured, enslaved, and murdered...all over the world. ISIS has beheaded, crucified, drowned and burned countless children because they are considered "infidels". Amazingly, there are some here in the United States, a supposedly highly civilized nation, who believe that Americans who have a different political viewpoint than they do, are more of an enemy to humanity than these monsters we speak of and hear of every day.
The bottom line to all of this is; there is a war between Good and Evil. Satan exists and is having his way. He can never win the war but the damage he will have done before he and his followers are vanquished is hard to predict. And the children of today are still being turned into HOLY INNOCENTS more than two millennia later. The Western world must wake up. The secularist worldview is wreaking havoc on society as God is continually taken out of our lives by the self-absorbed "meists" of today. We owe something to mankind and especially to the innocent children who, for the most part, just want to be loved.
I'm done. I will now try to recapture a bit of the Christmas spirit that I have temporarily tossed aside. I am sure I will find some left somewhere. There are many millions of us who embrace GOD and LOVE and we can take solace in the fact that GOD is LOVE. I know HE has our backs. Happy New Year to everyone.
If it were two thousand years ago and you lived in Nazareth you
might notice a young man packing items on a donkey in preparation for a trip.
Early the next morning you see this fellow, with his pregnant teenage wife
sitting on the back of the burro, heading down the road. They are in compliance
with the law of the day. They are embarking on a three or four day journey to Bethlehem, the town of their
ancestors' birth, for the census.
We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are
THE integral part of the Salvation story. Mary's acceptance of a
pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress
was an act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true
to the law, accepted a pregnant woman as his wife, another act of extreme
To complete this humble family was none other than God Himself.
The Creator of all there is became like one of His creations. He could
have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and
pomp. He chose to come to us in the womb of his mom, just like all of us. He
allowed Himself to be born among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly
life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw.
Why would He do
this? He did it to show us Goodness, show us Love and show us how to do
it. Finally He did it to save us, save
us from ourselves and Satan’s favorite tool, Pride, which had brought down Adam
and Eve. The Holy Family was and still is, the complete and perfect embodiment
of Humility. It remains so to this very day. Of course, the antidote to Pride
Isn't God amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of
our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all
people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens
whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly
impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem
while Mary was full term.
Joseph walked guiding the donkey, protecting his young wife the entire time. Mary gave birth in a cave surrounded by
smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King
Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Lest we forget, they somehow made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the
We must never forget that within that family it was the
husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world.
The Son humbled Himself and gave his life for us all. And the Mom, our
Mom too, the most humble woman ever created, stands ever vigilant ready to crush
the head of the evil serpent who might harm any of her children. In so doing
she is protecting all of her "children" (which includes you and I)
for all eternity. She is our protection against all wickedness. Humility
conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family. If you take a moment to truly ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it might leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to "Family" and the Holy Family is the model to build on.
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast
of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the
millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you
should. Why? Because this is the family that "set the bar" for all families.
Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their
unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed. The Salvation
story comprises the greatest acts of combined Love and Humility ever.
Yessiree, I always love the Christmas season. It is my favorite time of the year for sure. I always, "tongue in cheek", brag that I still believe in Santa. The truth is, down deep inside of me there is a place that only I can go. I call it Stillness. When I travel to Stillness, Santa is always there. So is the most beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen and a lifesize manger with moving people (guess who). I could go on about my favorite place but I have already revealed too much personal info and, if I am being monitored by the NSA or CIA or Starbucks, I could be profiled. Anyway, I have been momentarily kicked out of Stillness. My reality check started with the Sunday newspaper ads.
Trying to acquire some knowledge about today's toy market (in case I need something to discuss with my grandkids at Christmas dinner) I flip open the Sunday flyer from Target. Immediately stunned, I know I must be looking at the ad of the year; it reads... "ready for takeoff" ---"Drones are the season's hottest gift". I can feel the instant pulsing coming from my temples.
The advertisement is for the Parrot Airborne Nightime mini-drone that flies in the dark with two headlights and an embedded camera. The price is $129.99. Next to the drone ad is a picture of a Darth Vader talking boom box. This page is for kids. Drones for kids??? What??? Oh, before I forget, all that is required to operate the drone is a smart phone or a tablet. Probably every kid in America over five has one of those. And some of those little tykes are pretty tech-savvy (temple pounding begins amping up).
I took a break and tried to get back to Stillness. It took me until Monday afternoon to get back. Tuesday morning, bright and early and calm and tranquil, I scan the front page of the freshly tossed newspaper. On page one is the picture of a drone. A nice story accompanies the picture. "Santa bringing Drones---You have to register it". Yup, it seems that new FAA regulations are in force since Monday because first time flyers must register before flying their drones. You can register online but you have to be 13 or over. That should keep things safe. Headache has begun.
They expect that more than 800,000 drones will be sold this Christmas. Drone owners "are aviators (I had this ridiculous notion that you needed a bit of training to be classified as an aviator) and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility." U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Fox, said in a statement. "Ya think, Mr. Secretary?" And the FAA estimates that 1.6 million drones will be sold in 2015, more than half in the fourth quarter (in this case 'fourth quarter' may be a synonym for Christmas time). In less than two weeks we will have almost 2 million "responsible" drone owners of all ages filling the nation's skies with their personal flying machines. Ah, progress.
There is a neat little caveat at the end of the advertisement for the Parrot Airborne Nightime mini-drone. It reads, "Prior to piloting your Parrot Drone please make sure you have authorization to pilot in the area you intend to fly. In some areas flying a drone is not permitted ie; such places as military bases, parks, cities and airports. Before starting, check local regulations prior to flying."
For more information, visit www.knowbeforeyoufly.org (I did not make this up).
With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, Barack Obama and his supporters are talking about gun-control and climate change. Islamic terrorists are killing people all over the world including Americans right here at home and all of that has taken a back seat to politics. But now--we have approval for personal drones that kids will be flying near highways, cities, schools and airports, etc. All they need is a five dollar registration fee. I can leave my house right now and go to Walmart or Target and buy a drone for less than a hundred bucks, register online for five dollars more and I am now an 'aviator' capable of flying my own drone.. Imagine the possibilities.
I will have to pray and work very hard if I ever want to get back to Stillness. As long as I don't get hit by a drone coming from the park two blocks away, I know I will make it. I am asking Santa for a football helmet.
Every year I put this out because it is proof that Santa Claus is real, loves children the world over and brings them gifts every Christmas Eve. How can I be so sure he is real? Well, the letter below proves it, even if it was written 118 years ago. It has stood the test of time and is as profound today as it was in 1897. In fact, it might be wise for all of the sophisticated secularists who inhabit the editorial boards of the print and broadcast media to take heed to the words below. They were penned by one of your own, Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun during a time when there were no radios, airplanes, televisions, and even iPads. In fact, back then, besides talking to each other, people used pencils, pen and paper to communicate with each other. Can you imagine?
Some of you might have seen this before. If you have, enjoy it again. If not, enjoy it now. It is a letter written by eight year old, Virginia O'Hanlon, of West 95th Street in New York City, to the newspaper asking if Santa Claus was TRUE. Her dad had told her that if the "Sun" said it was true than it must be so. Enjoy a moment back in time when things were a bit simpler and the innocence of children was loved and respected by most 'grown-ups'.
Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
115 W. 95th St.
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus.He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen andunseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives!And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year photo courtesy hollywoodreporter.com