May 24, 2010, 12:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My dad always had an remarkable sense of humor and was highly intelligent, but I didn’t see his amazing tenderness as I grew up. It was buried by years of severe emotional abuse by his mother and an uninvolved father.

But ten years ago, Alzheimer’s changed that. The curse of Alzheimer’s became a stunning blessing as the disease ripped away the outer shell my Dad had built to protect his heart.

Tears formed in my dad’s eyes where there had been none before. Laughter poured out of him and kept increasing in measure till it became a waterfall. He spoke deep words of love to me he wasn’t able to say during my childhood years.

In the early stages of the disease Dad and I took a cruise around Italy together. We visited Venice, Pompeii, the island of Capri, and so many other spots. As Dad said, “it was the trip of a lifetime.”

On the last day of the cruise as we were about to get off the ship in Rome, a man about my age came up to my dad and I and said, “It’s amazing to see the relationship between you two, my father and I could never take a trip like this together.”

We built so many memoires like the one above. And now, as he crossed the bridge and has stepped into eternity, those memories are been restored. He is whole, he is free.

My dad was kind but I wouldn’t describe him as nice. Let me explain. Nice people sometimes say the correct thing when they don’t really mean it. Nice people often don’t tell you what they’re really thinking. That was not my father.

He told you exactly what he thought. He questioned people if he didn’t agree. But when he disagreed, or told you what he thought, it was with incredible kindness, acceptance and love. It made him astoundingly authentic. And people were drawn to him because of it.

No one who met my dad in the past ten years could stop from being affected by his unrelenting joy. Everyone everywhere he went fell in love with my father. He loved on everyone he met without inhibition, with reservation.

It’s why everyone who came in contact with him—and I mean everyone, down to the nurses who took care of him during his last two days on earth—were affected, were changed, were inspired, were cared for with a passion that could only emanate from his true Father in heaven.

Dad was full of truth.    And full of love.  And joy. Incredible joy.

Jimmie L. Rubart truly was joy unleashed.


19 Comments so far
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It sounds to me as though you were both blessed, with each other. You for the type of father he was/became and he for the type of son that could see past what others might of thought of as rudeness or coarseness, to the truth that he did not hesitate to share. I’m sorry for your loss but I am so pleased that you were blessed with the Dad you were. Although having strong feelings for someone who dies is a bit of a blessing and a curse, I, personally, have always found that the blessing far out weighed the curse.
Prayers and hugs to you and your family.

Comment by Traveler

Well said, Traveler. I often pondered that my pain would be greater because of what I shared with my dad, but you’re right, it’s worth it.

Comment by jimrubart

Quick story. Your parents came for a visit, and my then 5 year old nephew Kash was with us. Jim and Kash hit it off and were left alone in the living room. Soon, it got quiet…too quiet. Upon investigation, our moms found the two closed off in Kash’s bedroom, with Jim tucked into bed, feigning sleep, while Kash sat nearby reading him a story. So sweet. Also, an idea for a book of a epic love story. Your dad’s love provided for your mom. Your mom told me of how several years ago, your dad asked her how she could afford to live in such a beautiful home. Her answer was, of course, “Because of you.” And then, the love of your mom who cared for your dad with such dignity, respect and honor. It was beautiful to see. At that minute of death, how he must have thrilled at the immediate knowledge of how well he was loved.

Comment by Debbi Anderson

Great story, Debbi. I hadn’t heard that one.

Comment by jimrubart

Interesting take on Alzheimer’s. I’ve never looked at it that way before and yet you’re exactly right.

Comment by Timothy Fish

Thanks, Timothy. I’m not sure it works that way for everyone, but it did in my dad’s case.

Comment by jimrubart

What an incredible tribute! It brought tears to my eyes and I wished that I’d known him in this life.

Thanks for sharing this and letting us see. You blessed me with that glimpse.

Comment by Crystal Laine Miller

Thanks, Crystal. I think he’ll give you a big hug when you get to the other side.

Comment by jimrubart

What a great tribute. I am thankful you came to understand the impact of your Dad’s past on his behavior and dealt with that before he was called home. I think that contributed greatly to your relationship, as well. This was a wonderful post. It made me miss your Dad, even though I have never met him.

Comment by Momma Mindy

That was beautiful Jim! Thanks for sharing that personal glimpse into your life. It was probably hard for you to write, yet theraputic I’m sure.

Comment by Steve Meddaugh

Thanks, Steve.

Comment by jimrubart

What a blessing you chose to receive by refusing to let this horrible nightmare of a disease steal more from you! While the process for me with my father was very difficult, we already had a great relationship. Once he left the confines of earth for the freedom of heaven, I found myself able to focus in on the good moments during the disease, not the bad – and the many great times we had before it ever showed up.

Thanks for posting this.

Comment by Kay Stocking

“Left the confines of earth …” I like that.

Comment by jimrubart

What a beautiful tribute. AMAZING outlook. I’m so glad I stopped by.

Blessings, Jim.

Comment by Nicole O'Dell

I was blessedly raised by a Christian mother and father. Unfortunately Dad died when he was only 45 years old but I have such wonderful memories of his pranks, laughter, love and strength. Mom lived to be almost 90 when she, too, died of Alzheimers. She was always quiet and somewhat shy, but ruled with a strict hand, which I resented, believing she didn’t love me as much as she did my brother. But during her last year, she often told me how much she loved and appreciated me and couldn’t have had a better daughter. I keep that close to my heart on those sad days when I miss her the most. On the day she died, I sat by her side all day, read the bible and sang hymnsto her, while her roommate joined in. I painted her fingernails, which had finally become so beautiful because of the vitamins she was given in the nursing home. She always longed for beautiful nails, and would have been so proud her hands looked so beautiful in death, if not in life. Finally, I told her how much I loved her and that it was OK for her to go and be with Dad. She fought hard to stay with us (my brother and I) as she worried about us, as a good mother would. Her death was certainly hard on me, but I was able to let go knowing she would be whole again with the Lord and reunited with my father.

Comment by Nancy Martin

Thanks for sharing your tribute. I has made me rethink my relationship with my mother. She’ll be 102 this September and all her children, grand-children, great grand-children are blessed by our memories over the years. Unfortunately, the last two years have robbed her of her memories of us.

Your tribute reminds me that our journey only changed but it still continues. God bless you!

Comment by Mike Mitchell

Great thoughts, Mike. Thanks for writing. Jim

Comment by jimrubart

Thank you for the book Book of Days. My husband is 48 with a very rare form of dementia. It has helped me to listen a little closer to what he has to say and remember to stay happy with what the Lord has given us. This a journey not by chance.

Comment by Leslie Salm

Well said, Leslie. All is in His hands.

Comment by jimrubart

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