Honor Your Commitments

Let me make clear where I am coming from in the beginning. I am a Christian. I am not married, nor have I ever been married. I am my mother’s primary caregiver. My mother has Alzheimer’s.

This week when told about a man whose wife had Alzheimer’s but the husband was seeing another woman, Pat Robertson stated, “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care.”  When asked by his co-host about marriage vows ‘for better or worse’ and ‘in sickness and in health’ Robertson added, “If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part. This is a kind of death.”

When I first heard this I checked Twitter and it was all a flutter and I thought someone must have misheard what was said. I then watched a clip of the segment and much to my disappointment Robertson had said it.

I still cannot believe that a man who has fought for the right of the unborn would so quickly give up on those at the other end of life. Christians value life. Christians value commitments.

Joni Eareckson Tada, who went to my high school, took piano lessons from my same teacher and attended Bible Study at my house, well understands those who have disabilities and the way the world treats them. It was no surprise when Joni and Friends made a statement including this: “Alzheimer’s disease is never an ‘accident’ in a marriage; it falls under the purview of God’s sovereignty. In the case of someone with Alzheimer’s, this means God’s unconditional and sacrificial love has an opportunity to be even more gloriously displayed in a life together!”

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease but my family has made the choice that we are going to care for our mother at home until we physically can no longer do so. She had dementia issues starting in 1994. We saw money issues and general forgetfulness. We started treatment with a Johns Hopkins’ doctor and she participated in several national Alzheimer’s studies. As time went on, we saw more and more issues but she was able to take care of herself with family members regularly checking in on her. In 2007, it was clear that she needed someone to live with her and I left my teaching position in South Carolina and moved back to Maryland to live with my mom. We have seen a steady decline though it has not been rapid. She loves life, her family, and people in general. She sings, doodles and tells stories. Having had hip surgery 9 years ago she uses a walker but is now more unsteady. She is more fearful and sometimes wakes up and doesn’t know who I am. Though things don’t always go as expected and there are struggles, we have made a commitment to care for her and we are honoring it.

You see, sometimes life doesn’t go as you expected.

Dad died when I was 16. Not what my family who dearly loved him wanted. Money was tight. There were definitely challenges and things were not always great. It was emotional, sometimes messy, and hard. Mom raised us and did not abandon us. She provided for us, teaching us right from wrong and to stand up for what we believe. She made sacrifices to see that each of us went to college.

My brother and his wife adopted a baby with special needs from Bethany Services. Those needs were not spelled out but when he was a few years old it became clear he was not developing as other children. After years of doctor visits and tests, they found out he is autistic. He is a valuable member of our family and we can’t imagine life without. He will need supervision the rest of his life.

Sometimes in life, it seems like we are thrown a curve ball. It doesn’t always go as we expected but the important thing is how we respond. My mom did not abandon us, she had made a commitment. My brother and his wife did not return their son. They had made a commitment. Marriage is a commitment and in the eyes of the Lord, a commitment for life.

ABC News with Diane Sawyer did a short segment about this issue. The last scene is very powerful.   http://youtu.be/vsaqfP87Z58


What commitments have you made?

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13 Responses to Honor Your Commitments

  1. Diane H says:

    Commitment means staying even if it is inconvenient, awkward or hard. So grateful for the many in my life who have stuck with me–even when it was hard!
    Diane H recently posted..Bold Palooza Blog Hop!My Profile

  2. Karen Grothe says:

    Thanks for sharing this post Janice. What an honor to your mom and dad – it is clear that they raised their children with great values. I had read about Robertson’s comments on Joni’s blog yesterday and was really surprised and saddened. A few days ago, Dean and I watched a small segment of his show and both were surprised at his lack of articulation in his replies to his cohost – so much so that it prompted me to look up his age to be able to justify his seeming verbal issues – could this explain his absolutely unbelievable statements about Alzheimers? All praise to God for your families commitments and examples to the rest of us.

  3. Gaye says:

    I’m very surprised by what Pat Robertson said. Our society no longer values honoring commitments, especially when to do so is very difficult. I hope and pray that I would honor mine in a very difficult situation.

    • Janice Hidey says:

      Thanks Gaye, and yes, Robertson’s comments were surprising. It is true that when things get hard so often people give up. Thankfully, those before us had more perseverance: I am thinking of the sacrifices made during the Depression and WWII. Though some things about my upbringing were hard, being on my grandparent’s farm I learned about hard work and having to wait for things – like the fruit and vegetables to finally come in. Hopefully, we are teaching this generation, and maybe going through some of the tough economic times we have had will help people to see what is really important.

  4. Nancy Potter says:

    Janice, I saw that show and when Pat said what he did, I couldn’t believe it. I think he is losing his mind. Thats not the first time I have heard him give bad advice. My husband does not have alzheimer’s but it’s close. He is unable to make new memories and even the old ones are distorted. Sometimes when his sodium gets too high he gets even more confused and will start calling me some man he used to work with. He is definately not the same man that I married, but I could never even imagine putting him aside and moving on with my life. I love him more now than ever. He like people with alz, or other memory problems are so vulnerable. I want to be the one taking care of him and loving him and making sure he has what he needs. Anyway, your mother is so blessed to have you with her and I know you would say visa versa. I don’ know what is wrong with Pat Robertson. I like what operation blessing does and how they reach out to help people, but maybe it’s time for his son to take his spot on the show.

  5. Lindsay Anne says:

    I love this, Miss Hidey; I’m really glad you posted it. If I get married, I will never ever leave my husband if he gets Alzheimer’s.

  6. Sarah Grace says:

    Great blog! It made me cry — soooooo right on that I tweeted it! Pat Robertson is a sick and twisted man…which I already knew, but this was just the icing on the cake.

    • Janice Hidey says:

      Thanks, Sarah. Some have thought that Robertson has not been himself, but if there is some medical issue with him, it would be best for them to keep him off the air. It did allow a lot of good conversation for which I am thankful.

  7. Pingback: Alzheimer and Caregiver Month | Drawing the Line Somewhere

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