A young man’s experience of his father’s dementia prompted him to write his own version of Psalm 139 – ‘O Lord you have searched me and known me…’
Richard J. DeWaard’s love and affection for his father is evident in his rewriting of the Psalm which also acknowledges his mother’s anguish at watching her husband’s deteriorating condition.
We were kindly given permission to highlight this version of Psalm 139 entitled “Catch Your Breath” via Angie Mutch, a friend and colleague of one of our team (Debbie Ducille, our Anna Chaplaincy church lead) who knows Richard. Angie is currently training to be adeacon in the Church of Scotland and is committed to spiritual care among older people. You may also download a pdf version of Richard’s psalm:
Catch Your Breath: Psalm 139: Alzheimer’s Version
Listen, Dad, God sees you, he knows what’s happened, he knows you.
He knows when you sit and when you sleep.
He knows your tangled thoughts; he knows them straight.
He knows when you’re not here and where you are when you’re gone.
He knows your ways.
Before your words are lost before they get to your tongue,
He knows what you were about to say, what you meant.
He knows you.
There’s nowhere you can go, Dad, where God won’t go with you,
Where God’s Spirit won’t comfort you, can’t hold you.
As your light turns to night, even this darkness won’t hide you.
God sees you clearly because dark is light to him.
He’ll go with you.
And he thinks of you, Dad, often.
The number of times, the many ways God cares for you,
If we tried to count them, would outnumber sand on a beach.
So you can rest easy, while I count.
I’m counting Mom’s tears.
I’m counting the slights, the indignities, the affronts to your good pride.
I’m counting the frayed edges, the missing pieces of your lost person.
But we’ll get through this, Dad, because when you awake – everyday and someday – you
Will be with him.
And someday I too will awake with him, and you.
– Richard J. DeWaard