An Opportunity for Healing
- Tom Evans, pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, says that the act of caregiving can be an opportunity for healing. And he speaks from personal experience.
- Pastor Evans tells us that for most of his life, he and his father weren’t able to talk about much beyond the topic of sports, even though his father was also a pastor.
- However, a few years ago, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. And Pastor Evans stepped into a caregiving role.
“When a loved one has encountered hardship, or cancer, or Alzheimer’s, and maybe they haven’t been very loving to you throughout your life, this may be an opportunity for healing in a way,” he tells SurvivorNet.Read More
However, a few years ago, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. And Pastor Evans stepped into a caregiving role.
“Over the years … he had never done much for me or my family,” Pastor Evans says. Then, “suddenly, we were having to (care) for him.”
“And suddenly this Alzheimer’s had (given) us an opportunity that we would never have had otherwise — living with my father again,” he adds. “I hadn’t done that since I was 8 years old when my parents divorced.”
Pastor Evans says that his father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis also changed his father as a person, in a good way.
“My father had … never been able to express himself, never been able to express love,” he says. “Suddenly, Alzheimer’s opened up something in him. Suddenly, he talked about the sunset like it was the most glorious thing in the world.”
The pastor’s point is that caregiving can be an opportunity to heal past relationships, just like it did for him and his father.
“His eyes always teared up whenever he looked into my eyes, and I was able to see a love there that I had never seen before,” the pastor says. “I think I always knew it was there, but I never saw it. And so suddenly, he was able to share himself in ways that he never did before.”