Like a long-lost treasure—hidden in plain sight—the yellow sticky note written in my mother’s beautiful handwriting caught my eye. Alzheimer’s had stolen her handwriting several years before I found the note. Stuck to an old newspaper in her bedroom, it read,
“I am fading away but Jesus is keeping me everyday.” And under that, she wrote, “Heb. 12:1-14.”
A few years after she died, I traced her handwriting from her sticky note onto a yellow canvas that is now displayed in my home.
It’s a poignant, beautiful reminder of His faithfulness and my mother’s unwavering faith, even in the midst of deep sorrow.
My mother, Anita Bubeck, bravely endured Alzheimer’s for fifteen years while my father, Mark Bubeck, faithfully cared for her in their Phoenix home. When she passed away in 2013, I asked my dad if I could have her Bible, the one he had given her later in life. I found some more sticky notes in the front of her Bible, one referencing Hebrews 12:1-2 again.
I call this my sticky note legacy.
The progression of my mother’s disease is evident in the notes she scribbled throughout her Bible. She used whiteout to rewrite her first name, perhaps misspelling it the first time. Near a favorite Psalm she wrote, “Pas The Lored,” and by Philippians 4 she wrote, “Paise God. Ameen God.” Though she couldn’t spell the word, she still chose to praise Him.
I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand—at least this side of heaven—the “God why” behind the ravages of Alzheimer’s on my mother’s mind and body before she passed away. But I do know that the ripple effect of her faith has forever impacted my family, including generations yet to come! And I’ve chosen to cling to Hebrews 12:1-2 as the focus of my own life as I seek to run the race marked out for me…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily untangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I’d love to hear from you. What verses have become the focus of your life and why. Feel free to leave a comment or email me.
(If you have a loved one struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s, check out the book Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The Five Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey by Dr. Gary Chapman, Dr. Edward G. Shaw and Deborah Barr. The central message of the book was inspired by coauthor Dr. Shaw’s moving personal story of caring for his wife with early-onset Alzheimer’s, coupled with his innovative use of the five love languages in dementia counseling.)