IMG_1097When I spoke at a conference in Georgia a few years ago, one of the attendees told me that she had almost given up on communicating with her father who was in the final stage of Alzheimer’s.

She went to see him every day, and she’d done everything she could think of to connect with him. She had talked, she’d read books and played his favorite music. Nothing she did created even a flicker of interest or recognition. Feeling defeated one day, she sat down next to his bed.

As she grieved the fact that her father was lost to her, she took his hand in hers and started stroking it gently. As she thought about the man he’d been before the terrible disease destroyed his brain, she massaged his arms and then his face. Stoking his forehead and cheeks silently, she reflected on how much she missed him.

About 15 minutes into it he let out a deep sigh and said, “That . . . feels . . . so . . . good.” Those were the first words he’d uttered in six months, and it was the last time he spoke before dying. Those words were precious to her because it let her know that although her father had lost almost every other sense, he was still able to feel and experience love through her gentle touch.