My name is Jay Allen. I’m a country music artist and songwriter signed to Sony/ATV in Nashville, TN.
My mom has early onset Alzheimer’s, and at the age of only 52, she’s now showing signs of stage 6. It’s something that has affected my family deeply, something that we can’t escape, and it brings me to my knees most days.
I grew up in small town rural Iowa with mom (Sherry), dad (Joe), and my two baby sisters (Cassie and Amber). We didn’t have a lot, but our parents always seemed to find a way, sometimes working 2-3 jobs each to make sure we had enough. Looking back, it was a humbling childhood, but what I think affected me most was my mother’s affection and selflessness towards all of us. She always put her children first, no matter what the sacrifice. If we wanted some stupid toy for Christmas, she would work the overtime or pick up an extra shift. She didn’t care what it took, she just wanted us to be happy.
When I was in middle school, I remember asking my mom what she would change to make her life better if she could go back in time.
Her response was, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I was made to be a good mom. I live for you kids.”
Now that I’m older, I hold onto those words as I watch this horrible disease steal away a beautiful woman. Sometimes I want to yell at God when I hear her stumble through a simple sentence, or when I look at her and feel like she’s not even there anymore. It makes me so mad, and it kills me that I can’t fix it. But then there are the moments of hope, when dad brings her to visit Nashville and we dance all night at The Sutler…or when she grins and taps her foot to the live music…or when I wrap my arms around her, and she takes a deep breath and says, “I’ve missed you, Jay.”
Her words, the good memories, and the moments of joy – that’s what I hold onto.
As a songwriter and up-and-coming artist, I feel that I have an obligation to be a positive role-model, and to also give back by utilizing the gifts that God has blessed me with. In realizing the importance of this, I finally found the courage to write a song about my experience, called “Blank Stares“. My vision is that this song will raise awareness, bring hope to those affected, and most importantly, become a weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
So please, download your copy of “Blank Stares” today, share, and dream with me. Music is powerful. Let’s do something with it.
With all my heart,
Download “Blank Stares” on iTunes: https://goo.gl/x3Oznd
***ALL PROCEEDS GO TO ABE’S GARDEN***
======= UPDATE =======
Jay’s mother is now in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and can no longer safely and comfortably stay in the family home – she needs to join a memory care community and get the 24/7 care that she (and everyone!) deserves – but that comes with a price tag that the family can not afford.
Jay has started a GoFundMe page (linked below), and we’d like to share it with you in hopes of helping him raise the funds he needs to carry his mother through this difficult time. Few ever give so much without asking for anything in return, and we know it’s tough and humbling to ask strangers for help. Read his story, listen to his song, send a message of support – let’s do what we can to care for our fellow caregivers.