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.
Jay Allen – Blank Stares
This is so beautiful, thank you for putting it in a song. I pray this gets out for the world to hear.
,what a fantastic song Jay! Praying for your family! You hold a great big place in my heart!
I didn’t know, thank you for giving us a piece of your heart an telling us what’s going on.
I always loved your mom an dad..I used to live with them an worked with them. Such a great couple!!!!
Thank you! That is truly beautiful.
Just beautiful! Thank You for putting every caregivers feelings into words.
What a truly beautiful song. My husband’s name is Joe. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 3 years ago. My name is Cheri. How bizarre, same names as your parents. Prayers to you and your family and thanks for writing this song.
Jay, You said what I feel every day of my life right now! I feel so alone some days. Like no one in the world could understand how I feel. I am watching my Dad go thru this. He was diagnosed in 2012. I knew something was not right. It was just me, my Dad and the Dr. in the room we received the heartbreaking news. My Dad could do anything, build any thing, fix any thing. Now he can not
do ANYTHING for himself. He comes from a large family. He was one of 8 children. All of his brothers and sisters are alive and well. No one comes to see him any more. My brother goes a few times a month. Even my Mom will only go see him once or twice a month. He had to go to a facility two years ago this very week. I live next door to my parents. I look out the door every night before I go to bed and look out as soon as I get up. I still can not believe he is not at home. He became combative and home health care made the call that he could no longer stay home. My heart is broke and I don’t see how it will ever heal. Every one says it will be better. It has not. Your song was such a blessing. I hope and pray one day you and I will be rejoicing when we turn on the TV and hear “We have found a cure!!!'”. My prayers go out to you and your Mom and all her family. And all the families that have to watch one of the worst things on this earth.
Thank you Jay for this beautiful heartfelt song. I too, am watching my mom slip through the cracks as this dreadful disease carries her further away from me. So many of us are hurting inside fighting back the tears as we see our loved ones drift away. Hold on to your mom and cherish every moment you have together. And know that you are not alone. Sending my love and prayers to you.
What a beautiful song. My father passed away from this horrible disease late last year and my mom has just been recently diagnosed. To think of having to do this all over again overwhelms me. My mother is just like yours totally devoted to her children. It breaks my heart to watch her struggle with remembering. I have decided to live each day to the fullest with her while she still knows me and not think about what is coming down the road. Family STRONG!!
Thank you for a beautiful song . I am 65 and have one son like you he is losing his mom . I can feel myself slipping away. I am in early stages of Alzheimers. I lost my mom to it three yrs ago. And now it’s my turn. My son and I know what’s coming after seeing my mom his grandma go through it. There is nothing to be done. So we laugh at it little mistakes I make. And he reminds me of the things I forget. He is my anchor to this world. And like your mom I love my son very much. Thank you.
Wow! Thank you so much for this song. My mother was also diagnosed in her 50’s, and we are in stage 6 as well. This song fits my current relationship with mom. Every day I pray that when I see her she will leave that blank stare for just a second and recognize me. To have one more second with her knowing who I am. To share a smile or a memory. So many are being diagnosed and this is an amazing thing you are doing! Thank you so much! My husband recently captured a video of her and I as she was having a good moment. It will be cherished forever as will this song.
Thank you so much for this song. My father in law passed away in 2009 from Alzheimers. It’s a horrible disease. We watched him for about 4 years suffering with it. We found out he had it when he got back in from his run to Dunn NC to Leland NC. He was a truck driver. He didn’t know where he had been the entire day, so the dr immediately took away his CDL license. I HATE THIS DISEASE!!! Now I have just recently found out that my mom also has it. 😢😢😢
We have a family member who has been slowly slipping away from this horrible disease. If you haven’t been touched by this agonizingly helpless process of detachment you might not understand. If ever there was a time for practicing patience,loyalty and humanity this disease demands it. Thank you for the reminder Jay, in your time of sorrow. ❤️
What a beautiful tribute to your mother! My mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s far over 20 years and it is a terrible disease. God bless you and your family.💖
Beautiful Jay. Thank you. -Leslie
What a beautiful song and tribute to your Mother, it brought me to tears. ❤️
I would like to print the lyrics, and can’t find them. My dad is 88 and he cuts the lawn everyday. I’m so glad he has his tractor, because the words are mostly gone. complete sentences for sure. the video with you on stage with your mom hugging you was so brave. My dad won’t let go of me when I leave to go. the hugging is so important because they can’t tell you how much they love you except by squeezing.
My name is Steven Wright and I lost my mom when she was 53 to Alzheimer’s; she was diagnosed at 47. I lost my grandfather at 54 to the same thing. I feel for him and understand what he is saying on a very personal level. As this is the most heart breaking thing i’ve heard since I laid mom to rest.
Jay, I lost my Dad in 2006 to this horrible disease. I am now supporting my daughter-in-law thru her mothers own battle. This disease causes so much heartache for the family. Your lyrics paint the picture so perfectly. I hope you find peace and comfort.
Absolutely beautiful Jay. My heart bleeds for you and for her because it’s a very painful reality to witness. I have worked for many many years in healthcare. I’m now a Respiratory Therapist where I primarily specialize in patients on life support and asthma and COPD patients. However, in my formative years in healthcare I took two different positions where I was a tech to aide patients in a locked down Alzheimer/Dementia ward for a couple of years. I met so many precious souls that to this day I miss and still make me smile when memories pop up. I’m sure you’ve educated yourself quite well on all of this and are in a state now where you are just enjoying the beautiful moments you can get (which is my best advice). If you ever need a listening ear or advice I extend that offer of contact to you. I pray for love and support for you and your mom and for the rest of your family.
Having dealt with the grief and sorrow of being an only child and losing a mother to Alzheimer’s, I would love to be able to print out the lyrics to give them to my mother to read and share them with her cousin who had to deal with the same heartbreak with his mother. Could you please tell me where I could find them? It’s such a touching song and I would like to help spread its message!
I was looking at different sites on the internet and saw this video on careliving.org…listening to this beautiful song crying takes me back to the family room taking care of my dad who passed away 9/16/14. You mom is very proud of you and this tribute to your love for her even if she can’t tell you. I’m so glad in my research for information on pets of ALZ family members I came across you. I’m on a mission to help families & caregivers with information about the pets being left behind…many wind up at city shelters. My dad loved animals so this site will be for him and others that need advice. Thank you for my tears of joy this morning. Much love to you and your family.
Jay, I heard your song to your mother for the first time on the Alzheimers.com website. I lost my father in December 2015 to Lewybody dementia. A form of Alzheimers with components of Parkinson’s disease which is a faster progressing disease than Alzheimer’s. I lost my mother in September 2018 to side effects of Alzheimer’s. When my father began going downhill, my mother followed right behind him and both went downhill together. The first time I heard the song to your mother, I cried like a child because you put into words how I felt, and still do. It came from deep down inside, intense but releasing. I didn’t have time to grieve for my father because I had my mother to care for. Now, I feel I am grieving for both of them. Even though I cry every time I listen to your song, I think it is helping me work through my grief. Thank you for sharing your sincere feelings and emotions with all of us going through the same situation. I pray you can have peace. God bless you.