Country singer Jay Allen understands how much of an emotional roller coaster ride it is to have someone you love diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Nashville-based singer has seen the disease rob his mom, Sherry Rich, of her memory and the ability to do the most simple of things.
Jay felt crushed when his mom “looked right through me.”
God, please give me strength to keep smiling. To keep singing. To keep telling the story. #endalz
“You can’t prepare yourself for your mama walking in the door of your house and looking you right in the face and not knowing who you are,” Jay told PeopleTV.
To tell the story about his mom’s battle with dementia, Jay wrote a song titled “Blank Stares.”
“God gifted me with a voice and the ability to write songs, and I feel He gave me an opportunity through that to not only help my mama, but to use ‘Blank Stares’ as a tool to fight against Alzheimer’s,” Jay told ABC News.
Tonight I sang to my momma in front of 5,000 people in my home state. I would give anything to make her better. #iowa #endalz
Jay revealed country music was the only thing that could reach his mom and bring a smile on her face.
At one show, Jay brought his mom on stage and serenaded her with a touching rendition of “Blank Stares” at the Dubuque Country Fair on July 27, 2018.
Jay held his mom tightly as he sang, “It’s getting harder and harder. To watch you disappear.”
“Deep down somewhere I swear I still see you. Between the blank stares,” he sang.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and I can’t stop staring at this picture. The woman in my arms is my momma, my…
Jay’s heartrending performance was captured on film by fan Lori Richard-Dittmer. She later shared it on Facebook with the caption, “Okay I’ve been to many concerts and this tops them all… One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.”
The video went viral on social media, receiving over 1.4 million views, tugging at the heartstrings of many.
“I lost my mother to this absolutely devastating disease… so waking up this morning and seeing this put a smile on my face,” one viewer wrote.
Dear momma. Today our song “Blank Stares” was introduced to country radio across America. The story never gets easier to…
Another commented, “She hasn’t forgotten how much she loves her son.”
Sadly, Jay’s mom is now in the final stage of Alzheimer’s and does not have much time left.
“But I still find hope in the long goodbye … My prayer is that this song becomes a mighty tool that ultimately helps end this nightmare disease,” Jay said.
“It’s a song of hope,” he added. “Yeah, it’s really sad, but once you have hope, you have inspiration.
She’s forgotten me, but I remember her. #ENDALZ #AlzheimersAwarenessMonth
“So hopefully this song inspires the researchers, the doctors to work harder.”
Jay has already raised over $20 million from the song for Abe’s Garden—Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Center in Nashville—during the summer of 2018.
This morning at 3:30am my momma went to heaven – calm and in her sleep, with my pops holding her hand. Each of us kids…
Sadly, following the battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Jay’s mom Sherry Rich passed away on Feb. 24, 2019.
“This morning at 3:30am my momma went to heaven – calm and in her sleep, with my pops holding her hand. Each of us kids had a chance to say our goodbyes, as we all cried and prayed together. My heart aches as I write this, but I ask that you please help us not focus on the sadness. Instead, celebrate the life of a beautiful, selfless woman. Remember how she fiercely followed God and served others,” Jay wrote on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
Sherry Lynn. 1964-2019. My momma, my best friend, my heart beat. As we celebrate her life, I’d like to invite y’all to please join us. The viewing will be this Thursday 4-7pm at Abels Funeral Home in Dike, IA & the service is Friday 10:30am at Calvary Baptist Church in Parkersburg, IA. If you’re unable to attend, momma loved flowers and anything purple. Please send to 680 Main St. Dike, IA 50624. Thank you, my friends. I couldn’t get through this without your love. #ENDALZ
“And please, continue to share her story until we finally end this thief of a disease… Momma, it’s been an honor to be your son,” he continued.
“I’ll forever look forward to seeing your face again, wrapping my arms around you, and singing country songs at the top of our lungs. Now, go decorate that mansion of yours. You earned it. Love you.”
I get through the bad days, by remembering the good ones. This is me and momma 1987 in Cedar Falls, IA. Comment below…
May Jay take comfort in knowing that his mom is now in a better place.
Hopefully, Jay’s beautiful song will continue to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease—the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Watch Jay Allen sing “Blank Stares” in the touching video below:
Posted by Lori Richard-Dittmer on Saturday, July 28, 2018