In the U.S. alone, there are about 5.7 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s. For them and their families, it can be hard to put into words the emotions that arise during the different stages of the disease. Country singer Jay Allen has set out to do just that with his touching tribute to his mother. When he brought her on stage to sing the song to her, it was like she was with him one more time.
“It’s all about her and finding hope in a bad place.” @JayAllenMusic fights to end Alzheimer’s in honor of his mom. Thank you, Jay, for all you do to raise awareness through your music and beyond. ? #RitaHayworthGala #ENDALZ pic.twitter.com/o7bNEyU5bP
— Alzheimer’s Assoc. (@alzassociation) October 24, 2018
Alzheimer’s has become an increasing problem in the United States. Victims of the disease suffer painful memory loss and often cannot remember their own family members – or how to speak. While most individuals do not begin seeing signs until after the age of 65, there is a very uncommon form of dementia that forms before then.
His Mother’s Story
After raising a loving family, his mother was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimers when she was only 51. By age 54 she was in the late stages of the disease and was unable to recognize her family or even speak.
Allen told People, “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.”
Writing “Blank Stares”
He took her dancing and realized that when she started hearing the music, she started moving to the beat. During their two-step, she remembered who he was and said, “Jay, I missed you.” From then on, it was a no-brainer. He knew music was the way to reach his mother.
That single moment stuck with him and is the basis of his line, “I swear I still see you/ Between the blank stares.”
Performing with his mother on stage
Allen always brought his mother on stage anytime they were in Iowa for when he sang “Blank Stares.” He told People in 2018 that she is normally a little bewildered before going on but the moment they embrace each other, she is at peace again.
If I could only seal the cracks you’re slippin’ through… #WorldMentalHealthDay #endalz
Allen even told his bandmates that, “Whether we play for 5 people in a dive bar in the middle of nowhere or we play for 5,000 or 50,000 – we are always going to tell this story, we are always going to sing this song.”
The song obviously is an important part of Allen’s life and his love for his mother continues to remain the guiding force in his career.
Unfortunately, in February 2019 Jay’s mom passed away after battling this terrible disease for years. But even in her wake, this song lives on in her honor.
In response to his song and touching moment with his mother, fans have been writing a slew of “thank yous” to Allen. The overarching theme is “thank you for putting into words what we can never express.”
Allen continues to write and sing all over the country and has even raised over 20million dollars for the Alzheimer’s Association. You can help Allen and people all around the world fighting for a cure by donating yourself through the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facebook and be sure to watch the full touching video of Allen and his mother below.