I was honored to spend much of the first morning of Vacation Bible School with a man named “Jack.” He is my friend’s father, a long-time member of our church, and has the same name as my late father. Though I’ve never known Jack well, I know he has served as a school principal. I know he is a beloved father, husband, and grandfather. Similar to my own dad’s dementia, Jack has Alzheimer’s.
In my role as a photographer at VBS, I was passing through the kitchen and saw Jack exploring the room under the watchful eye of other adults. Without the oversight, he would have wandered away. Having brought extra cameras along, I had an idea. What if I gave Jack a camera and took him with me? The other ladies could more easily focus on their tasks while Jack had something to do.
I presented Jack with a camera, and off we went. Though he needed frequent reteaching and hand positioning, he was able to capture a series of photos. Some had heads chopped off or weren’t well centered, but he also had some good pictures that we were able to use in the slideshow.
Everywhere we went, Jack was full of compliments for the people he met, many of whom he’d known for years but no longer remembered. He also had random memories of people whom he praised profusely as we walked by ourselves. Jack had a great time taking pictures and interacting with people. Here are some of his photos.
Toward the end of our time, as we walked outside, I sang a little bit of the VBS theme song. I told Jack that the song was stuck in my head and asked what song was stuck in his head. He quickly began singing, “You Are My Sunshine.” Since we were on the way to the kitchen, where his wife was, I asked if he would sing it for her. Here is the link to him singing that song.
It truly was an honor to spend that time with Jack. His memories are often missing, but his personality still shines brightly.