Dad:  Do you have the car?  Are we going home?

Me: No, we can’t go home. You’re in the hospital.

Dad: Oh.  When are we going to go?

Me:  I’m not sure. We have to find a place for you to rehab.

Dad: Can we go home. Where’s your car?

Me:  Dad, we aren’t going to be able to go. Mom’s fine. Do you remember Marigold Place where you live?

Dad: Yes. But I have to find your mother.

Me: She’s fine. I just got back from Marigold. Darlene is with her now.

Dad: Shouldn’t we go?

Me: No, Dad. We can’t go.

These are how conversations go this week. Dad wakes up and is determined to go. Then when I’m not there, he is pulling off the hospital devices and doing his best to flee.

Melinda and Wes arrive with a video of my nephew, Chris, leading worship. Emotions heighten and settle. The walk into the future appears dark, foreboding and mysterious.

I get in the car exhausted wondering how I’ll get up in the morning and deal with all of this again. and again… and again… Same questions, confusion, and grief… We are beginning to understand the profound nature of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is a kick in the gut but there are amazing epiphanies. Whenever I get into the car it seems my iPhone connects with the bluetooth and I never know what song it will choose to play. Totally random selections. Sometimes it’s the Beatles, other times, Hillsong, or the Weepies. I have a thousand songs on the cloud.  But tonight the song my iphone chooses reminded me of the mysterious presence and dare I say, wink of God:  Jesus I am resting, resting…


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28 MSG

31 thoughts on “Cycling

      1. Matt, I’m so sorry! It breaks my heart to lean of your dad’s condition and what you and your family are going through. All of the Tullos family shall be in my prayers!


  1. Matt…talked to your mom and dad a couple of weeks ago. Was not aware of your Dad’s condition. Thanks for putting out this info…you will be an encouragement to MANY walking through a similar journey!


  2. So sad to hear of this for you Matt, so blessed to know your dad has such a loving, caring son! I know God will carry you trough this time! You are a treasure and your writings are such a blessing to all!

    Love and prayers!


  3. Matt and family, my heart goes out to you. I didn’t know about your dad. He touched my heart in so many ways.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.


    Eugene & Debi


  4. Matt, since my mother can no longer see, I have been reading your posts to her. She asked for me to tell you how very special your “words” are and that they touched her heart. I know that God’s Word says that He “knows the number of our days” and “even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” I’m not sure why this is the path that Mark (and all of your family) has to travel but I do know that God is right there with each of you. Continuing to pray … love the Tullos family so much.


  5. Even now, I can hear your Dad singing “There’s only one solution to the problems of this world…”. Even now that solution is the same as a young Mark Tullos proclaimed-Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The same in health and disease. The same in clarity and confusion. The same when it’s easy or hard. The same solution. Praying for your dad to feel peace in the midst of confusion and for your family’s strength in the middle of exhaustion.


  6. Matt

    We are walking through this with my mother, with my sister being the primary caregiver. I sent this to her today, not knowing it has been a tough one. She said it was exactly what she needed.

    By the way, as a teen and college student in East Texas, your dad’s ministry was a great part of those years.


  7. Matt- praying for you.
    I spent most of last year as the primary care giver to my mom. She has dementia, and severe spinal issues so she is in a wheelchair.
    I did not have the heart-break of what you are going through (the complete memory loss and dark personality shifts), but I know how hard it is to be a parent for my parent.
    She had to be moved into an assisted living facility- not what any of us wanted- but it has been an incredible blessing knowing she is in the right place for her for now. I miss my mama.
    Thank God for his goodness and grace or I wouldn’t have made it through.


  8. Hi Matt. I met you at LSUE at a seminar for church sites, but I known your dad since I was a little girl thru my daddy(Rodney Jenkins) Such a sweet caring fun loving man of God. I am truly sorry that this has become a part of halls journey in life. I am praying for all of you. Love in Christ, Sharon Jenkins Blankenship


  9. Dementia & Alzheimer’s are wretched diseases! Watched my mom totally transform before our very eyes over the course of a few short years… wretched. So sorry Matt. I pray God will pour out his mercy on you, your Dad, & the rest of the family.


  10. Matt, my heart goes out to you. We just walked this hard road with my dad, so heartbreaking yet woven with precious times. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” 2 Thessalonians 3:16


  11. “O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies,
    O they tell me of a home far away;
    O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,
    O they tell me of an unclouded day.”

    I play this hymn at my mom’s memory care facility. I pray that soon the clouds will be lifted from her and the other residents and all will be well with Jesus.

    Dementia sucks.

    Praying for you, your dad and family.


  12. Hi, Matt. My heart aches for you with all that you are going through. Sundowners is rough. I know you wonder as you make your way to see your Dad…..How is he today; What year will I have to work through today; Can I handle seeing my dad like this? And so much more. We know God doesn’t put more on us than we can stand; however, how much more can I really take seeing my dad who has always been so strong and my hero and mentor be in this state. It’s rough.My parents did not go through this, but I have been through it with others. My aunt has dementia. Some times she is “all there” and then again telling me about her mom and mine coming to see her when they have both been in heaven for many years. I ask what they talked about and she tells me, And then again, I can show her a picture of her boyfriend from the 40’s and she tells me all about him. Strange. I just have to love her and follow her lead. I pray for God’s will be done for your dad, family and you….whatever it may be. Continue to be strong as we continue for good days for your dad and for understanding. Just love him as he is..


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