If you’ve spent time on social media over the past month, you may have seen a video of a touching performance by a young country musician from Iowa named Jay Allen. While Allen may not have been a household name before, he certainly is now.
Allen now lives in Nashville but on July 28, he was performing at Dubuque County Fair in his home state. He had a special guest, his mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Sherry Rich was diagnosed at just 53 years old, and it has been devastating for the entire family. It prompted Allen to write a song, “Blank Stares.” It includes such moving lines as, “If I could only seal the cracks you’re slipping through,” and “Deep down somewhere I swear I still see you/Between the blank stares.”
Allen performed “Blank Stares” at the fair with his mother by his side. A fan captured the touching moment on video, and it was posted on Facebook, where it quickly went viral. The video has been viewed over a million times.
While heartbreaking, it’s wonderful to have young people like Jay Allen raising awareness about this terrible disease. I so appreciate him talking about the financial hardship that Alzheimer’s can cause, because that’s a topic that is not discussed enough. He has touched many people, and proceeds from “Blank Stares” are raising money for Abe’s Garden, a memory care center in Nashville.
If you’ve seen the video or heard the song, I’d love to hear your thoughts.