Saturday, March 14, 2020

One chapter ending...

It has been some hard, emotional couple of weeks.  I missed a couple days of work to spend quality time in social security office, going from one place to another, just to get all the paperwork for a nursing home to accept my mom. Who would have thought that I'd have to visit a funeral home last week? I've had many moments of tears and break downs.  I've had times where I've done all that I could do and just ask God to do the rest.  And, He does.

There was a moment this week, when I was sitting in my mom's boxed up apartment going through a box looking for papers that I couldn't find, and everything hit me.  I'm taking away my mom's freedom and I am not only changing her life, but my own as well. The days of my mom just stopping by are no longer.  Those days of coming home and finding some small thing she picked up because she knows I like it are over.  Today I moved the boxes out of her apartment and locked the door for the last time.  That chapter of her life is ending.

A new chapter begins...a chapter no one ever looks forward to.  It's hard for her.  I've taken away not only her ability to drive, but to be independent.  In her mind, she is just fine.  She really don't understand why I've done this besides listening to the stupid doctor's advice.  It's hard for me.  I am the only one making these decisions.  I went through every box in her apartment and had do decide if she needs it, if she might need it later, if I could use it, or if I should donate.  All within about a week.  I am mentally and emotionally tired. However, besides being bored, my mom seems okay.  Which, is better than she has been in months.

She was officially diagnosed with Vascular dementia.  It's nothing I'd want any parent or child to go through.  Vascular dementia is caused by damage to the blood vessels to your brain.  So, your brain is deprived of oxygen and small parts of your brain dies.  With this kind of dementia, you don't really know what parts of your brain will be affected.  Yes, memory is usually affected, but it could even affect your personality.  It can cause hallucinations and delusions as it did with my mother.   This can caused by a stroke or heart attack, or in my mom's case, diabetes or high blood pressure. 

 I know that there is an adjustment period for not only her, but me as well.  I still have boxes in my garage I need to go through.  She has now been in there a week.  I am still paying her bills and turning off utilities.  I'm sure I've missed something.  I'm taking it day by day right now. Isn't that all that we can do?  I know that this was best, but it doesn't make it easier.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Growing Up Is Never Fun

There are times when staying Peter Pan and never growing up sound wonderful. I'd like to escape to Neverland and laugh and play all day. Sleep when you want to.  Eat what you want without gaining weight!!  HELLO! Sign me up!  Okay, yes, I know that part wasn't in any of the Peter Pan movies but if we are having a fantasy world -- no calories will be part of it! :)  Because growing up is hard and there are a lot of parts that suck.  Plain and simple.

Finding out your Dad has cancer and there isn't anything the doctors can do. So hard. Watching your Dad take his last breaths. Hard doesn't even explain it. Now, with my mom, life is hard once again.
My mom was diagnosed with Dementia last year.  But, she was able to fake normal for long enough the insurance said she was fine and kicked out help.  So, I pretended she was fine.  It's so much easier to pretend everything is normal.  When I say "normal,"  I don't mean you and I normal.  I mean, my mother normal.  The paranoid normal that he has been for years.  Where there is listening devices and people following her.  The things that have unfortunately become "normal" for my mother the past several years.  Until you can't pretend anymore.  By the time it reaches this level -- things have gone from okay to really bad. And it did.  I asked for a home visit from the place that treated her last year.  (they have a dementia outreach person)  So, on the 19the of February, my daughter's 18th birthday, she did a home visit.  And there is no more faking normal anymore.  There are pages of notes that my mother openly said.  So, my mother was put in an ambulance and taken to the psychiatric treatment place she was before.

Now, I am having talks about dementia units in nursing homes.  I'm having talks with talks about her insurance and her bills.  I'm having talks about taking away not only her driving but her freedom as well. How is my mother through this?  Angry.  She wasn't happy to see me when when I visited her Sunday.  She knows it is my power of attorney that is keeping her there, so she is asking for it back. The nurses and social worker is putting her off and telling her they can't find it.  But, one day, in the next week -- I will have to have that talk with my mother.  I will have to sign papers and move my mother to a nursing home.  I will make my mother cry.  I will make my mother angry.  She might even hate me for a while.  

This is why my blood pressure is terrible lately. This is why I'm one step away from tears most of the time.  This is why growing up is never fun.  Even in the midst of this mess, I can see God's mercy.  With His help, I will make it through this. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

New Start

It is very telling when I log into my blog that I've always enjoyed writing and the last blog I actually posted was in 2018.  On my list there are three posts that I started to write in 2019, but I never finished... never posted.  Three posts with the same message of confusion.  Three pleas for God's help.  Three posts wondering why life has to be like this. Three posts wishing things were different.

But guess what?  It's a new year.  My circumstances haven't changed. The same baggage that I just couldn't even bring myself to finish writing about is still here. However,  I have changed.  Not going to lie and say it's something dramatic like a butterfly emerging from it's cocoon.  This "butterfly" here is defiantly more moth like.  And honestly, I think I might still be in the cocoon.  Who knows? 
What ever it is, I have finally realized something.  That no matter how bad the circumstances are... you still need to take care of you.  I haven't done that in a while.  Not emotionally.  Not physically.  Not mentally.  I've just been on autopilot going through the days making sure everyone else is taken care of.  At night, praying and asking for help before falling asleep.  Just to wake up and do it all again.  Yes, there were some good days in there.  Those times with family and friends would be an awesome break from the monotonous routine.   It really wasn't a depression either.  Just autopilot.

I am turning off autopilot this year.  For 2020, my words this year is Intentional.  Isn't that a great word?  I've been trying to find a word that fit through out January and I kept coming up with phrases or two words.  Finally, last week it came to me.... Intentional.  I am taking care of me physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I am being intentional with the food I'm eating.  I've only lost 8 pounds so far but I'm eating so much healthier. I'm eating things I never thought I'd eat. 

I'm being very intentional about the connection with family and friends.  I need that so much.  I believe that we all do.  So, I'm looking at the monthly calendar and at least once a month, I'm scheduling time with friends or family.  In January, we went to a couple game nights beginning of the month and had Mexican food with friends at the end of the month.  Last night, was a game night with two great families.  Laughter with others is such a blessing from God.  Those moments don't just happen.  Last year while I was on autopilot, they only happened every few months.  If you break that down, that is only 4 or 5 times last year!  They don't take much effort.  It just takes being intentional, making the time, and scheduling it.

That is the example I want to set for my kids.  I want them to see that no matter how busy life is, take time to connect and laugh with those people God puts in your life.  There is enough hard stuff.  There are plenty of tears in this life. There are plenty of circumstances to make you worry and pray about.  But, there should also be laughter.  There needs to be more walk with your dog.  More veggies on your plate.  Let's turn off the autopilot, look around at the people around us, and be intentional. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

the valley

Life does not always end up as planned.... well,at least our plan. And, since we cannot see God's plan, we hang on, pray, and trust.  Sounds all nice and pretty, doesn't it?  Something to hang on the wall.  Tie a big ribbon on it.  Something found in a Bible store.  Or a well meaning friend might say.

But, when you are in the middle of life's mess, it's hard.  Sometimes there is no relief in sight.  Sometimes it is months of silent tears.  Prayers with no answers yet.  Day by day, you hang on knowing that God has got you through hard stuff before.  Wondering why your prayers can't be answered

We all have these valleys.  This life is full of a lot of...well, crap.  Miscarriage.  Infertility. Abuse.   Death.  Job Loss.  Divorce.  Plus, so much more.  This world that we live in is not easy.  Hopefully there are many years in between the valleys.  And lots of wonderful memories with family and friends.  Laughter... laughing so hard you cry.  And moments of true rest and happiness.  But, at some point, we will be in the depth of the valley once again. 

Hopefully, when that day comes, a friend will show up to be God's arms.  To help shoulder the burden your going through.  To listen and to love you through the valley, step by step.  We all need that friend in those moments.  So, look around at the circle around you.  What struggles are they going through?  How are they really doing? 

Take the time to check on them.  Take the time to see how they are really doing.  Don't accept the generic, "fine, how are you?"  Be the friend that goes deeper.  Be God's shoulder and arms to some one struggling in your life.  Because you never know, when your path will take you into a valley.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Life's mess

It has been a long seven months since I've wrote.

Here it is almost one in the morning and my heart feels heavy...or is it an empty feeling.  I'm not sure.

I have been here before.  The bottom pit looking up.  Crying.  Yelling.  Telling God that I am not strong enough.  I am done.  I can't do it anymore.

Please don't think I'm suicidal.  I'm ready for God to meet me here.  Not for me to meet God there.  Big difference!! ;)

I am tired.  Emotionally tired and drained.  Life keeps stacking things up right now....between an unemployed husband who's health is rapidly declining, to my crazy mother, and my wonderful father-in-law who isn't eating and shrinking in front of our eyes.  I am trying to hold it all together because that's what Mom's do.

But, it's slipping a little. Kids will joke with me and I get my feelings hurt.  Not a good time to read "Me before you," but yeah, I finally did.  Ugly tears were shed. (Another one where the book is so much better than the movie.)  My nerves, my heart are just more out in the open and exposed right now. But, I know even this time can be used for good.

I know God hears my cries.  I know He has seen my tears.  I know that He has heard my heart even when I couldn't say any words out loud.  I know this because you don't reach 40 without being here before.  And God is true and He has led me through troubled waters before.

I just ask Lord, be my strength because I need You.  Guide my footsteps in the days ahead.  Fill my heart with peace as only You can.  Use me to show others Your love.

Because I know, God meets us right where we are at.  In the bottom of the pit.  In our confusion trying to make a decision.  In middle of the night with screaming baby.  When friends may leave us.  When health may fail us.  What ever mess you find yourself, God will meet us right there.  I hold tight to that promise tonight and tomorrow and the next day.

My favorite verse is a good reminder:

"those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint."    Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Reason for the Season

Today is my favorite holiday.  The weather is usually perfect.  The fall leaves are beautiful.  A day to stop in our busy life and just be thankful.  It is a holiday to be surrounded by the family you love, but don't always see.  It's not about gifts, like so much of Christmas is.  It is about coming together to see cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even friends.  To come together, enjoy a good meal, play a few games, tell lots of stories, and make memories to last.  This year, it is a little different for us.

 We lost G.G. in August of this year.  She lived a long long wonderful life filled with those she loved.  Those memories of her stay with us long after she is gone.  Memories of frisbee, dominoes, and skip-bo.  Memories of "just a little piece" of pie.  (which we proceeded to give her a big slice and she ate it all)  Memories of Thanksgiving with 30+ family members gathered in one place.  I knew this year would be different without her.

 Just this week, I attended two funerals:  A grandfather and a grandmother.  Two that are no longer sick and celebrating on the other side.  However, there are widows, children, and grandchildren that are left with a hole in their heart.  Those Thanksgiving tables were missing some one.  It makes me hold the ones I love a little closer.  The Bible tells us that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.   Two funerals in one week is a big reminder of that.  We have today.  And in the end, stuff won't matter.  It's family.  It's friends.  It's the love we share.

I look around today and wondered what the next year will hold.  If we will all be back to celebrate the next Thanksgiving with the family.  If that sounds morbid, I'm sorry.  But, like I said, it's been one of those weeks.  The grief and sadness I have felt this week, is just a testimony of their lives.  I wouldn't trade the tears I've shed this week because their lives mean something.  Not just to their spouse, kids, and grandchildren.  Their lives meant something to me and to my family.

Thankful....I truly am.  I am thankful for a God that loves me even when I mess up.  I am thankful for my children. And as a list runs through my head....the list is filled with people.  Yes, there are "stuff" a home for my family or food on my table.  But, most of all, my thankful list is filled with people.... and so much more than just my three kids. (although they are up there on the list!)  Our little world is so much more than the five of us.   Those people God has put in my life, they are the reason for this holiday.  They are the reason my heart is full. Those are reasons to be Thankful.  There is no place I'd rather be then gathered around a good meal looking upon faces that I love.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Taking the cover off

Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows.  Sometimes it's just barely making it through the day.  Some days are more like a tornado tearing through your life.  Then there are days when you feel like the rain will never end.  I've learned that we are all books with different covers.  Covers... can hide something you don't want others to see.  Yet, you hope that some one will want to open it up and know what's on the inside.

Covers can hide many things.  There is of course, the beauties that are only skin deep.   There are the athletes that seem so confident but struggle with believing in themselves.  There are smart ones that feel like that will fail at everything and then get too scared to try.  There are ones that are will do anything to make some one love them.  There are also the happy ones that cry when no one is looking. 

No one's life is picture perfect.  There are moments of perfection to savor and look back on.  Moments that you wish would have lasted longer.  Those perfect moments when you look up and thank God for where you are and where He has brought you.  We all love those moments.  Those moments feel like a true connection with God.  The problems of this world fade away and the good stuff -- the blessings -- are what is left.

But, we all have moments where we feel like we are on the bottom of the stairs and we don't know if we have the energy to climb them.  It doesn't matter who we are.  It doesn't matter how rich or famous we are.  It doesn't matter how old or young we are.  There are days where the effort to climb the deal with life and it's problems...are just too much.  You have been there.  I have been there.

But, what happens next is the important part.  It's not being at the bottom of the stairs.  The important part is what happens when you are down there.  Do you expect a person to fill that void your feeling and lift you up?  That is a high demand which they are bound to fail.  Or do you look up?  My strength comes not from me, but from Him.  God hears every cry of my heart.  He hears the words that are locked in my heart...the ones that only come out in tears.  I know, in those times, that He hears my heart.  That only He can help me up the stairs that seem so steep.  I know only He can see through what ever cover I'm hiding behind and heal the broken pieces with in me.  That place inside of you that you are trying to fill -- it's God's place.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2