Continuing to Continue

In my life, so many things have been happening. As I wrote in the last post, retirement is planned for next month, in three days I will be travelling to spend a couple of weeks with my son, his girlfriend and soon-to-be born twin boys Elijah and Josiah, meeting family there. My book has been submitted for editing and eventual publishing, finances are in order, and on and on it goes. I feel so blessed and happy that it seems things are really turning around for me.

I went to see my mother. When I saw her she was in a sad state. She needed dry sheets. I went to the nurse’s station, and was told they were aware, and someone eventually came in the room and told her she was doing her rounds and would be there shortly. It didn’t seem to be a good enough of an answer for my mother, and later I found out the nurse washed her earlier, and my mother yelled at her for doing so. I gathered the dirty clothes, telling her I would return them tomorrow cleaned and ironed. I noticed that though a chest of drawers was available for her, the clothes were stashed in the closet, as my mother thought they were being stolen, and to put them there would be a safer place.

I didn’t stay long, I just wanted to leave, and as soon as possible. I felt guilty for feeling that way. My life at this point was going so well, while her’s…

I got in my car and sat in silence. What can I do at this point? I felt guilty for going to the dentist, guilty of having a car to drive , guilty of not being able to help her, guilty that my mind was intact, while her’s was quickly deteriorating.

What do you do when you’re in a quandary like this one?

Keep living. I have to instill in myself to enjoy what I have, continue being a caregiver as best I can, and continue to be the listening ear my mother so desperately needs. Getting meds increased I do not believe at this point in time will be much help; as forgetfulness has morphed into sheer confusion, increasing medicines may not help at this juncture. The disease is what the disease does, and the best I think I can do is just be there. There have to be parameters set, like not taking a phone call at 3:30 a.m., and continue to keep answers to her questions straight and simple, not involved and long. I have enough experience to know that she will not remember what I told her anyway, and tomorrow the same questions will come.

The guilt continues to surround my mind with thoughts I care not ponder, yet it happens anyway. Prayer helps, and will continue. What about you, caregiver? How do you deal with feelings like this? I would live to hear your comments, and will post them, as I believe it would be helpful to others who are going through the same.

For now all I can say is continue to live, whatever your life may be, accepting the bad and well as the good; enjoy living life while at the same time being a caregiver…continue to continue.

Continual Struggle; Godly Solace

It has been a while since writing in this blog. A lot of decisions have occurred:

  • July: my son Stephen told me I will be a grandmother of twins; later found out they are both boys
  • before that, I made the decision to retire next year after 33 years of employment at one job
  • soon to publish a book, my first one

New things are on the horizon, and there is an unknown territory I will embark upon. At first it felt really scary, but I am getting used to the idea of being a grandmother with my mother being a great-grandmother; she seemed to be pleasantly surprised when I told her the news.

And speaking of my mother, things have changed for her while at the same time remaining the same: of course she still has dementia, which has progressed. I have noticed putting sentences together to convey a thought are becoming more challenging for her. Her mental capacity has diminished, and she has gotten more and more confused about the simplest of things and events, oftentimes bringing up things that happened in the past and thinking that is presently happening:

The nursing home being her place of employment, or a school, or a church. Her telling me her roommate is the owner of the nursing home, being suspicious of everyone (including me), while at the same time relying on me for some assurance that she is in the right place. She knows he brain does not function like it used to (so she is not in denial), which is frustrating for her because she can’t fix it. The same frustration holds true for me, as I can’t fix her either.

As of October 5th of this year, we are in our 4th year of this journey together, and I have learned to just listen to her, not offer any answers, no longer correcting what she says, and continue to be there for her. Yet living life with her is a continual struggle.

The struggle of living life is challenging. Being on the brink of experiencing the new for me is exciting, while continuing to be a caregiver is, well, a struggle. When I see my mother and attempt to carry on a conversation with her, trying to understand her questions while realizing the mom I used to know is no longer, that is where the struggle reigns. There are times when her tone of voice is what I’m used to hearing, when she is lucid are the times that I cherish. Sometimes that is far and few between.

So what can a caregiver like myself do in times when the struggle continues?

  • remember you have a life, and live it
  • replace worry and frustration with rest
  • continue to be a caregiver for your loved one, making changes along the way that will help you and your loved one while handling your care-giving responsibilities.
  • look for those friendships and support that help you within the struggle
  • find peace and contentment, from reading a book to taking in a movie or a concert, and praying to God to supply your every need.

Be encouraged to know that within the struggle, or the eye of the storm, if you will, there is a solace that will get you through the struggle. For me that is God, who offers an environment where I can go and seek the peace that only He can provide. Sorry, the solace you need is not in eating yourself into oblivion (it only leads to health problems you don’t need), it is not in shopping (it only leads to overspending of things you don’t need), or being alone (loneliness is not a good place to be). But when you discover God’s solace in the realm of prayer, going to Him for anything and everything, life becomes better to handle. It is because it is no longer you trying to do it all; you have invited God to handle the struggle as you live it, welcoming God to do the providing and supplying of needs that will get you through it all.

And that is the type of solace we all need.


“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6, 7

De-stressing Frustration

Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances; something that causes a state of strain or tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.

de: from the French and Latin languages, when added to a verb, it means down from, or away, being separated from

Frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something; an event or circumstance that causes one to feel frustrated

Compared to last year, the months of this year so far have been much more peaceful as it pertains to caring for my mother. We overcame the hurdle of her recognizing (for the most part) she lives in a nursing home, no longer having an apartment, that I am handling her financial affairs, and always looks forward to receiving popcorn and Mr. Goodbars candy from me. She is in her second year of living at the home, and things have improved.

But there are those times when frustration stops by for a visit during our conversations, and brings its close buddy named stress along for the party.

As the dementia worsens, the same questions keep happening, namely having food to eat. One of the good aspects of the nursing home is the staff who make sure the patients have their meals, including those who don’t want to eat…but my mother is not one of those who don’t to eat, just the opposite. She makes sure she eats, though she tells me she hasn’t. I know that is not the case, however….

We had one of our many conversations on finances, and on her getting meals. Though said countless times before, me saying she is entitled to three meals a day plus snacks, she will swear she is not getting that. On this particular day she insisted on going to the nurses’ station to discuss it. To make a long story short, what I had told her numerous times, the nurses confirmed the same thoughts, even telling her of all the patients they have, they know she loves to eat, and makes sure she gets her meals. My mother said that was good, and now she knows… (give it a few seconds)…and she was back to voicing her concern of not getting anything to eat.

Frustration set in.

It is during this time I wanted the floor to open up so I could drop down and land in the driver’s side of my car so I could quickly drive away. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so I had to deal with this. Given a few moments, the nurses exhibited their gift of patience and continued to tell her the same thing repeatedly, and that seemed to calm her down a bit. I told her I had to leave (the location of a Zumba class was about three minutes away, and was calling my name, and I desperately needed it). Eventually, I left and got to the class. For the next two hours, I danced the frustration away through the lifting of my hands, dancing forwards and backwards, with my feet pounding on the dance floor, sweating frustration away…

Stress and not dealing with it can cause all sorts of health issues mentally as well as physically, and what help are we to those we care for if we are sick? So to all caregivers out there, please remember that we have to find an outlet to de-stress. Stress is going to occur, regardless of how we try to prevent it from happening. What counts and helps us is how we deal with stress and frustration, getting rid of its effects.

Oh, La La….

The title is part of the chorus of a song from Hillsong (Elevation Worship sings it a lot) called Let Go, a song that was ringing in my head as I woke up for the day:

So I let go, and I let love, Show me life like it's s'posed to be
An oasis, here awaits us, All the freedom I'll ever need
Now I'm alive, Oh La La, Oh La La, when I let go, then I find life
Oh La La, Oh La La, when I let go, then I find life

Today I decided to take my mother’s clothes I had cleaned to her, not staying long, but asking her how she was before I left. Initially, things were going okay until she shifted the conversation to a place I did not want to go: her bank account, something we ‘discussed’ many a time. The usual questions were asked (what bank is my monthly check going to? When I told her where it was, she stated she was told there were no branches nearby. So she asked again just where is her check.)

Having my own financial issues (being temporarily laid off as a federal government employee and receiving no pay check due to lack of a federal government budget), I truly was not in the mood to go yet another round of explaining to her she need not worry, as her check was going toward her nursing home expenses. As is usually the case, the more I tried to explain, the more it was not registering in my mother’s mind, which was the monthly check gets directly deposited in her checking account, I write a check to pay her monthly expenses, and that’s it. There are no other bills.

“Well, it seems like you never have a concern about this”, she responds, something she usually says, as though she is blaming me for not being worried like her about her finances. Not wanting to got down this familiar road yet again, I quickly told her good-bye and swiftly left.

Before I got to the nursing home, I heard a song entitled Never Alone, by Tori Kelly. I got so into the song I missed my turnoff and had to backtrack. When I got back to my car to drive home, I turned on the radio and heard the following lines from songs that were being played:

  • What a Friend we have in Jesus…
  • There ain’t nothin’ that’s gonna steal my joy
  • Holy Spirit You are welcome here…
  • In Your Presence I find peace of mind

As I continued to drive, something popped in my head; could it be that God was creatively speaking to me through song? Perhaps He was letting me know that because I have a friend in Him, I am never alone, all is okay, and I have a source to obtain the peace of mind that only He can give, encouraging me to let nothing steal my joy when situations (and sitiations) arise. I have to let it go, for when I do, that is when the oasis of life can be experienced.

Oh La La…

December 24, 2017 Addendum

I looked at my posting of last year this time entitled Knowing my blessings,  to compare how life is a year later from that date.

Last year, it seemed like life was in a turmoil. Living with my mother was a stressful time, to say the least. When nightfall came, it was like she became a different person, especially during the 1 to 3 am time frame, when I would try to sleep and she would come to yell at me. I finally realized (as my friends who had been through similar situations with their parents kept telling me) that it was time to move out, while at the same time finding a place for her to live, knowing she could no longer live by herself.

Year 2018 began with me finding a nursing home for her to live. Trying to get that concept in her mind took months not only for her to understand, but also for her to remember. Being in the caregiver role continues to teach me how to conduct myself when I talk to her. My answers have become one to two word responses. I understand that what once began three years ago of her asking me a question one week and asking it again the following week has now dwindled to her asking me the same question multiple times in the same conversation.   Though she has always told me down through the years I have the ‘patience of Job’, oftentimes I get frustrated when it comes to repeating things multiple times. But with time I have learned to keep even tempered while encouraging her in the process. Lately she calls me in the evening to make sure she is in the right place. She admits she gets scared at night, thinking she may get thrown out from the ‘hotel’, if I am coming to pick her up; eventually the thought comes to what I have told her before, that that is where she now lives and she is okay. The good thing is these conversations do not last long, and I know she just wants to be reassured that all is well. While she doesn’t like not being in control, I believe she also knows that above all I will do right by her, taking care of her finances, coming to visit her, taking her to church monthly, and bringing food to her, and surprisingly being chosen by her to do her laundry weekly, another task that’s been added to my caregiver list.

As for me, this year’s challenge regards getting healthy, knowing I can’t be sick as my mother relies on me to be there for her. Being there for her is really not an issue for me, but I acknowledge I have often felt drained from it all. It made me decide to first hire a trainer and take exercise classes weekly, see a counselor biweekly, and see a nutritionist monthly to help me eat better. As of the beginning of this month, I no longer see the counselor regularly, still in the gym with the trainer, and though it may not be much, I lost three pounds when I saw the nutritionist; what an encouragement that  was, but I must continue on.

As of this writing (being a federal government employee) my agency’s funding has run out, and Congress and the President must come up with a budget. While law has been voted upon to get paid for back wages, it looks like I and other federal workers will not be working for the week of Christmas and possibly for days after that. My finances are bleak presently.

So my comparison is this: While there are still challenges (many similar and others different between last year and this year), at the same time I remember how things were, and how things have been worked out, because of God’s supply source. I continue to trust God’s process, that He will supply my every need according to His riches. I hope you will trust His process for you as well.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Merry Christmas, Caregiver.

Inner P.S.S.S….

” But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
(1 Peter 5: 10)

It is interesting how you think you will react, versus the reality of what actually happens. It can bring the above scripture to life. 

My mother had been in a nursing home since  mid-January of this year, and it has taken this long for her to understand that the nursing home is where she lives, she no longer has her apartment, the furniture had been donated, and so on. At least that is what I thought. 

Over the weekend she spoke of how she felt she did not exist, because she did not have any of her important papers to prove to the front desk who she was. After think about it, perhaps I could bring some documents (as she requested) to look at. Perhaps that would make her feel like she had some sort of control over something. 

Then came last night.

My mother called me, wanting to talk to me about something. She told me she was in the ‘motel’, and was getting her papers together and about to pack, so she would be ready to go home. She asked me when I was coming to get her, and if I could bring some money so she could pay her bill. I let her talk for about ten minutes in hopes of allowing her to get it all out before I commented. She finished talking, and I told her the nursing home is where she would be living. 

“Permanently?”  she asked. 

Learning to reply in short, terse sentences, I said one word: “yes.” My answer was met with empty silence on the other end of the phone. 

Though this had been said many a time, she said she had no idea she would be living in a room with three women, and doing that permanently. She admitted at that moment she was so confused she didn’t know what to do, other than knowing there was no longer a need to pack; I responded with my usual “Yes.” 

During the conversation I realized how peaceful I inwardly felt. The usual frustration coupled with unspoken anger did not exist. The fact I did not try to correct her by saying the many times I had told her about  this issue didn’t seem to matter. The inner peace allowed me to listen, be patient while she talked, give my responses in a soft tone, and allow her enough time to get her words out, without interrupting her to get my answer in. 

Eventually the conversation concluded, with her saying that she “needed time to digest all of this”, and the phone call (and all the comments that go along with it) was finished. After the call and thinking about it, I was surprised at how relaxed I was, even after the call ended. There were no worries, no time of thinking how I could ‘fix her’, while at the same realizing I couldn’t, I turned off the lights and went to bed, saying a prayer for God to help her that night, and I readied myself for what turned out to be a good night’s sleep, something I haven’t had in a while. 

Is this how one feels when God settles and establishes you after a season of turmoil and (what appears to be endless) suffering?  Is this what being strengthened feels like? Is this the result of what happens when God does the settling on the inside? 

I wish I knew when this started. I wish I could describe how good it feels. What a difference compared to when all this started over three years ago, and all the anguish I felt, feeling like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. I by no means am taking any credit for this, the way I feel is too good for me to do so. The God of all grace has performed this. And the same can be done for you if you just ask. I am sure no one likes to suffer (I know it’s not a good experience), but there is a promise God provides that given some time, the grace of God will come and give you the PSSS you have been looking for: the perfection (restored, mended),establishment, (turning  resolutely in a certain direction), strengthening, and settling or grounding, all things that are needed. 

” To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Peter 5: 11)

The Movement of Stretched Out Faith

Ever try to say you will do something and it just doesn’t seem to work out? It causes one to find an answer to the question of why. God has been through sermons I’ve heard lately offered an answer to the  why question. Here are some biblical accounts in the ninth chapter of Matthew.

A certain ruler came to Jesus requesting his daughter be brought to life, and Jesus agreed to follow him to his house.

However, there was a woman who had been bleeding uncontrollably for twelve years. Her plan was to go to Jesus and touch his garment to get completely well. After she touched him, he turned around and saw her, telling her it was her faith that made her well.

Later in that same chapter, two blind men approached Jesus, pleading for his mercy. Jesus asked if they believed he could provide the answer they were looking for in giving them sight; their response was yes. After Jesus touch their eyes, he told them according to their faith, their sight would be restored.

Eventually with the ruler Jesus got to the ruler’s home where his daughter was, telling everyone that the girl was not dead, but asleep. He took her by the hand and she arose. being restored to life.

There is a common thread in each of these accounts:

  • there was a problem that needed to be solved. This was particularly true with the woman, she tried to solve it on many occasions, but it didn’t work. The fifth chapter of Mark gives more detail on her plight; after spending all her money on medical bills, she didn’t better, but only got worse. By that point, she was penniless.
  • Jairus was the ruler’s name whose daughter was sick, and he got word while trying to get Jesus to come to his house that his daughter was dead. He still had a problem that needed to be solved, and it appeared his plan of getting Jesus to come would not work. Yet Jesus said to Jairus not be afraid, but only believe.
  • the blind men thought if they could get to Jesus and ask for the type of mercy only He could give, they would receive their sight.

They all had a plan. Do you have one? Maybe that is why your Why question can’t be solved. This week I thought of all my solutions that seemed to fall through the cracks. I have had good ideas, and they  don’t seem to work. Perhaps that is the issue here: it is my plan, but with no power behind it.

In each of the above accounts, all had a plan, and it was to see Jesus, the One they thought would be the answer. But with that plan, they had a force of energy, a fuel that would enable the plan to work. If you read each of the accounts, Jesus told Jairus not to be afraid, only believe. He asked the blind men if they believed he was able to restore their sight. After the woman with the issue of blood was fully healed, Jesus told her it was her faith that cause her answer to become reality.

Neither of these people sat on the solution. Their faith that it could happen caused them to stretch out and enable the solution to come, moving from the realm of an idea into the atmosphere of reality, causing healing to come to themselves and to a father’s daughter.

What fuel do you have that causes the problem solving to become reality? Each person listed above had movement: the movement of faith that caused them to cover the problem in the energy of faith. they believed God can make all things possible. Utilize your faith fuel in prayer, asking for help like these people did. Stretching out may not be so scary after all. Why not give it a try? I can tell you this week I have, and while I am still one in progress, I see that stretching out has value, and I (and you) have to at least try to live life in this movement called faith…

Be Strengthenized…

 

Running Out of Me

Oil is needed for a car’s engine to run smoothly and not damage the various parts of it. It also needs gas as food, if you will, for the car to even move, would you agree? Can you think of a time when your car started acting strange? Lights came on, maybe even a sound to give you a warning that something was about to happen if you didn’t take care of what it was trying to tell you in car language. It was running out of energy; you forgot to go to the gas station to fuel up and bring the fuel gauge to point to full and not one or two ticks from being completely empty. And let’s not forget about seeing an auto smoking because it was running hot and needed something as simple as water or antifreeze to keep it cool in any type of weather, from hot to freezing temperatures.

The Car Doctor (a website I found online) says “Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It keeps the many components of the engine working efficiently, and it helps reduce the accumulation of varnish and carbon from collecting on the engine.” Hmmm, interesting.

Then I found out that a car is quite happy sitting still in someone’s garage for years. It is the owner (if he/she wants the car to move) to put gas in the car. Gas provides the energy that enables the car engine to get cranking, and through a series of combustible explosions when combined with air, the wheels start to move, and the driver can make it to its destination. Bottom line: gas is a car’s energy source.

What is your energy source? What happens when you, like your car, run out of gas? My day was one of frustrations. Physically, I was still depleted for being sick the day before; instead of working at my office desk I spent more time in the bathroom. Mentally, I was depleted regarding all the stressors of being a caregiver. Many issues had been resolved, but what remained were the daily dealings with a loved one who has dementia, and the constant disagreements and arguments that go along with it. Such interaction tends to mentally linger with me for a few days. Today, I realized something: I am running out of me.

I had to admit the energy had been zapped out of me. But why is that, or better yet, why am I allowing that to happen to me, when there is a place where I can ‘fuel up’ and keep my gauge on full, never being concerned about getting on empty? Jesus stated

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15: 4-6

To abide means to remain, continue, live in, not to depart. It is the Greek word meno, and its verb tense is without regard to past, present or future. It means to abide in this context is to never leave, but to remain one with Jesus. We are the branch of His vine, and it is the goal of the Father that we bear much fruit, if we continue with this abiding way of living life. What happens when we don’t? We are like a branch that has withered and is dry, not fruit-bearing, to the point that the branch is cut off and thrown out to the fire (Is this the equivalent of being burned out? Perhaps.) Dry to the point of no longer having any gas, any energy source. The engine no longer runs smoothly, it runs hot from the frustration of daily living, quickly running on empty. But the question remains:

Why?

Something else I had to realize: Living life on your own, in your own strength, is what causes the withered weariness of life. The decision to find energy from sources other than the True Vine produces nothing more than living a life of bare existence coupled with the stressors of life which become overwhelming. And being overwhelmed is not what God intended for us to handle. Instead, before the stressors of life become frustrating, and before we lose sleep over them, Jesus says abide in me.
As stated earlier, the word abide means to remain, which further implies being in a continuance state. In order for the car to continually run it must be filled with its energy source: gas. In order to keep its stressors of dust and grime from damaging the engine, oil changes must be done on a continual basis. For the believer Jesus states

“If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

This is so simple. Continue in God, remain in Him, with have His Word remain in you. That means we have to know what scripture says. God’s Word is chock full of promises we can fill our tank with to combat whatever battles we face. But how can we know if the knowledge is not known? Eventually, the weariness comes, and the dryness coupled with emptiness quickly enters, developing a hopelessness which eventually leaves us like the car with no gas that can’t move forward.
But when the living word of God can envelop and abide in us, we can ask Him whatever, and God promises such requests will be done.

Abide in Jesus
Allow God’s word to abide in you
You can ask whatever, and He will make sure it gets done

Your tank will be continuously filled, and your engine will have the spiritual oil (the Word of God) needed for living life. God never intended you to run out of yourself; He encourages us to run to Him and abide.

All is Well

(This is a long one folks…)

A few days earlier I asked Mom if she wanted to go to church. It was Mothers’ Day, and I thought it a good idea to get her out of the nursing home for some fresh air, and to see familiar faces from her church. As it turned out (we struck out many times before for this outing), she acknowledged to me she wanted to go, and that she knew she turned me down when I asked her many times before.

So this time it seemed like a go. I contacted the nurses and the social worker who all approved her going out. So far, so good.

Yesterday: I got her five pairs of shoes for her to choose from, though I wasn’t sure of the size, I just guessed. Purchased her stockings. Now all that was needed was an outfit. I had a lot of her clothes at my place, so I would choose two outfits and bring them for her to make a choice.

Today: I got myself ready, gathered all the things I needed, and placed them in the wheel chair along with flowers I got for her, and off I went, asking God for things to go well. In the past, we would either have an argument or she would say she had nothing to wear or dressy shoes for her feet. This time I had all that and two outfits she could wear. She called me last night to make sure when I coming, and then called me this morning to double-check the time when I would get to her.

Once there, things just went off without a hitch. She was ready to try on the clothes, picked out her outfit and shoes, I brought a coat of mine for her to wear as it was a little breezy outside. Before long, I signed the sign out sheet, she took her medicine and we were off! Getting her in the car was fine, and the traffic wasn’t bad. As we got to church, many saw her and were happy to see her; that happened throughout the church service, and her pastor acknowledge her presence. Service was nice, and a couple of times songs were sung regarding the phrases All is Well, and from the hymn It is Well (I now know Someone was trying to tell me something) . Once I got her in the car, she wanted to go to a restaurant she hadn’t been to in months to get some food to take out. Perfect, I thought, because time-wise we were doing good.

And then it happened…and it happened fast.

She asked about her credit card, then we talked about bills, then how much she owed to stay at the nursing home, all things we had talked about numerous times. Of course she spoke as though we never had these conversations. I knew what was coming next: I was stealing from her; I took her credit card to use on myself, I stole her money to use on myself, then the name-calling started. Her favorite name for me is “You jackass! God is going to get you for this!” And on and on it went. Once she started down this road, I just said “yeah, Mom, I’m a jackass”, hoping agreeing with her would calm her down: it didn’t.

By the time we got to the nursing home, she didn’t want me touching her, and she refused to get out the car, yelling “Police, police! Help me!” I know it was God who put the idea in my head to call upstairs for help. Not long the nurse came (another jackass), and assisted me. I got some God-giving strength and pulled her out of my car (as she was screaming and trying to bite me) and put her into the wheelchair. That was the bulk of the battle. We eventually got her to her room as she continued the name calling. Again, strength came to me as I got her in the home’s wheelchair so I could take mine home, the whole time I thought, What happened?!!! This is Mothers’ Day.

Though the nurse told me I was a good daughter and gave me a hug, assuring me it was not her but the disease, which I agreed, it didn’t help the way I felt inside. I felt I was losing the battle of not allowing stuff like this to get to me.

I left and turned on K-Love radio in my car, and as I drove away I heard these familiar words in the song that was playing:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?

This song could not have come at a better time than this. I cranked up the radio and sung along at the top of my lung capacity, fighting back tears in the process. I said to myself NO! I was not going to a restaurant and eat everything in sight (when my appetite was gone). NO! Though close to shopping centers I was not going to buy clothes and shoes. Not this time. 

Instead I went home, emptied my car of the wheelchair, at least happy to be home.

Regardless, All is Well, for God is with me, as He is with you

Happy Mothers’ Day to all.

 

A Gift? WHAT?!!!?

 

I started a five day devotional written by Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, and when I read Day 3 from his book There is More, he spoke of being gifted. But the one question he asked stayed in my mind, and had me questioning his question. He asked the reader if they see the people in their life as gifts. You know who I automatically thought of: my mother. In many ways she is: she brought me into the world, and took care of me as I grew up, and so on. But here lately, with her dementia illness, I was not so sure of the gift and what it truly was, in this case, dementia. What? Was the disease a gift? Let’s see…

  • How can a disease be a gift? For one, a disease brings with it opportunities to bring out inner strength you didn’t know you had. For me, it caused me to no longer rely on my mother, instead taking matters into my own hand. I had to make decisions on her behalf once the dementia came to the forefront and reared its ugly head. At first I had no idea what was happening or what I was doing, or how to handle things. But I discovered through this ‘gift’ an inner reservoir that helped me take forward steps to care for my mother.
  • The unique gift of disease a loved one has presents the caregiver with the opportunity of being a leader, a financial manager, a speaker representative, holding meetings with health care staff, and so on. I had to locate important documents, write letters when needed, and other things I did not expect to do. Truth be told, I do not like being in this position of having such responsibilities, and yet, these things have to be done.
  • I learned to be a counselor when talking to my mother. Just today she called me with her usual questions of where she was, and that I needed to come and pick her up and take her home. I had to be patient and listen to her concerns, and tell her she was already home, describing to her where she was, and that she was in the right place. I learned to keep my voice in an even tone , but at times I have to get loud to get my points across, and during this conversation, I had to tell her she was fine where she was. After all that, she told me she still didn’t know where she was…back to the drawing board. However, her nurse was with her, and I was able to tell her what I said over the phone, and the nurse understood my frustration  while also knowing the confused mental incapacity of my mother.

A gift.

The gift I opened in October 2015 when my mother called me very confused was the beginning of a developing atmosphere I never thought would be presented to me. But as I told a friend last night (who has been caregiver for at least seven of her relatives with dementia over the years, and is presently caring for two), God has entrusted us with the gift, knowing we can handle it, caring for it through the gifts and talents He has blessed us with.

What? A gift? Perhaps I have to reluctantly say yes…