Thursday, July 24, 2014

Things NOT to say to a caregiver.....

I debated on writing this entry for a while now but I really believe that it needs to be said.  Let's get the disclaimers out of the way first -This is not intended to hurt anyone's feelings or to appear selfish.  I realize that people do not mean any harm with their questions or comments but please THINK before you speak.  The caregiver is more than likely exhausted already due to the demands of this world we live in and your comments may just do more harm than good...I have opened my mouth before and said things that I know have caused damage and wish that I had just take a moment to compose my thoughts before speaking but was too late.

What you may not fully realize is that the caregiver's life has completed changed as well as the one who has the chronic illness.  You see the caregiver is now fully the financial supporter, the grocery buyer, the in-house doctor/nurse, the communicator with family and friends, the pharmacist, the maintenance overseer, the scheduler of all appointments, the chauffeur, etc....all the while the caregiver still is very much a person who must adjust to changes in their own life.  Sounds exhausting - doesnt it?  It is....

So things NOT to say to no certain order.

1.  What did you do to deserve this or you must be doing something wrong in your life?  Really - I have had this said to me.....Seriously, does anyone deserve to be sick?  Does anyone deserve to battle chronic illnesses day in and day out for years????  I dont believe so.    I quickly added that person who spoke this question to me to my prayer list cause they just dont get it.

2.  When do you think he will get well? - Chronic illnesses rarely get well.  They may have good days but rarely is there healing on this earth from them.  So when do I think he will get well is not a question that I can even afford to ponder for a second....It is not what I think that matters.

3.  Have you taken him to the doctor?  Our calendars are FULL of doctor appointments - specialists in all areas of illness.... Our lives are consumed by doctors and tests and medications and doctors and tests and medications.

4.  Have you prayed about it?  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a praying woman....If the prayers were a phone conversation recorded by the Lord - I would be way over on my daily limits.....Prayer is the first, middle and the last thing we do.  If prayers alone could heal him - he would be healed.

5.  Why dont you smile like you used too?  If you had any idea how much our lives have changed in the past few years - you would appreciate the smile that I am forcing through.  That carefree person is gone and the caretaker is here - this is the new me.  On a good day the smile will be real and on a bad day it will be forced but I know that in this world we will have troubles....weeping endures for the night and joy comes in the morning... consider it pure joy for the trials you are experiencing.  Accept the smile that I am giving you - it is the BEST one I can do.

Ok rant over - thanks for listening!   I spend my day trying to encourage him, myself and others that better days are coming - I do believe that - sure wish I could know when they would be here.  However, I am so very thankful for the blessings of my life - the good and the bad.  While this is not the way I planned my future time here on this earth - this is my reality for now.  I intend to do the best I can to be the love of his life, the wife he needs, the financial supporter, the communicator, the scheduler, the inhouse doctor/nurse, etc.....the caregiver for as long as the Lord has planned.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To Mom with all my love!

To Mom with all my love!

As Mother's Day approaches this weekend, I am overcome with emotions and thoughts that need to be expressed so to the blog I come.  Bear with me - this could run in so many different directions but I will try to stay focused.

I have lived a good life - I have been blessed beyond measure to have been born into the family that I was and by the grace of God I am in a position to give back a little.  Let me explain,  my mother married my  father right out of high school which ended in divorce and she soon  embarked on a life long journey of hard work with little education and three children to raise alone.  She worked hard - we did not go without.  She sacrificed so that we could have what we needed and she spent her entire life just raising us.  We moved from place to place and she tried to make each one a home.  About 33 years ago, together she and I bought her first house.  She succeeded in making that house a home with everything that she had in her.  It served its purpose - she continue to raise my brothers and me in it, watched after her grandchildren in it, and cared for many a cats in it.  Time has not been good to the neighborhood or the home and it became obvious that she would have to leave.

This Mothers Day will find her in her new home - ours.  You see, this weekend she will be moving in.  For the first time in her adult life, she will not have to worry about something breaking, having enough money to fix it, or dealing with loneliness and spending holidays alone.  While life will not be perfect for her, it will be much better than she has ever had.

Mom - thank you for staying the course and raising me! I can't change that Jesse and Robert are not here but I can promise that I won't leave (unless the Lord calls me home).  Thank you for loving me and giving me the chance to give back just a little of what you gave.  A new chapter starts this Mothers Day! 

Welcome Home!  I love you!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A sword will pierce your very soul.

As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”  Luke 2:35 

After several weeks of practicing in the role of Mary (mother of Jesus) for our Easter drama at church - The Mothers of the Cross - I am convinced that God was chiseling me throughout.   In the beginning, I worried that I could not portray well her as she searched for her son, watched in horror as he was beaten, cried till there were no more tears, the reality that her son was going to die and in the cruelest way possible, the humility and desperation that took her breath away.   But gradually my worries gave away to fear of disappointing the director (a lovely lady who penned the story late one night); fear of this not being believable to those watch; fear that I would be forever changed. As I went deeper into the character - questions flooded my mind.  How did she live through that?  At what point was she able to process what had happened?  Truly a sword pierced her soul just like it Simeon had said it would.

Each time we practiced together or as I did alone and the new questions and thoughts flooded my mind and the tears flowed freely.  The pain was tremendous and I was only playing a part....I can't explain it but it was  without a doubt the most difficult scene in my life.

Did I just say that?  The most difficult experience of my life???  Really??  I am no stranger to difficulties - growing up without a dad; poor; numerous bad decisions that led to relationships that I show not have been in; a broken marriage; Darryl's illness; Darryl's job loss;  loss of loved ones; watching ambulance pull out of the driveway; 7 hospitals stays in less than a year; etc, etc, etc.

Yes it was the most difficult experience of my life and yet it was the most profound one as well.  You see God was working on me throughout the entire process - tearing down walls that I had put up to prevent myself from getting hurt any longer.  You see there was NO WAY that I could portray Mary in that heart wrenching moment if I had the walls up protecting me from the pain. 

Last Sunday night at Wilton Baptist Church in front of a packed crowd - the pain was real, the tears were real, the desperation was real, the soul piercing was real and for the first time in my life I truly understood pain.

Now my pain was a direct result of my choices, my sins, my human faults  but Jesus' pain was simply because He loved me (and you) enough to die for us.  Plain and simple - horrible conditions and excruciating  to watch - He loved us enough to be the sacrifice to atone for our sins...

He suffered, bled, and died.... but three days later HE ROSE!  Thank you Jesus for your love for me and for your willingness to die and rise again for me!

I am forever changed!

For those that might be interested in is the link to the video.  The Mothers of the Cross



Thursday, March 20, 2014

God is good all the time.... even when it hurts!

The older I get the more I realize how short our time is here.  Now I am not saying anything that anyone else has not said before but WOW - life truly is but a vapor!  Death hurts, mourning hurts, illnesses hurt, injustice hurts but God is GOOD all the time.

Today, my uncle stepped his final step into glory.  His battle over the last few months has been a hard one and I am thankful for a merciful God who made his transition a peaceful one.  I can only imagine the joy that he felt when he was restored to healthy and made his way to see our Lord and then his wife, and his mother and dad....Oh the tears of joy he must be experiencing is almost beyond my comprehension.

It is those who are left behind that most now deal with the overwhelming what-if, the empty chair at holiday dinners, the memories, the pain of losing someone you love.  Our family has not experienced death much as we don't really have a large family so we don't have a lot of practice letting go of those we cherish.

My heart is breaking for his son and wife who will now have to deal with the reality of not getting here in time and being able to say physically say goodbye.  For my aunt who has been his caretaker and overseer for last few months, tears flow freely.

My heart is breaking for my mother( the oldest of the three) is an amazing woman - She has watched as her dad and mom were buried and now will stay strong for her brother to take his place by them.  No one has prayed for my uncle more these last few months than my mom.  She is grieving in all kinds of ways - two sons that she has not seen in years (and may never see again) and a lifestyle change of leaving her home of 30+ years is right around the corner.

And for the rest of us - holding on to our memories and realizing that life is but a vapor - live love and laugh.  But most of all, if you believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as our your Lord and savior - you too can rest in the knowledge that God is good all the time and one day you will be reunited with your loved ones who believed the same thing!

This is perhaps the last photo taken of him....this was good day! Rest in peace Uncle Nathan - we love you and we miss you but we will see you again soon!