On a Couple of Tips for Caregiving

When you are taking care of someone you love or otherwise, please remember that the person is ill. That seems simple enough but mentally if you have a weakness in there, you will tend to take things personally. An ill person is usually plagued by some level of pride which makes them angry and frustrated that they need help. Also, they may have some mental issues which make lashing out verbally common at times. Truth is, they don’t realize they are doing it. Sometimes they are really echos of harshness they encountered or experienced previously, many moons ago. Be respectful. If nothing else, smile and wave. The second thing to always keep in mind is that it is usually a thankless job. You are working for the Lord and not for man. It is the Lord you serve. Your reward comes later. Now is the work. I always bear this in mind. I work for God not man. It is easier to work for God, He give you renewed strength. You can easily burn out if you do not understand this truth. God provides strength, no one else. No one else is bigger than the strain, larger than the problem, peaceful beyond measure. God is it. Renew from Him. So review: 1. Remember the person is I’ll and do not take things personally and 2. You are working for God and not man and your reward comes later, work now. God is the source n of strength. Now smile, child of God, and take a hot Epsom salt bubble bath and listen to some Bible verses for a boost. You are invaluable! ❤

Taking Breaks

I’ve had a lot going on lately, so please forgive my writing absence for a bit. I want to share something I learned recently. Sometimes we need a break. Seems simple, straightforward, simplistic. Heck, most people already know that, probably you too. But to me, it is a new revelation. A friend really helped me with this concept. You see, I am a driver. I go, I work, I do, I accomplish, I motivate, I encourage, I help, I support. All of these involve movement, motion, continuation. Maybe it is a combination of being brought up by a driver, a worker. Maybe it is my inner drive. Who knows. Really isn’t important, it is what I have to work with. So, I feel almost guilty of some type of sin if I take breaks. When I worked in any job I have ever had, I rarely took breaks, even to eat. I feel guilty to take a break when I can do more. I can do it so I think I should do it. What I have found recently is that I need to take breaks from things sometimes. And it is actually healthy to do so. I took five or six days off of writing, took a break. I didn’t go visit my Daddy at the nursing home today or yesterday, took a break. I didn’t walk my mom’s dog in the last few weeks, took a break. And all this is good because some things I can’t take breaks from, like being a mom to my kids. And they are requiring more care at the moment so I can devote more time to them if I take breaks from something else. Breaks or breathers do not say you will never do that again or that you are turning your back on it. But when life is pressing from all sides, something has to give. And if you don’t make it give, don’t control what gives (like decide to let go of something that can take care of itself for a bit), the pressures and stresses just might give you a health crisis or nervous breakdown. Also, I have found it next to impossible to have time alone with God when you are bombarded on all side with things other people should really be taking care of themselves in many instances. And without giving yourself this peace time, fuel time, you will burn out, run down, and then you are no good to anyone. So breaks are beneficial sometimes. Simplifying life is a good idea and some tasks you have worn on your shoulders may actually no longer be necessary.

Doggie Visits for Daddy

Today my kids and I brought Lucy (my Dad’s little gray yorkiepoo) in to visit him in the nursing home. It had been a week or more since we did so. The dog did not greet Dad, who had been her favorite place to be when he lived at home. She had to be held on the bed for him to pet and still then would not look at him. She looked away, very uncomfortable and very not wanting to be there. And my mind wonders whether dogs know something we don’t know or sense something we don’t sense or if it is a matter of him just smelling different in a different environment. And my mind races to wonder at these things. And because of this nonwelcome, my dad ended up wiping a tear away and felt she rejected him or didn’t remember him. His sadness was more than I could bear. And on top of trying to work with this scenario, my mom was unknowingly demanding my attention to serve her and take care of what she wanted. So, I smiled my best smile and kissed Daddy and took Lucy home, knowing that I would not be repeating such a visit that caused more sadness than happiness. And the pictures I brought him of Lucy will be a better happier memory for him than her presence. Sometimes empathy dictates action and something which sounds good on paper does not work well in life. And happiness should be emphasized in the last days, months of life and not press upon it that which brings grief. So, out of love for my Dad, Lucy will remain home. Sometimes, as with my children, you shelter those you love from harm sometimes. Wisdom is knowing when to do this. And I long to be wise and hope this is the trait I am using in this decision. I know my Dad better than anyone but Aunt Barb, his sister, and were he still of his full mind, he would decide this for me if our roles were reversed. Sometimes loving someone best is not forcing their hand to accept that which you think is best versus that which is indeed best for them. It is unwise and unloving and impractical to push a rope. You may momentarily win at something, feel good for a moment, and if you weren’t paying attention may think you were doing the right thing, but right for you may not be right for them. I am not talking about right versus wrong, which line should not be blurred, but right according to your prescription versus what the person you are caring for actually needs. My Dad needs peace and calm and love and visits that promote these things. Sadness is not one of those things. Lucy is precious to him and always will be but sharing her memory when she cuddled him and slept on his bed may very well be the best time with her. Moral: what is best for you is not necessarily the best for someone you are caring for. Taking care of them implies you are looking to their best interest and not your own. So, there it is. And I will continue to wonder at Lucy’s bizarre reaction and what that means, realizing that dogs understand many things we do not in ways they can only communicate to us through their behavior. My Dad taught me that.

The Nursing Home

Dad has been accepted into Palm Terrace’s full term memory care facility for the remainder of his days on this planet. I meet this news with mixed feelings. Obviously I want him home because he is my Daddy and I love him and know he wants to be home. On the flip side, my lower back right now is shooting remembrances to me that it is growing increasingly difficult for me to care for him at home and I cannot live there and take care of him day and night. So, he will be looked after there and I will make frequent visits at various time to ensure that. Also, he is at the same facility he had rehabbed after his initial stroke, so they know me and more importantly they know him. So if he has to be away from his home he loves and his doggy he loves, he will know he is still loved and safe and I will bring his doggie in to visit when I go there. The weight of grief is bound in the mere fact of his decline in health, whereupon it is increasingly difficult to remember that this man while talking to neighbors on the lawn would hold one arm out for me to swing on for a quarter of an hour or more without breaking a sweat. This man who patiently taught this clumsy girl to ride a bike is the same who now can’t walk. This man who could sing so angelically can now barely speak. I am realizing that my process of grief is not confined to a wherabouts. And the other crazy going on in life and my friends’ lives compounds this grief and fries it up nice in a pan with a side of exhaustion. So, I am calling this season of life “Grief & Reef” because I have given myself up to the flow of grief mixed with the sheer blessing and beauty of new things happening in life alongside, like you are drowning in despair but look under the water and see a beautiful colorful reef with life. So things are leaving but things are coming too and the memories of a house filled with family celebrations with the absolutely best father God ever made are in the reef part. I can still see the beauty in my Daddy. I can still remember him bringing me and Tina home the perfect stuffed boodles (bear/poodle mixes) ever made that he picked out himself just because he loved us. And this shopping excursion in between a night shift job with overtime and the day farming. Just one example of his love. I would call home after moving away, and his first questions were always, “You need any money? You need anything?” I rarely ever needed his help but always loved that he asked me. I remember him giving someone from church a car because they needed one and “We only need one.” This was my Daddy. It still is. So, during my Grief and Reef time now, I will be as diligent as I can to focus on the life of the reef and save the grief for a coming storm. It is what has to happen.

Changes Amidst Changes and Nursing Homes

The coffee maker broke this morning. Coffee would have helped today. It was an omen of sorts if you believe in that sort of thing. If not, no matter, it was the first change I would be met with that hurt a little. The second change far outweighed the first in sheer horribleness. My mom presented me with the news that she could no longer care for my Daddy at home with my help as he is bed ridden now and dementia is worse. So, he will be going into Palm Terrace dementia ward pretty soon and will be in a place he doesn’t know with people he doesn’t know. I love this man. This man is largely why I am me and by far the person in life who supported me and believed in me. My sister is equally upset and I get it. I feel her pain as it must be worse far away, feeling like Daddy is crumbling and will not be as comfortable with his dog sleeping at night on his bed. Change isn’t always good. Loss is loss and sometimes sadness comes in the morning and not just joy. Sometimes loss after loss happens and there is nothing you can do about it. Sometimes there is just no one there to hug you and let you know it will be all right. Changes and loss can sometimes make you feel more alone than you really are. God is there, I know. I just wish God had a couple of real arms sometimes not just spirit ones. It would help me cry better. The people who are supposed to be His arms here on earth sometimes really suck at their jobs. And sometimes they just can’t be there because people are so preoccupied and busy and obligated elsewhere. All of this combines to make a very bad day, a day of bad changes, a day of loss upon loss. There is hope, and I have faith that tomorrow will give me a chance to discover that hope. In the meanwhile, tomorrow I care for my Daddy at home for one of the few remaining opportunities and will make sure he has a good morning while I am there. I will make him smile and laugh as my heart breaks. He will not know it. He will be happy and this will help me find happiness in that fact. Maybe that is my hope.