So today, I visited my Daddy as is my custom for 2 years now, as that is how long they have lived here and that is how long he has been sick. I am so thankful that I have been able to care for my daddy in his home as long as he could be there now in his new home in the nursing home where he can get 24 hour care. But today, for the first time ever, I was met with blank, empty eyes that did not know who I was. Dementia is a horrible disease and I knew this was coming, seeing it in so many patients and understanding the clinical aspects of it, syptoms, knowledge, I know more about this hateful disease than most people do. But. All my head knowledge flew out the window when my hero of my life, my sweet Daddy, my champion and the only man on the planet who has not betrayed me in some way, this man did not know me, his baby. It is rare that my emotions get the better of me. But I can tell you I am a mess. To my closest loves, I rarely unleash my heart, it is difficult for me because I feel so strongly and most cannot handle that. But. Right now, if I don’t let this sadness out of my heart, I may break under its strength. All day around people, no matter where I went, people were, good people, some amazing people that help, my sisters, my best friend, my children, all are amazingly important to me and helped so much but this therapy of screaming to the world in text that I thought I was ready for my Daddy to go to heaven but I am not. It about killed me that he diidn’t know me. My champion. Who will be my champion? Who could love me like that? No one can. I am not lovable enough for anyone else on the planet to love me like he has my whole life. I have been so fortunate to have such a Daddy. I have not always been the best daughter but he never stopped loving me so much that it gave me wings. I could never have accomplished all I have in life without his support and knowing he was there loving me, my hero. A girl needs a hero who she knows she can run to if it doesn’t work out and just be loved and taken in and held so tightly that no harm can get in. Why does this disease toy with us? It is a horrible thing. I lose him in seconds, in minutes, and it is not what it was. My base of support is crumbling and I am a lost little girl holding out her hand for her Daddy and Daddy can’t come this time. He is lost in his mind. He is fading away. And I am left here to watch him trail off. My tears flow as I write, my nose runs, my heart physically hurts me. Torture would be easier to take. Physical abuse I could handle better than this. This is a slow shredding of my heart. And I write this down not to torture you also but to voice words for pain that I cannot say the words to. My mouth cannot say but my fingers are my voice. Maybe you have such pain for whatever reason. Voice it somehow. It has to get out of your mind. It has to leave your body somehow or it consumes and becomes a stronghold or rift in the balance or change in your psyche. How you see the world can change if it stays in there. My tears are slowing as I type. I am realizing that the release of the emotion is as important as the capturing of them. Water flows in and must flow out. There must be balance. Where there is balance, the catcher is not thrown down when the next pitch comes in. And I realize that I still am loved. My support structure may no longer be one man, my Daddy, buuut it is many friends and family members and my love and those who love me and have shown such amazing support during this difficult time. And please continue praying as my mom has surgery to remove her breast cancer as well during all this. Life keeps going. It changes. When I was young, I thought everything adults did was mundane and repetitive and boring. HA!! I could use a little boredom right now. I wish I had been right. lol Laughter heals. I firmly believe that, there is proof. So, I will not live here, though I am definitely here for a visit with grief. I will visit but I will not live here. Dear God, please grant a fast transition through it!
Nothing in this world has given me greater joy and sheer madness, respectively, as being a Mother. Neither child has called me that. I have been “Mommy”, “Mom” and “Momma”. And for only having two living children, believe me I have been called these a lot. I think they call out “Mom” in place of breathing sometimes. And the madness, I could talk about the madness, the exhileration of two years of sleeplessness and children deciding no more naptime since they were 2 and a half. Really? Yes. And days of not having a vocal conversation with a read adult other than myself. And social craziness, I will not even go there this time. And there are the everything taking about twenty times as long because of the amount of luggage needed for the rascals to do anything at all. Five minute trip to the store is 20 minutes. Being the pack mule for the entire nation when hiking or going for walks or to the park. Their joy at going somewhere you dropped your world to take them and then guilt of feeling like a meany butt when told they have to actually return home that day after their huge fun. And can I please use the bathroom alone? Is that too much to ask? Can I breathe a breath of my own in a day? That and more is the crazy of my Momminess. That is the price you pay for the next part. The joy. The absolute pure joy of waking up and seeing the little people your children are becoming and are born to be and just thanking God for the opportunity to have so much time with these amazing little people God made. God made them inside my tummy, using building blocks of my and their dad’s DNA and adding such amazing little gifts and qualities all their own to make them just pleasurable to behold. It is a joyful honor to be their Momma. And I know the crazy only lasts, well, forever, but the joy does too. And everything in life has to be a balance for it to work right. And I will gladly take crazy to have joy and pride in playing a role in bringing up the absolutely most amazing little future parents/workers/spouses/lovers/helpers/God worshippers. It is incredible to think about. These people I am helping to develop into the best they can be and the love I have for them is powerful, powerful enough to create energy when there is none left, to instill hope when I am stifled, to pour love from me when I thought I had given the last of it, to freshen the soul when it had been weighed down. What is more valuable than that?
I re-read this masterpiece of a book, The Little Engine That Could, to my 5 year old daughter. The beautiful thing about children is that quite often things are new to them if not revisited in a month or two or a year even. The pictures are endearing and colorful, the story is poignant and inspiring, the flow of the phrasing is nice and conversational and it is made for children who are intelligent. Such a sweet book lifts the heart and provides hope to children who read it and parents who read it. For you see, we parents are confronted with this reality every day also. There are always a lot of people looking down their nose and judging us based on appearance or how quiet we can keep our children in social situations. We are around people who are so wrapped up in themselves that they will not stop to visit or help or anything. And the last person to come along may not be the sleekest or most powerful or best person but they can sure help get you over the hump, over the hill. And over the hill is accomplishment. Nothing is accomplished without a fair amount of work and sometimes good happens with help.
I am helping take care of my parents now. For the most part they are very thankful for the help. However, there are times like tonight when they are insulting to me or assuming that I will come help at their whim despite my family’s needs and schedule. There are times I feel I am robbing my children of aspects of their childhood or robbing myself and my husband of time we could be spending together. And I thought, as times go by they will need more and expect more and become more insulting and demanding and then critical of how I am caring for them. So, here I am contemplating my response to these issues of caretaking that I figured would happen but are starting to happen now. Knowing things will go a certain way is one thing and them actually happening is quite another. So, through circumstances that simply are, I have decided that I will do everything I can do that does not interfere with the health of my family and leave the rest in God’s capable hands. I am called to serve God and not people, so if that is my focus, I will not be surprised or hurt when my service is not met with applause or trophies for service well done. Those who serve the King are honored to do so. Serving the King consistently will earn you the lifetime of service award, a room with a view of glory. So, what I have determined to do is to train my focus. I must continue to focus on God as my reason for serving, my King that I am really serving. So, that is my strategy and game plan and God will help me focus on Him. And that is very cool.
Having children later in life and being married to an man with grown children allowed for some strange phenomenon. One is that I have a 4 year old daughter at the same time as a 5 month old granddaughter. Another big one is that I have a young family to care for, a granddaughter to help care for and my parents to care for all at the same time. I am certainly not complaining though, because although I often have to employ my superhero cape and accomplish what I know only God could actually accomplish through me, my children are being trained how to balance things and care for someone. They know their grandparents now very well because of seeing them so much. They are also learning the art of giving back and not just taking. I had thirty years of taking care of myself with yes work and school but also liberties of going to the movies at the spur of the moment or long bubble baths or oil painting or reading. Ahh, just give me a moment of bliss just thinking about all that free time! However, that was then and this is now. Anything done must be scheduled and cleared with those I am caring for. A movie- is that what they still call them?- must be preplanned and with an available and very expensive babysitter (they make a fortune now!). Bubble what? Now, these things are sacrificed, we take one for the team quite often, however, there is One who took one for us a while back and His sacrifice made the world of difference to me and us all. So when we do what is right and sacrifice ourselves a bit for others, we honor Christ who sacrificed Himself for us. We are always working and serving for Him and not really anyone else. If I keep that perspective along with practical disciplines of understanding which is a needed help and which is a lazy help (which I pray for wisdom and understanding to tell the difference), I remain both sane and balanced. However, when I slip from this strict discipline, I very quickly fall out of balance and am a wreck. This tells me that when we discipline ourselves to keep our focus on God and use the wisdom and understanding He gives generously and He will bless by providing strength and balance for every day. He is faithful to reward obedience and does so regularly. And if you are jealous of all my opportunities to serve, your time will come soon or you can adopt someone to care for right now. The blessings will pour into your very busy life if you do! 🙂