Saturday, March 15, 2014

Never Alone

I am sitting here, knowing I ought to blog, and uncertain what to write.  This past week has been one of the most emotional, difficult times I've ever experienced, and yet. I am still standing.

I have been brought to my knees over and over again throughout my life.  What adult hasn't?  We all have "stuff", we all experience grief, sorrow, and very real pain in this life.  Some seem to glide through with a little less, some have an extra dose.  Some deal at the surface level, while others can't help but see and feel all the nuances which causes a kind of awareness that can have one keening with sensory overload in such situations as we are going through right now.

However, God is present everywhere, and glimpses have been seen not just through the greater miracle that mom made it through this awful experience, but the Spirit has carried through this entire situation in ways many might not have eyes to see.  One can dwell on the horror of an event such as this (and believe me, I am intentionally diverting my mind away from what happened and trying to just deal with the aftermath the best I can.  To do otherwise would destroy me.), or one can see Light and Goodness, which is what I am working very hard to do this night.

1)  Emails of love, daily news, and believe it or of new puppies and dissected eyeballs call my mind and heart back home, to a place of peace and warmth.  It has helped to hear the mundane news of the day, to see my friends life from afar as good things happen to them, and to see the kid's experiences shared as other spend time with them, then share the simple things.

2)  "Rehab" for mom is a place which is 1/2 nursing home, 1/2 short term skilled nursing care.  Over and over again I see God's hand being placed on an elderly shoulder as a caretaker says, "OK sweetheart, let's get you into bed and cover you up for the night." or as tonight with my own mom, "You are NOT bothering us when you ask to be helped to the restroom in the middle of the night, it is our job to serve you and you need to just ask and we are right here to help you.  If someone doesn't want to do that, then they need to go get another job.  We really care about you."

3)  Four oldsters in wheelchairs, sitting out front soaking in the perfect weather and fragrant scent of star jasmine and lantana.  They might be talking about incontinence, dreary long and dreadful days, and painful physical therapy, but all stop and wear wide grins when an off duty caretaker comes to work toting along her 3 year old daughter.  All stop to admire the hummingbird hovering overhead.  All stop to savor this beautiful day that God is offering, despite their current circumstances.

4)  One man, here 17 months with repeated back surgery and recovery, shares the secret..."You just have to surrender yourself to it,  there is no alternative, and letting go makes it easier."

5)  An email...or two...or three...that say things like "I miss you and love you with every inch of my body, Mom", or " I know that you are facing a wall right now and that you are working very hard to take care of  Alice, but I too know that you have a loving family ready to support through every step of the way. I MISS OUR DAILY HUGS."

6) A long distance phone call in which you are reassured that, "There is nothing more important I could be doing than talking with you right now...nothing.", and then feeling safe enough to sigh and cry with someone who totally gets you.

7)  Watching healing occur right before your eyes, slow, and gradual, but resurrection of any sort is breathtaking.

8)   Witnessing care and concern from others whose immediate circumstances are as bad or worse than someone else's.  Bet you didn't think Jesus could come cloaked in stained sweat clothes or tattered robes and nightgowns, sometimes speaking in jibberish as he walks down the halls of a nursing home.

9)  The words of your own mom offering a comforting glimpse of the hereafter as she explains, "Well, if that is what death is like, then it isn't much to be scared of.  In fact, it was kind of nice."

10)  The childlike quality that inhabits many of these older folks, whose independence has been taken from them by either physical or mental infirmity.  God is in there, if you just look.

It is scary, all of it.  We all want to turn our heads the other direction,. to unsee the halls lined with slumped over gray heads.  But look...stop and really look...yes, even in this place God is present, in full force.

The emotions of this week have been downright awful.  I am lonely in a unique way, the kind that comes from being the sole person in the position of making decisions in a situation like this.  I am lonely because I miss my family deeply.  Heck, I am lonely because I miss Sunny, the ever peeing, ever licking dog. I am lonely because this is all so hard and there is no one else to share it with.

But I am not alone, never truly alone...


Anonymous said...

Up very early with flu like aches, reading news and blogs. Your thoughts and observations bring back many emotions and memories, as I "relive" the difficult months/yr I spent helping settle my parents after a series of illness, hospitalizations, dementia, and moving them from their home of 53yrs to assisted living...them struggling with adjustments and acceptance. Knowing in our heads that one day we might be caring for our aging parents is still not the same as the daily realization of needing to make difficult, heart wrenching decisions about that care. I too have felt so alone, yet had a sister to consult with from afar and a wonderful, supportive husband and kids to encourage me to continue spending the time away from home that I needed in order to get them settled and insure their safe care. Hearing others through the years talk of these kind of decisions they were needing to make for their own parents was also not the same as finally having to deal with such things myself. When I would leave them, after they were safely in assisted living, but still unsettled about having to be there, I would cry nearly all the way home, wondering, had I done the right thing, should I be leaving or staying? Wishing my brother was alive to bounce ideas off of and to take some of the burden from me, as well as just missing life as it always had parents living the parent role and being self-reliant. In my grief over all the losses, I would often tell myself that if he could, my brother would tell me, "You're doing a good job, Nance." More tears, of course, as I missed having him in my life to actually say it. Being thankful all four of our parents had, up to this time, had relatively good health and been a part of our family's lives, unlike my nieces and nephews without either parent so early in their own lives. I too saw God at work in the circumstances, giving me strength and providing it through other family and friends, and reminding me of my many blessings. Just to again let you know that I can do identify with some of these things you are going through. This is a season. And through the emotional difficulties of it, also came precious moments of drawing closer to my sister and parents, through even difficult circumstances. The emotional journey of seeing my parents so vulnerable and in need of my help and encouragement. How good to be able to return some "care", as they as parents had given me. Be encouraged and strengthened by the Lord and by your wonderful and loving family and friends.
Nancy in the Midwest

Lorraine said...

What wonderful comments from Nancy in the Midwest. Still praying for you, your Mom and your precious family. God Bless you all - Lorraine UK, and a long time blog reader. In fact, I've been reading your blog since you started it.