Our first Wednesday Woman is a beautiful lady from the great state of Florida (a place we all wish we were about now during this Polar Vortex!) She is a powerful speaker who changes lives with the words from her heart. There are so many of us who are caring for several generations and often we find ourselves in situations just like the one Melanie will share with us. We need to give ourselves grace in the midst of this journey.
Fighting With Forks
January 4, 2014
(Please Note: What I’m sharing is the current state of affairs in my life and home. It has no bearing on my love for my dad. I love him very much. But if you’ve never cared for a parent in your home, you may not understand my perspective. We all have one. This is mine. Life is not all sunshine and roses.)
Thursday night I had a fight with the forks.
For eight months my dad has been living with us. Without a plan in place, we invited him to stay with us after Mom passed. After retirement a few years ago, they moved to Mississippi. We live in Florida. I understand the grieving process so talk of future plans and present boundaries (What are those?!) were put on hold to allow the first months of grief to take its course.
It’s been very difficult. Challenging. Hard. Confusing. Disheartening. Guilt-inducing.
Buried issues from my childhood have surfaced. (We all have those, right?) The past has revisited my heart and insisted on a haunting smack dab in the middle of my present.
Meanwhile I’ve prayed, cried and recited Galatians 5:22-23. I’ve tried to change “me” since I can’t change anyone else – this I know.
On December 9th, things got harder. Dad was in a car accident and fractured three vertebrae. He’s in a neck brace for 6 weeks and a clam shell back brace for 3 months. I hate it for him. I feel badly for him. He has to depend on me to do many things for him. It’s a tough row to hoe for both of us – for all of us.
The hospital discharged him to my care.
I am his rehab facility.
It was hard before; it’s harder now. It was challenging before; it’s more challenging now. My personal life and home have been greatly affected. I’ve tried to change myself even more to adapt and have a better attitude, a cheerier response, and a kinder word. I fail often. I fail every day.
(Hey, if you want my dad’s perspective, and I’m quite sure he has one, ask HIM! This is my place to write and process MY life.)
For his sake far more than mine, I hope his fractured vertebrae heal properly and quickly. I pleaded for a hospital bed for his room. Thankfully, it was approved. It makes it easier on him and me to put the back brace on and help him bathe and dress. I have a new morning routine that takes precedence over my former one (that ensued 8 months ago and just got more complicated still).
It’s noisier with a TV on 24/7. He enjoys the news and sports. I guess his nightly sleeping pill kicks in before he pushes the power button on his remote. We should get one with a timer, huh?
But the atmosphere in my home is not what I’d prefer.
I’m tense, tired and resigned. I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and the face I see is not pleasant. It frowns. A lot. I must change that.
Even still, I know that like so many other life challenges we’ve faced, this current situation is temporary. But just how long is “temporary”?
God with us…
Even in the noise and confusion and “issues.”
Even when I make endless calls due to his out of network insurance coverage.
Even when I “lose it” after a particularly trying day on a Thursday and have a fight with some dirty forks – Emmanuel.
Tears were streaming hot and heavy as I attempted to load the dishwasher. When with shaking hands I couldn’t snap the silverware caddy in place, I ended up throwing the knives, forks and spoons on the kitchen floor and dashing out the backdoor to sit and cry in the rain.
At least I didn’t break my favorite plates. My hands were on them. The thought was there. In a flash I envisioned the vintage white plates with single dogwood shattered on the tile floor. But I didn’t do it. I released my hands from them. I didn’t break them. They’re still whole.
And I am determined that I will not let all of this break me down permanently. I want to remain whole.
I just need a plan. And prayer.
In the meantime if you see me mumbling to myself but can’t quite hear my voice, read my lips:
If I can keep my “fruit” whole and the fruit flies from devouring it, even if when I temporarily “lose” it, I win.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.