I Don’t Think I Can

559598_4571056396354_595701397_n (2)

I sit here and I read everyone getting up on their hind legs and telling everyone else what they want them to do, they want them to stay home. They want to flatten the curve, that it isn’t that hard, that our grandparents had to go to war and we only have to “go to couch”…I am here to tell you it is that hard.

For most of my younger life I lived this life of quarantine. My mother had 4 heart attacks before I was 16 and she never drove. My father traveled for work and was not home much until after I started school, so I was home all the time with her. My mom tried really hard, but she was confined to a bed in the living room off and on as I grew up. She taught me how to make paper dolls and I learned really well how to play by myself. I had some good memories, but I think it is a big part of why I am an introvert. I escaped into books and tried to copy how crafty she was, but it was lonely.

I heard my parents argue and worry about how they were going to pay the bills because my mom was sick or something went wrong with the car and my dad was the only one working. I was young, but some things just imprint on you.

Granted there were times where I played with friends and we went places (but only when my dad was home). Yet my world was pretty small. So now here we are almost 40 years later and we are being forced to quarantine in our homes. We will eventually not be able to pay our bills, we will not have arrested the virus by these actions (strictly my opinion and you are welcome to disagree if you like, but do so politely.  I will delete nastiness.) and we haven’t gained anymore than we should have just being the people that Christ has called us to be.

I sit here and I guess I begin to revert to that little kid who sometimes felt trapped in her own home. I hear people who can work from home calling it not such a big deal (yeah you, the one telecommuting……you still get a paycheck) and I remember not being able to do things because we didn’t have enough money or I couldn’t go because my mom didn’t drive and my dad was away so someone had to be home with mom.

I think to some degree this is the worst I have handled anything. I don’t want to think about your feelings because I can’t get a handle on mine. I don’t want to hear one more time about social distancing or sheltering in place because that was my life for so long. I absolutely do not hate my mom for her illness, but I am really beginning to not like a lot of other people in the present.

I’ll be over here and it’s best to leave me alone because I don’t think I can……….

Unsettled

stress-441461_1920

Where do I start? I don’t know. I am still shook about the nasty message I got last night. Someone I not seen or heard from in forever storms back in and begins to berate me? Yeah, that is not sitting well with my soul. My inclination is to school them, publicly on a few things, but that is my flesh talking. I am sitting here pouting because the Holy Spirit has a restraining hand on my typing. It would not be profitable, but it sure would feel good.

I think in this life there are times that we have to create family because our own flesh and blood are not who we need in our lives to be content. I was rarely content when interacting with ANY of my flesh and blood family. Yes, some of my thoughts and opinions were colored by my parents and how they felt, but there were actions and deeds that tinted how I perceived things. There are most definitely three sides to every story and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. My dad is a good man. He is patient, but most definitely aloof. My mom had an acerbic tongue and could cut you off at the knees, but she also had soft heart. Much like our home, when my dad would have rather not connected with his family, my mom was the one who prompted him to reach out. There were some to whom I know my dad was close, because it was never about the old feuds, it was just about love. Now he is just trying to keep his head above water caring for a wife who is leaving us piece by piece.

I need to let go of the indignation and the need to just “let it rip”, it is not what needs to be done. I long ago forgave the players, now I am being forced to let it go again. I was told that I was prayed for and I won’t turn down prayer, however, I too will pray, yet it is prayer to change how I see this person and others, so that I can be settled in my soul.

Haters Gonna Hate

fallow-deer-3641371_1920

Yes, I know it’s very late and yet here I am writing. I am wide awake because I chose to check my email after awaking to a noise and received a nastygram on this blog from someone I haven’t heard from in years. Surprise, it was from “family”.

The comment will be deleted because I am not going to entertain that kind of nonsense after addressing it once, here….. No matter how you believe things to be, you don’t get to tell others what they have experienced is wrong, you didn’t/don’t live their life and from your end things probably looked a lot different, however, you don’t get to negate their experience just because you don’t like it.

You don’t get to sneak around peeking in from the outside and pass judgement on them if you haven’t spoken to or contacted them in years (like close to 30). You don’t get to try and chastise them now when you have been MIA. You also don’t tell someone that you have prayed for them and then and then backhand them in the next sentence. You can try, but in my experience that usually leads to dirty laundry being aired.

My experiences are exactly that, MINE. They are what I have lived and am living out with my family here and now. If you don’t like how I see them that is for you to work out, not send a “bless your heart” email thinking that you have made things right, that the record is now correct.

Despite not having extended family in our lives, we as a whole, are happy. My parents are doing the best that they can without extended family and I know they are ok with that. I know, like me, they don’t miss what didn’t exist. Just as this “family” member has the right to be indignant on their parent’s part I do too. I can be upset that my father was not included in goings on and had to find out that children were born or lives were being lived by a third party and I know that it hurt his heart. I can be upset that communication that had dwindled rapidly to a once a year phone call (sometimes) on a birthday did not make him feel loved and missed. I also know that he cringed when my mother and I were provoked to wrath on his part because he never felt he should rock the boat (probably because he knew he would receive a nastygram or call and didn’t want to deal with it).

I admit many years ago I stumbled and said some things I shouldn’t and offense was taken. I apologized sincerely, but I couldn’t and can’t make it be accepted. However, don’t lurk and sneak about and then believe it is your duty to berate me for my experiences, my perceptions and writing about it. I choose to “ramble” about my what I am dealing with or what I am contemplating at the time. YOU are not required to read it.

BTW the people that are around me? Some of them are family……CHOSEN family.

 

 

Make It Count

memory-4111092_1920I don’t know if it’s a wives tale or not but yesterday it was proven to be true for my mom; it is said that if you take a dementia patient out of their normal patterns the disease shows up in all its glory. Well, it did.


My mom had fallen a few days ago and apparently was still complaining about the pain from the bruises she sustained, so my father took her to the ER on Sunday. The doctors decided to keep her overnight for observation. My illogical resentment reared its ugly head over this development. When I was growing up, I was never allowed to really be sick. I was always told that it wasn’t that bad, or that I needed to stop complaining so much. So, when my dad called to tell us he had taken her to the ER I had flashbacks to all those times, and I was not very nice about it.


My dad had to have a dental procedure and not too subtly asked me to go sit with my mom at the hospital till he could get back there. I got there early and they occupational therapist was helping her to move to the chair instead of sitting in the bed. The therapist was asking all kinds of questions that my mother was answering as if it were 15 years ago and she was not in the world she has been transported to lately. If I tried to correct the answer, I was told that she (my mom) did not want to be called a liar and I was to be seen and not heard (yeah like I hadn’t heard that growing up).


My mom’s attitude wasn’t bad, she was cranky and a bit snappy at times, but overall it wasn’t horrible. Yet, I could see that my dad at 84 and with a fib could no longer take care of him by himself. However, my parents have been stonewalling me at every turn when we discuss any next steps to be taken. As an example, I don’t even know where their paperwork is for the cremation they paid for ahead of time.


The physical therapist showed up and started asking me questions in front of my mom and she was becoming more adjugated, so I asked to speak with the therapist in the hallway. I let her know the situation at home with my parents. I also let her know that they don’t listen to anything I say.

The physician’s assistant then came in and we essentially repeated the same process. She said they would be having a meeting about the patients in a little while and maybe if they spoke to my dad, things would change. I felt horrible going behind his back, but to them I am still very much the child to them. 


When my dad got there, it was like a switch had been flipped in my mom. She became combative and belligerent. She was rude and outright nasty to the people that were trying to help her. I spoke to her much like you do a child that is misbehaving telling her that she was being rude and that was not appropriate. I tried to negotiate her making a choice so that the nastiness would stop, but my dad looked at me and said, “Cool it right now!” I picked up my stuff and I left.


On the way home I realized I still had my mom’s cell phone in my purse, so my husband (who has been my rock in all of this) called my dad to let him know we would get it back to them this evening, since I did not want to speak with him just then. We found out that at least the hospital heard me and refused to release my mother unless my dad signed a paper stating that a home health care nurse would come to the house every day. My dad told my husband that he supposed he needed to apologize (haven’t heard from him yet).


All I can say is that my prayer is that this trial counts…..just make it count.

Where Are You Going?

I haven’t been able to write in a long time. I thought that when I got back from teaching English as a Second Language in China that the writing would come easy; it didn’t. It took me awhile to settle into life again after that experience. I don’t think I even wanted to because life has thrown a curve ball as it is want to do at times.

My mother has dementia. At first it wasn’t too bad, she would make me repeat things several times that I had told her or remind her constantly of dates and times of things. Then at Easter it became apparent that it was progressing. Details about family stories were twisted in her mind and she would say to my father, “Isn’t that right?” to clarify her position. My dad would not verbalize and agreement, but by not disagreeing he is, at least to me, avoiding the issue.

I am an only child and most of the rest of our family is either gone or feels no need to interact. Not having that interactions are not what makes this a lonely experience, it’s trying to help my parents when they balk at anything that has to do with what comes next.

There are days that are harder than others because they are a glimpse into the future without my parents. My childhood was not all rosy, but it wasn’t horrible by any means so this new road we are traveling is one of the most difficult I have been on.

I am watching a woman vanish before my eyes, who raised me primarily on her own for the first 5 years of my life without being able to drive. My mom also had 4 heart attacks before I was 16 years old, so many of these years she was raising me from a hospital bed in the living room.  She is leaving us in increments. Sometimes I think this is crueler than if she were taken home.

I am learning the hard way to dig deep and find patience I never knew existed inside of me. Our pastor jokingly tells us that if we ask God for patience that He will allow a trial to teach you patience.  This is one trila I would have been very happy if He had stopped.

So be patient with me because there are days that are much harder than others and I am not sure why I snip and snarl at the ones I love. But there are days that God is my refuge and strength and a very present help in my troubles.

Past Hurts

sorry graphicMy uncle died two days ago. He was my father’s brother and only 4 month older than my mom. That really isn’t what has me so sad, I know it should and my heart breaks for my dad because now he is the only one left.

I guess I am really lying when I say he is the only one left. There is extended family and my cousins are still living, but we don’t have contact with them. Part of it stems from me letting my mouth run away with me. I said something that I shouldn’t have to my cousins. It’s not a moment I am proud of and I did sincerely apologize, but the damage was done and apparently grudges are a part of life for this side of the family. That should be quite clear since my mouth got me in trouble mainly because my father’s family essentially cut him off once he decided not to return to Texas and then really cut him off once he married my mom. My grandmother’s side of the family were a bit mean and would like to pretend that we don’t exist. I made it known that fact was noticed and got called a few choice names and was kicked off the family Facebook page.

There were things that my grandmother and my uncle did to my parents and I that were uncalled for, rude and even tried to cheat us, but I point out bias and I am the bad person (insert shrug of the shoulders here). I have forgiven them, but it makes me wonder how hardened their hearts are/were to have behaved that way. When my second oldest cousin called to tell my dad that his brother had passed away she couldn’t even remember my mom’s name when my mom answered the phone. Does that tell you anything?

My dad and I just by being his daughter were always the bad seeds and I had the additional black mark of being raised Catholic and a Yankee. It hurt and I know that it hurt my dad more than he ever admitted. Yet there have been shot gun weddings, divorces and children who have been MIA for one reason or another and in our family no matter the trial we manage to hold it together, and we are the ones who are shunned.

The lesson in all of this has been even if you have forgiven those who hurt you it doesn’t always mean they are repentant for their misdeeds and even if you apologize for your own stupidity it doesn’t stop the other party from holding a grudge to the grave.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”Leviticus 19:17-18

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32

Raising A Generation

kid-2603859_1920

I haven’t been able to write lately. I am not sure why it happened, nor have I found a solution to help the next time it happens. It could very well be because I have so much going on in my head that to try and “put pen to paper” it daunting to say the least, or it could be that I am just lazy…..pick one I won’t be offended.

What spurred me on to write today is something that I lament about since my children were originally raised Catholic till they were at least 11 and then accepted Jesus at a Skillet concert when they had an alter call. That’s not the part I lament about, I regret that while I raised my children to know Jesus they did not accept Him as their Lord and Savior until they were almost in their teens. I see other mothers at church who pride-fully tell you that their children accepted Jesus at 3. The mothers and fathers read article upon article about raising children so that they flourish in their faith as adults, or are so worried that they are being indoctrinated in the ways of the world if they go to public school (and in some instances in private and parochial schools). Then I think all I wanted was for my kids to love Jesus and for me to be an example of someone who took the sacrifice that He made seriously.

I wonder if too much pressure is put on children and then later on we find that we have a generation of prodigals or backsliders. There is nothing wrong with having them learn verses and be able to recite them, or if you home school teaching lessons about stories in the Bible, however I think the panic that is sometimes expressed that one lesson or practice in school or club or group will undo everything that you have taught them so far.

My boys were not necessarily evangelists in the sense that they could preach the gospel chapter and verse to their unsaved friends, but they most assuredly could reach out in a way that worked for them. My one son was a disciple by simply sharing Christian music with his friends. The kids that were listening to Nicki Minaj, Adele and Ed Sheeran were exposed to Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Need to Breathe. They realized that the music was good even if “that Jesus dude is mentioned” My other son would sit at lunch and read his Bible. He didn’t speak much and never forced anyone to listen to scripture, but by his example he was discipling in the manner that worked for him. The kicker is that my boys attended public school from the time they were 5 till they graduated from High School and very little of what we tried to instill in them was undone in any lesson. I won’t say that clarification wasn’t needed or enforcement of what we believed versus the world, but their faith was not shaken and their resolve was not lessened.

That does not mean that my kids have not made epic mistakes……then again we all have even the saved at an early age (your epicness might not reach the heights of mine or vice versa), but the ability to return “to the fold” was what they knew and what they did. So maybe the key is to lighten up a little, work with their strengths, teach them how to turn a secular teaching into a way to praise God and pray instead of worrying, because worry is a poor excuse for prayer.

Struggling In My Space

holzfigur-980784_1920Today is the day that my father has his procedure. Usually I am the one who is not worried, but I must admit I am concerned this time. I think I failed to realize that I have not truly embraced the idea of not IF, but WHEN. I know that the outcome is in God’s hands and His will be done, but what will I do if His will is to take my father home?

I am not a worrier, my mother has that particular skill covered and so does my one son. however, to admit that my flesh so wants to worry is shaking my foundation a little and making me feel vulnerable. Growing up it wasn’t a good thing to open yourself to be vulnerable because that was something that wasn’t forgotten and brought up as an arrow to the heart to make you feel guilty later on.

I know that I should count myself lucky that I don’t have other family to battle over my parents leaving this earth. There will be no epic battles no other opinions, no hurt feelings and no sibling shouldering most of the responsibility. But I have to be honest, right now I would welcome some of that. Maybe because I don’t really know what that is like, to have to argue over every little detail or wish that my brother or sister would help a little to ease the pain and lighten the load.

I guess my biggest struggle is accepting that I have to leave this in God’s capable hands and grasp that whatever happens is within His perfect will even if I don’t like it. It’s just HARD. It’s time like these that, I think, test my faith. I can be all about prayer and being in His will until a really challenging trial comes and that is when I feel like I crumble like a cookie dropped on the kitchen floor. It feels like I hear this in my head more often than not (Matthew 14:31) “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I wonder if I don’t inwardly become that little child throwing the tantrum and scream, “I WANT IT MY WAY! IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU!” I know that is the devil getting a hold of me and me not listening for the still small voice or waiting for the moment of peace to over come me. What I really need to rest in is 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

The power of God…..and a mighty power it is, rest in that.