The Memorial

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” anonymous

Well, it finally happened. We had the memorial celebrating my Dad’s life and it was wonderful! The most amazing aspect was all the family that gathered together at our house. My 3 sisters with their crews arrived Friday. 1 extra cousin-clan joined us and we ALL ate pizza! I think I counted 25.

With threat of icy roads we headed to sleep (late!). Saturday was cold, but clear :) The funeral home filled up with familiar old faces. So many hugs, funny stories and sweet eulogies. Great visiting ended too soon! Dad would’ve loved it!

Back at our house I counted 40 for BBQ- cousins, cousins, cousins. The DVD slide-show played over and over as we caught up on too many lost years. Why does it take a death to bring family together? Before we realized, it was 12am.

Sunday, church on-line with coffee, quiche and quiet visits with Gma. Family gathered again for lunch out. Too fun. Too short. Too sad it had to end. If I could’ve- I would’ve done it years ago, before he got sick.

Throw a party, invite family, take lots of pictures and write down all the contact information you can gather! Even the clean up will be worth in the end.

ForGlorySake! -Anna

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Greater Love

Sunday’s sermon topic …

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭6‬ NIV)

Funny how sermons and devotionals and verses for the day can pop up and string along on the same topic… when I see themes repeating again and again I try to take note. Hmmm, you think Someone could be trying to drive a point home?

Since my Dad passed it has been a whirlwind of activity and decisions.  Due to my Mom’s precarious health and her request for a specific  speaker, a date was chosen for us. We have 3 weeks to get it together. How do folks do it in 3 days?? I’m not sure if waiting is better or worse, but it has given me time to reflect and sort and think over the journey we’ve been on.

Grief is a strange invader. It effects each person differently. My grief came nearly 5 years ago when I could no longer go to my parents for help or share the gut-wrenching walk through my husband’s cancer. I realized then I had lost them as they had been. Caregiving changed my perspective too. I became the parent, they became the children. I’m thankful I was given the luxury of walking day by day through my Dad’s decline. I watched him slip further and further away so letting him go was not as hard. I wanted freedom for him.

My Mom’s path is different. I think her sorrow began when her husband of so many years could no longer carry on a conversation. She watched him grow more and more frail, yet denial over this being the end held strong. Her grief continues now each day as she sits without him in the den. There is anger and a lot of frustration and sadness. All very natural reactions after a loss. We grieve differently, trying to be patient with one another. Love is not always easy… red hearts and flowers. Love hurts. It also heals all wounds. What a challenge to love like Jesus did- to love to death.

Devotional:  “Yet God has called us to love even when we don’t want to, when we don’t feel like it, when we get nothing in return, when they don’t deserve it, when they’re not worth it, when they don’t even know it—when it makes no difference.” Excerpt From: Beth Moore, “Believing God Day by Day.”

Why do it? Because, He loved us first. And He promises the reward is great.

ForGlorySake! -Anna

011_15A

Posted in Practical Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Fly Away- Oh Glory!

Rest and Peace

Rest and Peace

Sunday, Feb 1, 2015 8:02pm

But those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead! (‭Isaiah‬ ‭26‬:‭19‬ NLT)
Hallelujah! My Dad has graduated, and he lives!

I am full of joy to think of him escaping the confines of that hospital bed, stretching his legs and back and moving freely again.

No more confusion, no more worry.

His mom and dad and so many more welcoming him to heaven.

Best of all he’s first to see Jesus – after waiting on 5 women for so many years… he’s first!

Praise God with me, with us for His mercy and timing.

Thank you for so many prayers for our family… for my Mom ❤️

Blessings,

and as always ForGlorySake! -Anna

Posted in Practical Life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting poetry…

Guess where my mind is?

Dry is the flower that falls from the vine
Quick was it’s life of beauty divine
Touched and created by God’s gentle hand
All for His Glory,
all for His plan

Short is a life on the grandest scale
Only to us seems a very long tale
Moment by moment, days as sand
Time measured out
to every man.

Then to our Maker a soul returns
Accounting for even the smallest of words
Actions, thoughts, the slightest deed
Nothing escapes
The Scribe with the reed.

Who is worthy to stand before God?
For mankind is made of dusty sod
Only by Faith in One we are saved
Through Jesus’ blood
our debt paid
(2015)

LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. (‭Psalms‬ ‭39‬:‭4‬ NLT)

ForGlorySake!-Anna

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Again with the waiting and trusting…

You’d think I’d be at peace in this place. You’d think from practice it would get easier. It doesn’t. The waiting and wondering is gnawing. It’s like a constant vigil, this watching as my Dad withers away.

I’ve thought and thought about writing a blog on this whole dying process. From reading the daily notes in my journal, my husband recommended I wait. Wait until emotions die down and I have a full retrospective view. But while it’s fresh, while we are still in the throws, I wanted to post.

Forgive me if I’m too blunt. I feel raw. There is nothing pretty about this dying with dementia. It’s ugly and degrading. The only beauty I can find in the whole thing is in the care given and in the grace God offers our family moment by moment. Before you go and polish a medal for me for doing this, know I’ve really struggled -not only to learn what to do and how to do it, but to do it again and again with a good attitude. And just for the record, my husband is far more patient.

It’s frustrating that this is not something any one of us can fix or hurry. There seems to be little point to the lingering and little comfort to be offered. Most of what we “do” for my Dad is general body-maintenance. I remain thankful that he is here, that both my parents are here… with us. Even if we are awkward or more clumsy than professionals, I know they will be loved right up until the end.

My peace comes in the true Hope that Jesus offered to all of His followers: Someday we WILL leave earth and rest in Him for ALL eternity.
Oh, the JOY of knowing Christ as LORD!

ForGlorySake! -AnnaIMG_9541

 

Posted in Practical Life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Hope For the Caregiver

“Be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged, for the LORD will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I’ve read this verse countless times, but I never once thought about it the way I am thinking now. I do not feel strong! As a matter of fact my back (and everyone else’s) is killing by the end of the day. It comes from from bearing more and more of my Dad’s weight as he can not bear it. He has changed from walking to barely standing to only sitting – and not straight- in 2 weeks time. It takes 2 people to move him from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to recliner. He can no longer help with his feet at all! We should’ve taken a course on this, but it has come so very fast. I’m glad for Utube videos to teach us.

I am feeling quite discouraged as each morning brings a new challenge we never considered before. Our family has had to be creative on the spot. Hospice can’t even reach the house before decisions have to be made. I have discovered that a group of people helps! Thank God I had so many kids. Everyone has been on call in my immediate family. Each of the children have put in their strength and creativity in these last few days. Can I shout “THANK YOU” here to my beautiful wonderful husband and family for helping me?!!!!

Yesterday, my Mom had what seemed like a small stroke(?). It was very odd and different from my Dad’s episodes. We all waited (there’s always a lot of waiting when your caregiving). She “recovered” so to speak and we all moved on, but something is different about her. They are both so different. This is difficult and stressful and constantly changing. Nothing to “tie to” as we Southerner’s say. Can’t plan for tomorrow.

And yet… the LORD is with us… with me. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. He does not leave me when it’s messy and difficult or when I’m tired and frustrated. He is not daunted by weight transfers and elderly diaper changes. He’s seen it all (bless His heart) and knows us humans through and through. He has promised to go with me and only because of that, I will go, where He has called, and trust, in His strength to carry us!

ForGlorySake! -Anna

EXCELLENT! devotional by Peter Rosenberger

EXCELLENT! devotional by Peter Rosenberger

Posted in Practical Life, Trust | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

When Life Gets Crazy

My mother, as a typical Southern belle, has decided she’s not ready to die right now after all (her words). We have all stepped up our care of them both however, especially my dad who seems to be failing fast.
I knew he would “step down” in his dementia after all the company went home from Christmas. Each big event brings a drop. This time his legs stopped working. Whether from physical limitations or a mental block, they just won’t carry him up the driveway and down the street anymore for the daily (3&4) walks. I actually dreamed of pushing him in the wheelchair the night before I had to quickly run and get it!!! He can still shuffle around their “apartment” but transfers (sitting/standing) are more and more difficult each day.
Medicines, meals, laundry, floor mopping, carpet cleaning, many many bed changes, clothes changes, diaper changes followed by long slow hours of watching and waiting on them….sometimes it gets crazy and I feel nuts. My husband and I go to bed at night and think surely 3 days have passed instead of 1.
It’s only been a few days since family left us (they were such great help!) and tomorrow brings my little caregiver back :)
God is faithful, He never leaves me to do this alone. He is near. I know He’ll show us the way through. I believe He loves my parents more than I possibly can and if I’ll let Him, He will change me through all of this. Nothing He does is wasted.
ForGlorySake! -Anna
IMG_9401

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment