Trying to make it through life with His help.

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Being Distressed

You know, it was hard enough when we found out that Mom had dementia, but watching her go through it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Over the last 6-8 years I’ve watched my Mother’s mind deteriorate. At first it was little things, like she couldn’t find the right word to say, or she would forget something. But, we all do that at one time or another, right?

The first time we ever had the scary notion that something wasn’t quite right with her was when I was in the hospital for a few days. Mom and Dad are the best parents any kid could ever ask for. They’re always there for me and my brother. And, this was no exception. They drove four hours to Atlanta to be with me while I was in the hospital, and only left to go to my Uncle’s house to sleep. So, yeah, they both were worried and extremely tired. For the most part, I truly believe Mom’s condition, especially at that time, was made worse by worry and exhaustion. The only way I have ever been able to explain it – then or since – is that she seemed confused about what she was confused about. I know it sounds odd, but that’s how it seemed.

I haven’t written anything in my blog for months, because, thankfully, there just hasn’t been that much to say. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen a steady decline. Changes that I just am not ready for are happening daily. Her speech is getting softer all the time, she can’t string sentences together very well most of the time, and she’s more and more unsure on her feet. But, the biggest is that she sees people no one else can see. Many times they’ll be people she knows, but they’re doing things the real people would never do. She keeps telling me that my best friend’s Mom is in her closet going through her clothes and just taking what ever she wants. (Never mind that my friend’s Mom is at least 4-5 inches taller than my Mom and couldn’t begin to fit into her clothes…lol)

For a long time Mom has seen these people, but it’s different now. Most of the time she described them as just regular people or small children. Every once in a while though, she’d say something about someone REALLY tall, dressed in white. Not just plain ol’ white, but a bright white. Well now. Hmmm. If you’ve read anything about Angels, you’ve probably come across the same kind of description that my Mom gives of these people.

Being a Christian, and someone who has the Gift of Knowledge, (which, in my case means seeing, knowing or feeling things many people don’t), how can I say that what she’s seeing isn’t really there? I can’t. I know it freaks people out a bit when I see things they don’t, or even tell them about it after the fact. Now I know how they feel on a moment by moment basis. In the last week or so, Mom has gone from just seeing these people, to talking to them, and now, in the last two days, she’s started to putting food out for them. It’s not for these tall people dressed in white, though. (It would make me feel better if it was!) She sees, talks to, and now tries to feed tiny children. A boy and a girl. They have – according to Mom – been sitting in our flower pots, sitting on the shelf in the pantry, and climbing up the cabinet doors. I hear and see her interact with them all day long. And, yeah, it’s kinda freaky.

I’m not looking for any kind of resolution here, I’m just trying to get this ‘down on paper’, and out of my head. As much as I know that God’s got this, and He’s got it all under control and worked out much better than I could ever try and plan it out, it’s just hard to deal with. And, writing about it helps a bit. I would appreciate prayers. That’s the only thing that will truly help.

Thanks for listening.

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Being Thankful for Family

Whew! I’m not sure what it is about Sundays, but two weeks in a row now, my Mom has had a bad day on a Sunday. Maybe it’s that she’s put up with not “going home” for another week, and she’s gotten tired of it, and decides that today’s the day!, and she tries to do something about it. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Sunday morning began, for me, being awakened by my Dad. He came in my room and told me that Mom had just called my cousin Martha, (who was named after my Mom, and just happens to be a nurse), to come get her and take her home. Being the sweet person she is, she told Mom that she was on her way and would come get her. So, a little while later, she and her husband arrived at our house.

They came inside, bringing our Sunday paper with them. (See? That’s sweet. Not everyone would have brought it in with them.) She and Mom went into the living room while her husband, Jerry, Dad and I stood in the dining room and talked for a little bit. A few minutes later, Martha and Mom came back out, and said they were going for a little drive.

Mom and Martha were gone for a while. She drove Mom all around, seeing familiar places, and talking the whole time. You can easily see that Martha is good at what she does. She’s so sweet and patient, and knows what to say, and when to say it.

It’s comforting to have family around when you need them. The Lord knows who you need when you need them. Not that any of my other family members wouldn’t have done the same thing. I truly believe that anyone Mom would have called that morning would have dropped what they were doing and come to see her just because she asked them to. That’s just one of the great things about having such a big ol’ wonderful and loving family.

I know things with Mom aren’t going to get any better. I know they could if that’s what the Lord wanted. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to receive a miracle like that? I know He can do anything He wants to do, and I wish he would give my Mom back to us. But I don’t know what His will is, so all I can do is just pray for it to be done. I have asked for us to be put on every prayer list I can think of. So, there are enough people agreeing for something to happen. I did hear from two different people this week that there is actually a promising cure for Alzheimer’s and Dementia now. But, of course, it’ll take years upon years for the FDA to approve it and get it out to those who need it, IF they ever approve it at all. So, I know it’s possible. Plus, I heard ‘my’ song today, “God is On The Move”, by 7eventh Time Down. It’s just a little reminder to me that He’s still there taking care of me and all that is around me. His way of telling me He’s got this.

Do you have something you feel that the Lord uses to get your attention? Something that happens where you think, “OK, God, I know you’re there. Thanks for watching over me, yet again.”? If you’ll just listen, I bet you’ll experience God.

Thanks for listening.

Being Heartbroken

My Mom has dementia.

The first real signs of it were several years ago when I was in the hospital. Dad and I, for the most part, put her behavior and forgetfulness down to the fact that she was very tired and worried about me. And, while being tired and worried certainly didn’t help, it was the first time I saw my sweet Mother confused about what she was confused about. That’s the only way I can describe it.

Over the years, it has steadily gotten worse. Since I lived in Atlanta at the time, I didn’t see her on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I moved home that I saw first hand the steady decline of her memory. It started out with her not being able to remember the word she was trying to say. I can’t remember a time when my Mom didn’t have a crossword puzzle around somewhere, because words had always been fun for her. She still has one around, but, rarely picks it up.

Yesterday when I came home from work, she was busy looking around the house for something. This is common these days. She misplaces things very easily now, and Dad or I have to find them. (Mostly Dad since he’s with her more and knows where her frequent ‘hiding’ places are.) After a while, I asked her what she was looking for, because she kept looking out the door and windows and going outside. She said she was looking for ‘that man’. I told her he was upstairs.

“No, not him. I know he’s there. I’m looking for the other one.”

“Mama, he’s the only one here.”

“I know that.”, she says frustratingly. “The one I’m looking for says his name is David, and that he wants to marry me.”

I smile, knowing, of course, that’s my Daddy. But she’s looking for the ‘young man’ she fell in love with 63+ years ago, not the older man who is upstairs, and loves her even more today than he did back then.

When Daddy comes downstairs for dinner, he tries to explain that he is the one she’s looking for, but she doesn’t quite believe him. She asks him for ‘his’ phone number because he’s got to have it. So, I quickly text my brother and tell him about the situation, just in case she calls him and thinks he’s Daddy from years ago. But, that doesn’t happen, she, at least for the moment, still realizes that my brother is the Jr. of our two Davids, and not the one she’s looking for.

While dementia is a horrible thing for anyone to live with, and those who love them to live through, there are some sweet and funny moments. They’re just so cute when they happen and you can’t help but laugh, which really helps. I’ll give you a couple of examples: When I was in the hospital, they had given me oxycodone pills for the pain. Mom has always been a worrier. I’ve often told her she’s a “Professional Worrier” because when she doesn’t have anything to worry about, she’ll manufacture something! But, that’s my Mom. Anyway, she came to my bed and said, “Do you need one of your oxymorons?” I couldn’t help but laugh. She looked at me strangely and asked me why I was laughing. I told her, “It’s oxycodone, Mom.” To which she replied, “Well, you know what I meant!”, and laughed. Then, just a few weeks ago, I went upstairs where she and Dad were watching tv. I asked them what they were watching. They both answered at the same time, Dad: “American Ninja Warriors”, while Mom came out with “Ninja Turtles”. I couldn’t stop laughing for a while at that one. I don’t even think she knows what a Ninja Turtle is, but she’s heard it somewhere. She’s priceless. Always has been. But, even as difficult as these days have been, and will be, I wouldn’t take anything for the time I get to spend with them both.

Don’t take for granted that someone will always be there, because they won’t. Put down your phone and interact with people, especially your family, and most especially, your parents or grandparents. Unfortunately, they won’t always be there, and believe me, you’re lucky to have them for as long as you will. My brother and I have been extremely blessed to have both of our parents as long as we have. Too many friends lost theirs long ago.

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Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without my Faith, it’s what gets me through. There are things I worry about, I know better, and try not to because He’s there and has it all planned out much better than I could ever even try to plan it – IF I had any control over it. I have to remember to rely on Him, not me or anything or anyone else. It also helps to write about this, which He told me to do. Amazing how that works, isn’t it? He knows what’s best for us, and if we’d just listen, everything would work out like it’s supposed to.

I should have listened to Him a long time ago and been writing all this down. Apparently, writing is my therapy. 🙂  Thanks for listening.

 

Moving and Change

Oh my goodness…. I do NOT want to go through that again any time soon. It is the most stressful thing I’ve gone through since my divorce eleven years ago. And, if I’m honest with myself, I’m not sure which was worse. Both were bad, but I’m leaning towards the moving being worse than the divorce at the moment.

Since it was all my stuff, I was the one who needed to say where it should go. My standard answer became, “In a box!”. I mean, that was logical, wasn’t it? Ok, so the answer was a bit snarky and definitely borne of frustration, but, as long as the item in question ended up in a box, I didn’t care which one it went in.

My parents, God love ’em, were such a help. I don’t know what I’d have done if they hadn’t come to help me pack. Well, that’s not true, I do, too. I wouldn’t have gotten it all done by the time the movers had come and gone! The guys who came to move me were so great. They were both fun and funny and knew exactly what they were doing. And neither complained – at least not to where I could hear it – when they discovered I had packed things into the drawers of some of the furniture, and even in the washer and dryer. Such good guys. AND I was on the third floor, too. So, that made it even worse on them.

I tell ya, I had to pray big time to try and keep from becoming even more overwhelmed than I already was. And I know my friends were praying for me. For a week, the three of us were busy packing all day. We took very little time out to do anything else, other than eat and sleep. My apartment was only 860sf, but I had so much stuff… things I didn’t even remember having! I took at least 3 car loads of things to Goodwill. And, probably should have taken even more, but that’ll have to wait until I move into my new space once I find a job.

I still have no doubt that God has somewhere special for me to work, and I’m not worried about finding it. I just wish it would hurry up and find me! (I have a bit of a problem when it comes to being patient…) I wonder where the job will be and what I will be doing. I am very skilled at what I do, and would love the opportunity to learn something new. So, I’m pretty open.

Since having to pack my life up and move it back to Tennessee, I have figured out that I do not want to have to do this again any time soon. Which just goes along with the fact that I believe I will be getting a house, instead of moving into another apartment. The last time I came home for a visit, I went looking at some apartments and found a beautiful complex that just felt right. While looking around the property and thinking how much I liked it, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Why are you limiting Me to an apartment?” Whoa. Really?! 

It was just a natural thing for me to look at apartments, since that’s where I’ve lived for the last eleven years. The fact that I would be able to afford a HOUSE when I get a new job, hadn’t even crossed my mind. It’s actually something that is hard for me to wrap my mind around… Me, with a house……On my own! A house, not a condo. Why buy a condo? To me, it’s going to be the same as living in an apartment, it’ll just be mine.  And, they’re harder to sell than a house – from what I understand, anyway. The only kind of condo I would consider would be a ranch condo. All on one level. They do exist, but they’re harder to find. Heck, my friends used to make fun of me because I told them I would LOVE to live in a retirement community! I love older people, and they’re quiet! No thumping music out in the parking lot at 2am. Oh, AND they watch out for their neighbors. Some may call it being nosey, but, if you have nothing to hide, why worry?

Anyway, I don’t want to have to move more than once. So, unless something happens to change my mind, I want to find where I’ll be living for a while. Getting rid of clutter from your life is so freeing. I don’t mind doing it, it’s just the sitting down and doing it that gets me. I am easily distracted, so it’s hard for me to stay focused on what I’m doing. If you think about it, de-cluttering is a lot like being a Christian. A few years ago I read a little blurb about how cleaning out a pumpkin is like becoming a Christian and it’s stuck with me, because it’s so apropos.

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I think that sums up the concept pretty well, don’t you?

I don’t know about you, but even after all these years, there’s still a lot of things that need to be cleaned out of my life. His goal is to get us as close to being like Him as He can, which isn’t going to be an easy task. (Him being perfect and all…) So, that means many things in our lives must change. Change is a scary thing for some of us. But He works on us constantly IF we listen to him.

Do you know of things in your life that need to change? Has He asked you to do something differently than you usually do? Go ahead and make that change. You’ll be better off. Don’t take my word for it, take His. He makes us all KINDS of promises throughout the Bible. If you don’t know where they are, Google it! (Google is a wonderful thing!) Or, here…. Here’s what I found when I Googled “Biblical Promises”. Click the link and start finding your promises!

Tomorrow is the first day of my new life.

On Friday, September the 13th, I was laid off from work. This didn’t come as a complete surprise to me. I mean, there’s only so long you can have nothing to do at work and still expect to have a job, right? I helped other departments with filing and was doing some data entry for a new program being implemented. But, they could find anyone to do that. I just wasn’t needed any more. After 14 years, that’s what it came down to. My team of three was over-staffed by one. And this time, it was me.

Now, you may think I would be pretty upset about this. But, in fact, I’m not. Sure, I’ll miss all the friends I had made there, but that’s not enough to keep you in a place in which you had pretty much become miserable. Most of the people were great. I don’t think there was even one person I didn’t like to be around. (Which wasn’t the case a few years ago!)

You may be asking yourself, “Why, especially in this economy, aren’t you upset about losing your job?” And my answer would be, because I have faith in God. And I know that He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). One that I have no way of grasping yet, and something that only He can make happen.

The last few years at work have been an emotional roller coaster. Being in the industry we were in, there were several layoffs. So, for over five years, we’ve all been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, wondering if we were next. We used to dread “Black Thursdays” as they became known, because that was the day they would let people go.

I had survived the layoffs and I have to believe it was for a reason. One I may never know, but He does. His timing is perfect. Often, the daily survival wasn’t easy, either. My boss drove me crazy at times, as many can do. I frequently felt like I was being picked on. (Which, as an adult, is just as frustrating, if not more so, as it was when you were a kid.) It seemed no matter what I did, it was wrong. I would just get into the groove of doing something and liking it and it would be yanked away from me, and I’d be doing something completely different. But, I have to say, that each time this happened, turns out, it was for the best. (God was obviously watching out for me, keeping me there for His reasons, not mine). Also, I’m not one to suffer change quietly…lol  So, if I was unhappy about the change, you pretty well knew it. I might stew about it for a few hours, but I always came around and went with the change.

Right after Labor Day, I had a major attitude adjustment. I knew it was going to be a particularly hard day. So, before going inside the building, I sat in my car for a few minutes listening to The FISH, (a contemporary christian radio station), and said a prayer. I gave the day over to the Lord completely. I knew this was the only way this day could be a good one. My attitude had gotten pretty bad, which isn’t like me. 98% of the time, I’m a very happy, upbeat and positive person. But the last month or so had thrown me for a loop. Change was coming, I just didn’t know how or when exactly.

That day was the first of many great days to come. Actually, it lasted until I was laid off.

When my boss came to me on Friday and said, “I need to talk to you.”, I wasn’t worried. As we started walking down the hall together, I figured out what was about to happen and I thought, “Oh, they’re going to let me go!” (I think I actually smiled!) As unusual as it sounds, I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even mildly ticked off! And best of all, I didn’t get that sick feeling I think most of us get when something like this happens. I was totally and completely at peace. God had prepared me for it. He had told me to be prepared to leave, and apparently, I was.

Before letting me go, they offered me the chance of another position. This position was in telesales, {sigh}, which just isn’t my forte, at all. Appreciating the effort of trying to keep me employed, I talked to the manager of the department. Honestly, I probably could have told him what he wanted to hear and gotten the position. But I’d have been miserable. And, through out the ‘interview’, I couldn’t shake the “I need to get out of here” feeling, either. God was making it uncomfortable for me to be there any longer than necessary.

So, it took me a while, but I said my goodbyes and left the only company I’d been with since moving to the Atlanta area. Don’t get me wrong, there were tears. And unless you’re someone who has a lot more emotional control than I do, there’s going to be a few tears when saying goodbye to the people you’ve shared 40 hours a week of your life with over the last 14 years. It’s a bit sad that you won’t get to see them as often, or for some, ever again.

There was such a sense of relief, too. I’m hoping my stress level will go down. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been completely relaxed. I think I even sleep tensed-up.

So, to quote a familiar axiom, Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I am really looking forward to, and excited about seeing, what the Lord has in store for me. I think from this day forward I will be walking in my destiny. And by keeping my eyes on Him, I will stay on the path He has chosen for me.

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