It Takes A Village

A colleague reminded me this week that we all have people in our circle who watch over us. She referred to the support system as a village, which has left me thinking.

In the world of teaching, we often feel isolated. It sounds funny, that a unit of like-minded people could work together, yet separately, and feel lonely. After all, we have little people all around us and we work with a large number of adults. However, the reality is that we have little time for personal social interaction.

Some people are perfectly happy being alone. I am not.

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My favorite time period of teaching was the 13 years that I team taught. My co-teacher and I worked like a finely tuned machine. Her strengths were my weaknesses and mine were hers. We complimented each other. We worked primarily in the portable classrooms, just outside of the school building, and renamed it the Learning Cottage. We created our own village. We all loved it out there. It was like a little 2-room schoolhouse that included 40 children. Quite honestly, it was at the highlight of my teaching.

We weren’t made to live in isolation. Even wolves travel in packs. I think we were designed to be part of like-minded groups. Those units shift and change, but I believe that I am a better me when I am around loyal people with like-goals, who sincerely want to be with me.

We live in a naturally competitive society and I am not competitive in any way shape or form. I don’t want to ever draw attention to myself. I don’t like confrontation. I want to blend in. I am a team player, and have very high expectations for myself and others within my small village.

I am faithful to a fault, and sometimes I get burned because I am so trusting. Sometimes in a pack, wolves turn on the old and the fragile. I am not old, but I’ll admit that I am fragile. Sometimes it takes my whole village to keep me moving forward. I am so thankful for them.

A small Gift Card is often left in my school mailbox to help with groceries. I am so thankful for the anonymous villager who is quietly watching over me. It helps to ward off the loneliness. You’d be surprised at how many times that card has pushed us through- the exact amount needed to get us to the next paycheck. Whoever you are, I pray that you are reading this. I am so thankful for your commitment to making me feel cared for.

Our world has become much smaller as my favorite man forgets people he rarely sees. I find it interesting that he talks about people as we pass by their homes. However, if those same people pop into our house, he often doesn’t know who they are. He is lonely, but he doesn’t want to see people. It’s too scary because they know him and he doesn’t know them. (If I think about it, if a stranger showed up insisting he knew me and I didn’t recognize him, I would be terrified and I wouldn’t want to let him in.) We don’t travel very far or for very long. It’s too scary. This means that our short outings are predictable, and generally places where he won’t run into anyone.

A few years ago, I shared our dilemma with our pastor. His response: if people (the village) don’t come to me, then I (because he won’t go) need to go to the village. The snag is that I am needed at home as soon as school is over. My guy paces and waits for me by the window every afternoon, waiting for my return.

So, to the faithful members of my small village: you know who you are, THANK YOU. You give me strength, encouragement, and talk me off the ledge when my nerves seem like they cannot withstand one more obstacle.

Today I am thankful for the sweet moments that I get to share with my favorite man and that I am not alone.

May the members of our individual villages be patient in tribulation, bless those who persecute us, and abhor evil. My prayer is that everyone is a part of a intimate village that lifts and encourages one another no matter what the time and the hour. May we use our individual gifts to strengthen each another. Together may we all rejoice in hope, cleave to what is good, and always display love. May we not go through the motions, but instead, be a wise and cheerful blessing. (Romans 12)

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The First Time Again

It’s been 5 years since the dementia diagnosis and at this time, he is doing amazingly well. He has shown regression, but it is slow and mostly unrecognizable to the ones he sees regularly. We thank God every day that he is mobile and still has his language skills. He is mostly happy as long as we keep him on a schedule and don’t ask too much of him all at once. We generally learn by failure, since even the best laid plans don’t cooperate with dementia.

Over the past few days, he has crossed paths with people he has known for a very long time, but clearly didn’t recognize. One was his cousin and one was a coworker that he worked with for 17 years.

This is the best advice that I can give anyone who bumps into us:

  1. Introduce yourself. It feels funny to you, but it takes a whole lot of pressure off him. Then, don’t ask him questions. Just tell him about yourself and how you know him. When you hug him or shake his hand, bells and whistles are going off in his head, “Yikes! This person knows me and I don’t know him!” Take the pressure off, by just talking about how you know him and share YOUR memories. Often times, if you keep talking, he will make a connection. Sometimes it is after you walk away.
  2. My husband often talks about past coworkers, friends, or family, but doesn’t recognize them when he sees them. From what I have read, it is because he is looking for a younger you. For example, in the end, he may not recognize my brother, but will recognize his son and call him my brother’s name. My grandmother used to do that with my father and brother.
  3. Don’t correct him. Just go with it. When dementia patients are corrected, it shakes them up and they will stop talking and begin to stutter, stare, shake, or rock. Don’t be alarmed if this happens. It is how they self stimulate and it is a calming technique.
  4. Stick to conversations that you know they can respond to. Think about what you know they like to do. For my husband, safe subjects that he can always contribute to are: walking by the water, gardening, mowing, chickens, baking, coffee, and the baby. These are things that are on his mind and in his bubble constantly.
  5. He is the same old guy. The same things that bothered him before, bother him now. The same things that brought him joy before, bring him joy now. It’s just heightened, and he’s quirkier, but he’s the same old guy.
  6. Too much stimulation and not enough breaks are a deadly combination that isn’t going to end well so we stick pretty closely to a schedule.
  7. He rarely hears from or sees people and it hurts his feelings. He feels forgotton. People really need to come to see him. Since home is his safe place, they need to come when he isn’t napping and not stay long because he tires quickly.
  8. Sleep is very important because his brain has to work so much harder than the average brain to do regular things. It exhausts him, so calling ahead and giving us a chance to prep him for your arrival will set him up for a successful visit with you. His clearest time are between 10:00 am -noon and after 4:00 pm.

So, if you have the pleasure of spending time with someone with dementia, the most important thing to remember is that you are most likely meeting for the first time again. Introduce yourself, tell him about yourself and the connection you have with him, and enjoy. You will be blessed.

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Lost, Hiding, and Naked

I continue to have wild dreams. My most recent ones involve being taken captive in a house that I couldn’t get out of. I would go through door after swinging door, only to meet more doors. I was running and hiding. Once outside, I was in an unknown place, in the snow, and naked. I was scared cold, afraid, and I could not find my way home. Occasionally I would meet people along the way that I recognized, but they turned away, seemed disinterested, and refused to help me. Last night I dreamt that I was living in an unknown house back on the farm. People with guns stormed my parent’s home and I was hiding a classroom full of children in my house across the street. My job was to try to keep them safe and quiet. The dream ended with a fire in just a portion of the house, and for a brief moment, I was heartbroken that I had lost one of my own children. She appeared through the rubble holding the family dog, Even as I write this, my heart breaks, and tears come to my eyes.

Why am I having such wild dreams? Friends say that I am feeling naked, exposed, and like my life is out of control. It makes sense.

I was awake in the night with a stomach ache and I was thinking about it. Maybe if I could understand my fears, I could find a solution and the dreams would stop.

This is what I have been thinking about:

I seem to have four kinds of support systems in my life and I liken them to the layers of the earth.layers-of-the-earth

The Inner Core: These are the family and friends who know the most intimate parts of my daily life. 

The Outer Core: I consider these to be my most faithful prayer supporters, and those with whom I can call on, but don’t have regular intimate contact with.

The Mantle: These are the casual observers, further removed, kind of like me with the Red Socks and the Patriots. 

The Crust: People who know we are out there, watching, but don’t have the time, the energy, or the desire to become intimately involved.

I’m sad to say that I often feel very alone and vulnerable. I am so grateful for the those who support me. The problem is that I don’t always know where people fall in my support system and it can become confusing, because my expectations for those in the crust should not be the same as those in the core. Sometimes I misjudge where people choose to be located and I think they are part of the mantle, and they are part of the outer crust, which is where they want to stay. I think sometimes people move from one layer to another and I don’t know they’ve moved, so I try to ask something of them that they can’t give me. This journey has been surprising. Shockingly, some of those that I thought would be part of the inner core are part of the crust, and those who I would have guessed would be part of the crust, are part of the outer core. It’s a puzzle, because sometimes I just can’t figure out where people want to be located in my circle and it just adds to the confusion.

I think we have this idea, when we go through adversity, that certain people will step up and be there for us. When in reality, some slide out into the crust, and that brings me great sadness. I miss people with whom I have loved and have lost.

Life continues to be busy and challenging. School comes with a whole lot of hurdles that I don’t see any immediate relief from. My parents are aging, which is creating another layer of concern. Three hospital trips since Christmas with our mother reminds me that time with my parents is limited, and that creates a whole other layer of stress. I worry about my adult children, grandchildren, home & financial responsibilities, and a failing husband which adds more and more plates to spin, and my stomach gets tighter and tighter. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I feel like I am not doing 100% at anything I tackle these days. I am trying to be flexible, but this perfectionist is struggling. More and more is being asked of me and I just can’t keep up with the additional demands and do them well. I want to please everyone, and I can’t. I want to help everyone, but I can’t. I want to fix everything, and I can’t do that either.

Perhaps I do have good reason to dream about being alone, lost, frightened, naked and with people who look away, but unfortunately, there is little I can do about any of it. I need to just keep trying my best, putting one foot in front of the other, and pasting a smile on my face even when I don’t feel like smiling. I need to break out the glitter and the chocolate, put on some lovey 80’s music from Air Supply & steal a kiss from my favorite man, sip some coffee, and thank God for making it through just one more day.

 

In Like A Lion

Generally, the saying “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is reserved for March, but I think it is fitting for January 2018 as well. For us, the end of December and beginning of January have been lion-like.

The Christmas season was pleasant and quiet. We tried very hard to follow traditions, but do all things in moderation, understanding that my sweet husband needed sensitivity and flexibility. Our middle child was home for ten days, our oldest and his family are safely settled into their new duty station in Japan, and our youngest and her family are nestled into the basement. We shopped, baked, decorated, wrapped, listened to Christmas music and watched the Christmas classics.

Christmas Eve became gathering day for our family at the farm since winter weather was harsh on Christmas Day. It was strange, but stretched out the holiday into a more doable weekend. My favorite man did amazingly well at the farm, and was able to remain with us throughout the meal, gift giving, and most of clean up before needing to be brought home. 26001162_10213844378697693_8189500081275403014_nThat evening we slid in last to the Christmas Eve service and by “coincidence”, there was only room in the way back. It worked well, and we were able to scoot out first once the service was over. My favorite man was only slightly shaken by people he knew he should recognize but didn’t, and was happy to see a familiar face. Christmas day was equally as quiet. We calmly enjoyed breakfast, opened a few gifts, napped in the afternoon, and FaceTimed with our oldest and his family. Honestly, it was a heavenly weekend despite the fact that we all were battling colds.

December 26th was our youngest grandchild’s birthday and we gathered with close family for chopsuey and cupcakes. My favorite man was so sick that he missed the entire celebration. By the 27th, his temperature spiked and held at 103 degrees. He complained of a headache, bodyache, and coughed constantly. At that point, the doctor recommended taking him to the Emergency Room. When he didn’t fight us, we knew he was sick.

26001090_10213855179407704_3808837877463324154_nAt the Emergency Room, we learned that there has been an influx of illnesses and it was verified by our Primary Care Physician. The good news was that he tested negative for Influenza A, but the bad news was that he tested positive for Respiratory Syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) Virus, or RSV and Pneumonia. Infections can increase confusion and can speed up the progression of dementia, and unfortunately, we have seen that over the past 10 days. My favorite man has become quieter, much more confused, easily agitated, and is on food strike.

It is the strangest thing. He gets so excited to see me or hear from me. Yet, when I call or come home, I get a quick response. Then he puts his headphones back on and returns to his world of politics, Forensic Files, or X-Factor. I have become his security blanket, and as long as he knows I am around, he is content and he goes back into his world. When I kiss him, there is a delayed response, no matter how many times I try. He rarely touches me, but doesn’t retract when hugged, kissed, or when I hold his hand. He doesn’t initiate affection any more, although I know that he loves me.

I still leave him notes each day, and he holds the phone until I call at noontime. He looks forward to my FaceTime, even if it is short. When I can get him to eat, he continues to love sweet treats, coffee, Pepsi, pizza, or anything he can put on the grill. He continues to cook and clean, although he forgets to shower, can’t remember how to shave, and can’t tie his shoes. He does the laundry, but can’t remember how to separate the laundry into darks, colors, or whites. He just tosses them all in together.

But I am losing him. On December 29th, my mother went into the hospital with bronchitis and a mild heart attack and she was readmitted into the hospital January 1st for pneumonia. It was the same day that my husband didn’t recognize me for the first time.

I wondered how I’d handle it. I’ve been expecting it for a long time. In fact, I was so nonchalant, that I have wondered if something was wrong with me. I didn’t cry. I just told him that I was his favorite wife, and he seemed okay with it. The majority of the day, I believe that he just thought I was someone who loved him and that he was supposed to love. The good news is that he later called me by name. However, it was a glimpse into what is to come and I know that.

I don’t quiz him. I don’t want to know who or what he remembers. It shakes him up, because no matter how hard he tries, some memories just don’t surface. I don’t ask him how many siblings he has or what their names are. I don’t ask him to recall anything. I just tell him about things. When people get close to him and quiz him, it frightens him. However, when they introduce themselves, it gives him to clues to either remember or fake it.

I hope and pray that he bounces back, but I am a realist. I know what to expect. I have accepted it. Maybe that’s why I don’t cry much any more. I cried a lot at the beginning, and I suspect that I will when it is all over. But for now, I just do my best to reset and recalculate.

In a way, I feel like I have PTSD. I have shared with friends that I feel like a piece of driftwood that keeps smashing against the rocks in the ocean. Although the trials around me haven’t necessarily been mine, I have been damaged by association. A lot has changed since 2009. It was the beginning of the change in my husband’s behavior and I will forever be scarred by some of what I have been through.

I do think that this experience has made me more mature. It has given me an opportunity to live a Christian testimony. However, I am not going to lie, I just completed a devotional on Trials that I wanted to jump up and down and stomp on, over the past 10 days. Finding joy, peace, and blessings is really tough when the heat is on full blast.

26167638_10213924703185755_7033773497360590356_nSpeaking of heat… it is colder than the Arctic here in the northeast. We have been battling -30 degree wind chills, and 30-40 mph gusts of wind. We have had snow, and ice, that is driving us all inside to huddle around our stoves, dress in layers, and wrap up in blankets. Heating our beastly castle is very challenging and as an answer to prayer this week, we were able to fill our oil and propane tanks for another round of frigid weather.

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The good news is that in the middle of the chaos my girls took me out for my birthday. We saw Pitch Perfect 3 in theaters after a wonderful lunch at Applebees. We enjoyed reclining chairs, sweet treats, and cupcakes made by my son-in-law when we returned home. It was a nice day. I even got a sweet note from my husband- which was extra special because he rarely writes any more.

After 2 trips to the airport, we finally got our oldest daughter back to Arkansas in time to start school. The first flight was cancelled, and the second flight had such tight connections that she had to run at all three airports. It did a number on my nerves, but by New Years Eve she was safely in the arms of good friends- but without her luggage. They came the next day!

Today’s prayer is to thank God for all He has done to keep me healthy so that I can be what I need to be for my family and for my favorite man. I want to thank Him especially for pricking the hearts of those in my circle, to encourage and hold me up when I feel weak, scared, or when the burden is becoming just too much to bear. I want to thank Him for family, friends, and coworkers who are committed to stepping in and praying, especially when loneliness begins to overtake me, because that is the worst. More than anything, I pray that when the time comes, my support system will rally around my family and I because we are going to need all the help we can get.

May January go out like a lamb, and may we get a little relief from the rough seas of life in the weeks to come. This piece of driftwood is feeling a little haggard these days.

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Tough Decisions and Big Opinions

I have never been a decision maker. I remember as a young child, my grandmother would ask where I wanted to eat when we made a trip to the big city. I would answer, “I don’t care.” She would try to pry it out of me, and yet I would answer the same way. It would make her so mad that we would go home and she would fix me a sandwich. I felt bad, but I legitimately did not care and could not be coerced into to making a decision. I still do that to this day. (My friends and family are nodding their heads.) It’s totally true. I can find something I like on most menus. However, occasionally, I do have an opinion, and when I do, I expect people to listen. And thus begins my crazy last week.

I am a blender. I don’t like attention drawn to me unless it’s deserved and positive. I hate confrontation and conflict. I’m super sensitive and I get my feelings hurt way too easy. My daughter tells me that I overthink everything- hence the blogging. It is my way to take my overthinking brain and create some order within it. It truly does help. I thank my daughter for encouraging me to do it.

I’m overthinking about a lot of things these days. I feel like I am in constant communication with my Maker, and he is mumbling. “Huh?” I want to yell to him, “Would you please speak up!”

I’m out of my comfort zone. I went to a Teacher’s Union Meeting this week with a list- so out of character for me. Some things have been chewing at my insides and I want to be part a solution. I met with the Superintendent this week- my choice. Then I met with my Principal- so out of my comfort zone. My nerves are on fire and my stomach is still a mess. Most of the time I say nothing. I just go with the flow and make the changes that are recommended, but some things just need work and I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer. I am proud of myself but I am exhausted and continue to pray that my actions were received the way I intended.

Some people think I’m an extrovert because I can speak to crowds, and I am a mover and shaker. If someone thinks of it, I help get it done in the background. I am an overachiever and a perfectionist. I am a Martha. In the bible, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and washed his feet while Martha scurried around the house. That’s me. I have very high expectations for myself and for others. I know that. That leaves me a little intimidating to some and I come across as direct. But truly, I am an introvert. Sometimes I sit in the closet with the door closed. I imagine myself in a small box, protected and safe within it’s confines. Sometimes I cry in the shower or take long walks, while praying out loud for only the wildlife to hear.

I’m scared, I’m sad, and I’m trying to tackle each new hurtle with confidence and grace. But I am being asked to make decisions and have opinions, and it isn’t easy for me. So sometimes I come across very business-like. I tell people about what is going on without emotion, lest I lose control. I need to stay in control for the people I love most.

My husband is slowly failing. I see changes weekly. What’s interesting, is that sometimes he can’t do or remember something one day, that he can do or remember the next. Sometimes it just doesn’t come back- like tying his shoes. He’s started forgetting people he hasn’t seen in a while. I see the hurt look on the faces of those he can’t remember and it makes my stomach tighten. I want to put a sign on his back that says, “He has dementia, please introduce yourself.”

Two days ago, he exhibited signs of a seizure while sleeping. It may have been a bad dream. I have no idea. However, it left him exhausted and out of it for the whole day. Yesterday, was better, but he lost some ground. This leads me to my next worry…winter on the mountain.

Our daughter has been coming up during the days to hang out with my husband. They are good company for one another. Winters are hard on the mountain, and it may be a huge help to both parties to have them stay with us for the winter. He gets so lonely. The downfall is that it could speed up the process for my husband with too much stimulation in the house. That being said, it is his biggest desire to remain home until the end, and having her with us may be the only way that that can happen. What if they can’t get up the driveway when I need them the most? Big decisions need to be made…and I am not a decision maker. I am a people pleaser. I do not want to be in charge. Please God, won’t someone make a decision for me?

I’ve asked for God’s guidance, but he is silent. I take that as, “Not yet. Keep praying about it.” I just keep praying and he just stays quiet.

So this week, I am determined to be quiet. I’ve said what I needed to say in my workplace, and I’ve said what I need to say to God. Winter is coming, and I am fearful of the winter expenses in order to keep this beastly house warm, but I will trust that God has a plan and that he will reveal His plan in His time. For now, we wait and continue to enjoy one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other.

<Deep breath. >

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face You’re by my side
When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less
When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Trust In You by Lauren Daigle

What about me?

I have been fighting the dumps this week. Honestly, I think that part of it, is the time of year. It has been dreary and gross out all week, mud season has begun, yet we still have snow on the mountain. What has melted is revealing dog waste, rocks in the grass, broken twigs and trees around the border of the property. Even the mailbox looks pathetic as it leans a little too much to the left.

Maybe it’s the fact that we are in the month of “when all bad things happen”. My heart hurts. People are getting on my nerves. I am jealous and a little angry. I am exhausted. The yard matches my emotions and I want to find a hole to crawl in. Our “affairs are in order” and now we just muddle through from one doctors appointment to the next. Waiting. Watching. Praying. Trying to live and enjoy the time we have left. It’s lonely and it stinks.

He looks forward to coffee and treats. So that’s what I bring him. His world is shrinking. He is lonely, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Going to functions is exhausting. People say, “He doesn’t act like anything is wrong.” It is true. He rises to the occasion, then he goes home and crashes. Sometimes it takes as long as a week to get him back to his normal. He silently stares, plays his game over and over on the iPad, and can’t finish any thoughts. He sleeps all the time or he doesn’t sleep. Organs people can’t see are malfunctioning and deteriorating. He looks fine, but what is seen is not what is broken.

This means that MY world is shrinking. I go to work and I come home just as soon as I can. I pray that he is safe, I FaceTime him at noontime, I encourage a nap, and ask for his Bp. I remind him to eat. I tell him that I love him over and over. I teach, go home, then teach, and go home. That is what I do.

Today I wonder if God is mad at me. I look around and see happy families, and I am jealous of their perfect worlds- or so it seems to me. It seems like some people never experience adversity. Everything is perfect- “a perfect little woman with a perfect little man, with a perfect little family, that live in a perfect little house and drive a perfect little car, going to a perfect little job, where everything is perfect.”

I have cried most of the day today. I am sad. Gut wrenching sad. Like it or not, my husband is dying and I have to figure out what in the world I am going to do and I don’t want to. I don’t want to lose my favorite man. I don’t want to have to go on alone. I don’t want to sell the house. I don’t want to move on. I am angry. I am angry at God because he could fix it with one nod, and he is choosing not to. How could anything GOOD come from losing my husband?

Today’s  solution: we went on a hot date to the car wash, then we took the long way to the ocean. We walked the foot bridge, enjoyed the crisp sea air, people watched, and took in some natural D. It always makes me feel better. I have stopped crying, have put some coffee on, and am preparing to go back at it again tomorrow.

I think the thing that is the hardest right now is that I have spent a lifetime making sure that everyone’s needs have been met: my parents, my children, my husband. What on earth am I going to do when it is only me? Who is going to worry about me? People ask me what I need and I have no idea. I’m just sad, angry, scared, and tired, and I cannot stop. I have to take this journey whether I like it or not, and I don’t.

Dear Younger Me,                                                                                                                                          Don’t waste one single moment, because the rug will be pulled out from under you in a split second. It isn’t fair, but it’s going to happen. Get ready.                                                       Be brave, Me

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TRUTHS

There are few truths that you can hang your hat on.

Every day is a new day, and I will be okay because I am a strong woman with big faith.unknown-1

This has been a long week. We had 2 visits to the Emergency Room and 55 hours in the hospital on top of a highly publicized presidential election that elicited strong emotions from American citizens, while I worked full time. It has left me exhausted in every way possible. Surprisingly, I have been fairly resilient to both the challenges and changes.

This week was rough. I had to leave my husband home alone, hoping and praying that he would be safe while I returned to work. By Thursday noon, we headed back to the hospital. His Bp, which had been dangerously low last week, was dangerously high this week. It had doubled as a result of removing 2 Bp medications and drastically reducing 2 others all at once. I feared that he would crash and he did. Every medical professional that looked at him had a different philopsohy of both the cause and the treatment. It is a huge guessing game, and without a good advocate who keeps a very close eye out, it could result in catastrophic results. (It’s a good thing he has a wife with a Type A personality who has OCD tendencies and is an organizational maniac.) In the end, they put him back on the meds they took him off of last week, just at a weaker dosage. I had to bite my tongue not to say, “I told you so.” But for the record… I told them all so. It’s a wonder they didn’t kill him.

How do I cope?

For me, it is about the encouragement of friends and family. I live for the texts and sweet gestures that tell me that I am cared for and thought of. I realize that everyone is busy with their own lives, but I need them so that I don’t lose my mind. This week I received coffee, sweet treats, a gas card, and a lunch visit from a good friend. He received visits from friends and family and was honored at a Veteran’s Day concert, during the first couple of days. He really enjoyed the attention and it was a huge blessing.

imagesHowever, my faith is not in PEOPLE, because PEOPLE are just PEOPLE. We all fall short, but He does not. It has become clearer to me that in the end, it will be just me and my Maker. So, I am bound and determined to make sure that my relationship with him is solid. When life gets tough and I get scared, I lean in. I throw up my hands and I give him everything I’ve got. I give him my home, job, kids, and my husband. I give him my finances, pets, family, talents, and my health.

James 2:16 says; If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

I suspect that we don’t hear from some people because they don’t know what to do. We all have good intentions and we are all busy, so here are some things you can do to help:

  • PRAY for us and remind us often that you are there. If we don’t hear from you, we assume that we are “out of sight, out of mind”.
  • WRITE. We really enjoy notes, cards, and emails. Tell us about what is going on in your life and add pictures. We are very isolated and don’t get out much. We love to see what others are doing.
  • STOP IN. You don’t have to stay long, but we just love seeing people. The best time to visit him is 10:00 am and noon or after 4:00 pm because he needs to nap every day.
  • CALL. He doesn’t use his cell phone much anymore, but he always answers the house phone.
  • COME get him. Take him to a Men’s Breakfast, to a local ball game, or fishing.
  • INVITE us for a visit. We would love to come see you or watch your child play a game.
  • BE THERE. It doesn’t matter what you do. Something is better than nothing. We just need to hear from people, and know that we matter to you.
  • BE FLEXIBLE. Sometimes he doesn’t have patience. Sometimes he is too tired. Sometimes he will turn you down. It is part of the package. Just keep asking. It means a lot to be asked, even if he just can’t bring himself to do it.
  • When in doubt, offer coffee, sweet treats and stop in for a short visit. We all need a friend with an ear and a strong shoulder. Maybe we can be a blessing to you as well.

In the end, I want to be sure that I become a more attentive human, who actively prays and helps others because of my own experiences. May I be an example of God’s commitment and never-ending love, in all that I do and say. May this time of testing and trials not be a waste and that I learn the lessons that God has put in my path. May I walk in faith, with my shoulders squared and my head held high, knowing that He is handling it all, even the small stuff.