Growing

When I started this blog, it was mainly written for people who were doing medical care for others with a terminal diagnosis. I had done this for years with my husband and I realized all of the emotions that came out of that and how I responded. I’ve grown through those experiences; made some big changes in my life. Whenever you go through a life changing event, you will change. Whether the change is for good or bad is up to you.

I personally grew my faith in Jesus, learning to trust in that faith in all situations. This is one thing that I would want for my readers of this blog. To learn how to take each challenge that gets thrown your way and give it to the Lord, keeping your faith, not only intact, but increased. Was it easy? Absolutely not. I would struggle with problems that came up and then found that the Lord always had a solution that I didn’t figure out.

A good example of this would be when Joe was reaching the end of his life. I had kept him home as long as I could, but the demands of taking care of him with the increasing medical problems was getting to be too much, not only for me, but for the aides that came to my house to help take care of him.

A nursing home seemed to be the only answer to the problem. Joe was so against this, it took a while for me to convince him that it was the answer. He had ended up in some rehabilitation centers after surgeries that were just plain nasty. I could see his hesitation and so embarked on finding a decent place that wasn’t too far away. I found that most nursing homes had waiting lists and there were certain protocols that needed to be followed. The waiting lists were usually six months to one year long. I knew we didn’t have that long.

I left it up to the Lord, but I continued to contact places and my son and I would take tours. We made a list of the ones we liked and hoped that an opening would happen. If not, then we would continue as we were. It was the Lord’s choice; no opening, Joe died at home; if there was an opening, then he would go to the nursing home. I didn’t stress over the decision, just put in applications and just kept on as we were.

Within two weeks I was called by one of the better nursing homes, saying that they had space for Joe. I was floored. This particular one stressed that they had a huge waiting list and it was doubtful that Joe would be admitted there. They seemed to make a point of saying that. We moved Joe in as soon as we were able and he did die after about two months of moving in. They were wonderful with both him and me as the caregiver, keeping me up to date on his condition as it worsened. It was one stress off of my life that I badly needed. I knew he was being taken care of.

Giving the decision to the Lord was less stressful for me and Joe ended up in a good place that took excellent care of him. Leaving decisions up to the Lord was a hard lesson to learn, but I have never regretted it. As I walk through my life today I still hold on to this faith and look to the Lord when decisions are to be made.

March for Life…

The March for Life was yesterday and it brings about memories of my life. I’ve been through more things then just a caregiver for my husband. As Christians, we are to care about all life and the March for Life and the Women’s March brings out that we are to care for all life.

Back in 2017, I was a part of another blog, the Lutheran Ladies Connection. This is a blog that I posted about the March for Life. We not only have to think about children losing their lives, but what about the women that get sucked into the rhetoric that abortion is OK? What happens to them in the aftermath of taking a life? In my case, I thought my life was over. I had done a horrible thing and I felt that the Lord would never love me again.

As you read this, please think about others in your life who have done horrible things. They deserve our compassion. Yes, they have sinned, but haven’t we all?

I’m Sorry…

I’ve really left those of you who have followed me just hanging. It’s been a strange few months and I have been preoccupied with thinking about where I want my life to go. I have retirement coming up and that involves a lot of care and “pre-thought”… I told a friend, it’s like stepping off a cliff! But in the end, you can only do so much planning and the rest has to be left up to God.

I used to be a very bad worrier, always “projecting” the worse thing that could happen. I’m better now than I used to be, but I still find myself all wrapped up in my thoughts and problems and I don’t think about others. In my mind I’m seeing the worst possible scenario and fighting my emotional reactions to them. When Joe was first diagnosed, I almost had an emotional breakdown when I drove past a cemetery and my thought was that I didn’t even have enough money to bury him when he died. He lived sixteen years after that day, so I didn’t have to worry, God knew the future and I didn’t.

Somewhere in those sixteen years, Matthew 6:25-34 became real to me. God knows the future, He knows my situation and He is in control. I would read these words and stand on the promise. He never let me down. I’ve fallen away from this a bit and I’ve resolved to keep these passages in mind when I’m tempted to worry about my future. Look them up the next time you feel a good worry coming on.

Find Some Help

When Joe’s condition worsened and he really needed someone to stay with him during the day I was starting to panic. I couldn’t stop working because at that time I was supporting not only Joe and myself, but also my son and his family. They helped with Joe and kept an eye on him, however, they had two young children that were autistic. This mix worked for the most part. My son and Joe didn’t always get along and the grandchildren were, well, children. They were noisy and messy. This caused some friction, but we got through it. My son and his wife were not really up to giving Joe a shower, for example.

After one of Joe’s hospitalizations the social worker at the hospital made an appointment to come over with a Department of Aging person. Now, Joe died at 58 so he wasn’t elderly, but, the Department of Aging also works with the disabled population. We live in Pennsylvania and I found out that PA loves her elderly and disabled. Through this talk I found out that we were eligible for home care aides and even a chair lift for the steps. Since they went by Joe’s income and not mine, we qualified. We received a chair lift (custom made for our steps) and daily aides that came in to take care of Joe’s daily needs. Joe wasn’t always happy with the aides (see previous post) but I was so relieved that I could count on someone to always be with him.

The help that these agencies can give you is different in each state. As I said, PA loves it’s aging and disabled but not all states do. One good place to start would be at your person’s doctor. See if they can refer you to a Department of Aging or other resource in your area. Just getting on the computer and doing a little research can help. In just a few moments I found Caregiver Resources & Long-Term Care on the Department of Health and Human Services page. Networking isn’t as strange as it sounds. You know, that friend of a friend that knows someone that received help from an agency. Keep your ears open and ask your friends and acquaintances if they know of an agency. If you are a member of a church, let them know of your need and someone there may know of a resource.

If you are in need of help, let someone know; a doctor, counselor, a good friend. Don’t keep struggling on your own. There are places you can go for help.

Trust God and…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… Proverbs 3:5

When the shut-down happened in March a feeling of fear swept over everyone. If you did go out of your home, people looked at you with suspicion and some would ridicule if you went out at all. Don’t even get me started on the toilet paper thing… (I still don’t understand it!)

Every flu season while I was caring for Joe I was aware that I could bring home a bug and kill him. Mentally, this is a really hard thing to face. I found that I was living in fear; afraid to go out (even though I worked full time) and afraid that I would be the one to bring a flu bug home. This is what everyone else is going through now.

During the years past I had to come to terms with the fear I experienced. I eventually found I didn’t need to fear, because God is in charge. He is the author of our lives, we just need to trust in him. This didn’t mean that I didn’t try to take precautions (flu shot, good hygiene, etc.) but I would live my life with care. I work with students who would come to our office sick. After they left I would be cleaning with antiseptic wipes. Yup, we had those at our work before everyone HAD to get them. Washing my hands was (an is) a habit.

Now I’m in the group of people that really should stay at home, yeah, I’m in that “high-risk” age and I do have some underlying medical issues. I refuse to live in fear. During this current flu pandemic I will not fear. I still work full time and I still work with students. I wear a mask when I have to. I wash my hands. I trust in the Lord.