I knew as soon as I heard my dad's voice that May morning that something was dreadfully wrong. Our daily 9 am 'touch base' call was usually the same pleasantries of how are you today, etc...but when I asked that his voice was exhausted and stressed. "Mom put in a terrible night"...and so it began. I went right over & knew that something was drastically wrong. The moderate dementia that plagues my mom was now complicated by something much more sinister..and at this point we weren't sure what. Our guess would be stroke.
Five hours in the ER and still we didn't know much...nor too much the next day besides an irregular heartbeat....finally we were told that they had gotten her that stabilized. That was something. Long story short we later found out it was not only a heart attack but multiple mini-strokes. Although she didn't lose use of her arm & leg we could see subtle things that weren't right. Her left slip-on shoe would no longer stay on for instance. Well that was because she wasn't feeling her foot!
The hardest part for me and dad was her confusion. We never dreamed that we would be saying, "oh I wish she had just her regular dementia'!..but we were. The confusion really complicated things and seemed literally painful for her. Which of course tore our hearts out! It was not uncommon for dad & both to spend 6 to 8 hours at a stretch so she wouldn't be so scared by her surroundings. There was one night that just as I was crawling off to bed at 10:30 (after being with her all day) I got a call from the hospital. She was so upset, agitated, anxiety filled, you name it, that they felt best if I go up. I didn't let my dad know til the next day because I was hoping he could get a decent night's sleep. It was close to 5 am the next morning when I finally got back home. After a couple weeks of that our gas tanks were getting pretty low.
I held it together while I was with her but my drives home from the hospital were solemnly alive...I know, that seems like a contradiction...I was so exhausted that I felt numb yet it was my time to pour my heart out in prayer. (that sounds very dignified when in all actuality I felt like a crying, blubbering idiot! I'm sure I was a sight for any car going in the opposite direction seeing me!) After one particularly heart wrenching day, I honestly felt like I had nothing left. I had been trying to find some shred of evidence that anything good could come out of this situation. I prayed for strength, wisdom, mercy for my mom & rest for my dad. I also gave it over to God & prayed that he help me to not try and take it back!!! Just let Him handle it. And as so often has happened in my life, by the next day I felt lighter once again...I couldn't explain it but I felt better. If I'm not mistaken my mom had a 'good day' then too (which meant only that there was less crying & fussing on her part and usually meant I got out of the hospital before midnight!)
I contemplated about the the great strides I thought I'd made prior to all this...and as the need for me to stay more at the hospital meant things at home fell by the wayside, again I was learning. You just CANNOT do everything all the time at the pace you use to do it!!! And you know what? I didn't have the energy to care that my sweeper hadn't been run! I was beginning to understand the overused saying, "Let go and Let God!" Remember I'm a slow learner? lol But I was also learning that the Let Go and Let God class 101 was one class you can't clep. You have to actually show up & you have to study! No cutting corners, NO easy 'A'....you have to do the homework.....
I don't know how it all happens exactly...maybe it's just the nature of the beast of being a woman/wife/mother/caretaker/gardener/accountant/grocery buyer/homeroom mom etc....but I've been a multi-tasker for a very long time. I fear my dear daughter has been cursed with this affliction also but since she is still young she has yet to have it all catch up with her. lol I was the same way. Invincible.
There have been so many parallels with what's going on with my mom and my own psyche...I realize that apparently God feels the need to 'fine tune' my reliance on him. That 'Let Go & Let God' is not for just with the circumstances with my mom but in EVERY part of my life...see the thing is, I thought I was already doing a good job with that?! lol Just goes to show you that we can always do better!!!
As the heavens would have it, a friend shared with me something she'd just read from Max Lucado. Max wrote, "Still we object..."But, but, but, Who is going to run the store?", "What about my grades?", "I've got my sales quota"....We offer up one reason after another, but God silences them all with a poignant reminder, "In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day. God's message is plain, "If creation didn't crash when I rested, it won't crash when you do!"
Are you listening?
To be continued........