Keeping my head above the water

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It’s been twenty days since I posted.  During that time we had a vacation in California, which was a wonderful break from all the demands on me right now.  His aunt treated us to tickets to see Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl and we really enjoyed the show.  Most of the time was spent breaking tacos with our SoCal cousins, strengthening family ties and enjoying the nice weather.  It would be nice to do this every year!

We flew the redeye home on a Friday night, getting in at six on Saturday morning.  It took a couple hours to drive home and then we managed to sneak in a nap, after which we mowed the jungle that was our yard.  In the evening, my brothers brought my father up to stay with me and we moved him into a little nook in the basement.  Over the next week I spent most of my time driving him here and there and everywhere, taking care of business (opening up an account at the local bank, working on getting prescriptions transferred, looking at and then signing a lease for an apartment two blocks from our house, to name a few things).  I cooked and cleaned and generally tried to love on my dad as best as I could.  It was heartbreaking to wake up in the morning and look out my bedroom window to see him sitting with his head down at the picnic table.  One day he told me, “I cried this morning just thinking about her divorcing me.  I’ll never understand it.”

Kevin and I went away for two days this past weekend.  Dad had moved into his apartment two days before and was sleeping on an inflatable mattress we lent him.  We’d also provided a table and chairs, a night stand and other items, along with food.  But with us gone he had little to do and too much time to think about the past and other things, and when we came home and dropped off his truck (which we had driven back from Lancaster County) he wasn’t in a good place.  Somehow it was my brothers’ and my fault that he was up here and not with his wife.  Such is the nature of brain injuries–confusion and a mixed-up memory can mess with relationships.

I told myself I was going to start to step back this week but so far the majority of my time has still been consumed with things related to his care.  I’m fortunate that my husband and family are understanding, and I have a whole new appreciation for caregivers.  It’s not easy.  There’s a conference starting at Global tonight and I am going.  I thought it started tomorrow night and said yes to running cameras, so in essence I’m losing a whole day.  I hope dad will be okay.  I dropped something off to him today and he showed me a poem he had found that his wife had written to him about ten years ago.  When I was done reading it I told him it was nice and said, “Hang on to that.”  He had tears in his eyes, so I asked, “You miss her, don’t you?”  He had to turn away.

I know God’s heart is for restoration and reconciliation.  I don’t know how He’d do it, but I believe He can.  In the meantime I am trying to help him rebuild his life.  A friend came over this week and talked to him about his health and forgiveness.  That’s going to be key to his moving forward.  I’m trying to do whatever I can but am learning that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should.  I need wisdom and discernment…and a lot of patience.  I remind myself how patient God has been with me and it helps me show it to dad.  I’d be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t tired.  It’s been two months since the stroke and there are still months of recovery ahead.  One day at a time, sweet Jesus!

OH!  And how could I forget?!  I’m a grandma again, and though I love my grandboys, I am thrilled to finally have a granddaughter!  She’s a sweetheart, and I can tell she already loves music!  Maybe I can teach her to play the guitar :)

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