Friday, September 21, 2012

Both awkward and scary

10:41 p.m. Today's project was to visit Steve in the early evening after a long and challenging day.

The steady succession of excellent Bible teachers on K-Wave radio kept me balanced and joyful, as did the solution of assorted problems around the house, like my son-in-law picking up the wood construction scraps to keep his and Heidi's German shepherd puppy from chewing on them. I also had a fun Spanish tutoring session with my AP student from India; am adding a new Mary Kay team member; and best of all, overcame the emotional effects of irrational comments my dad has made, which, sadly, have become much more prevalent in number and vehemence in the last week. (Everyone I know with current or deceased very elderly parents has experienced the same thing, so I thank the Lord that I am not alone)! How glad I am for professional counsel in health, housing, and financial matters, as well as much prayer being lifted to the Lord for our family! As James 5:16b (KJV) says,

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I found it interesting that twice today, I received exhorting comments as to when and whether I should encourage our kids to visit Steve at Raincross. My hairdresser Irene, who has seen me through each step of Steve's dementia demise, and knows the tragic genetic component, said, "Don't bring it up to them or push them. It may be too hard for them right now. They know where the place is, and can go when they feel ready." I gave a lot of thought to this, for this reason: even though their dad looks the same as when they last saw him, he is surrounded by very elderly Alzheimer victims who have the "normal" version of this disease, not the early-onset kind. While all of the residents are sweet and only rarely act out that I can see on my daily visits, one can easily see that they are not in a normal state. Steve definitely stands out physically and with his relative youth, but mentally, he struggles more seriously than most of them!

Early this afternoon, my dad presented the other side of the coin, that it would be good for Steve to see the kids. I don't think I can argue with that, and as for his remembering them, sooner is better than later. Ditto for his sisters, brother-in law and his brother's widow and my dad. I am praying for the Lord to give me a peace either way, but it's not me who needs the peace on this matter--it's each one of Steve's loved ones who have to pray and decide when to go visit. And just because Steve himself found it too scary to go see his dad while he was dying of dementia-related causes, doesn't mean that a God who oversees all human affairs, cannot break a familial cycle!

Psalm 48:14 declares,

For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.

If you have ever been in a similar situation, with children of any age, would you please give me your opinion or share your experience? Thank you and may God abundantly bless you and your family!


  1. It has taken awhile to get my husband's adult children and grandchildren on board with seeing him. I do not know if they read my blog. We have to stop by the daughter's home in Plant City and she has physical limitations now. They have busy lives. My pastor told me that the son has had a real turn around seeing what I am going through the week I was on a cruise and my hubby stayed with him. We are invited there for Christmas and I am praying that my husband will still be in reasonable shape then. He says he never wants to take separate vacations again, but didn't know it was respite time (a gift) for me.

    Hugs and prayers,
    P.S. Hoping to interview you.

  2. My dad died of Alzheimer's four years ago at the age of 79. We all visited him in the nursing home where he lived the last six weeks of his life. Some of us went more than others, but we all went. I personally think your children should go visit their dad. It isn't easy for anyone, and it isn't fair to have it all on you. No one wants to see their loved one in this setting, but it is a burden that must be shared. And most important of all, it is good for the person who is in there--their father, in the case of your children.