Monday, June 27, 2016

"Sounds like you love him very, very much,"
Big Picture Education
Gary writes to a grieving wife six and half years after her husband's death.

Present tense...
It makes all the difference in the world.
Not loved...
Often older grief experts deem us stuck as we work out our affinity to remain attached to the one who has gone before us. They urge us to push through stages until we finally let go and get on with it. 
Love doesn't work like that. Paul was so right; three things will last forever-faith, hope and love-and the greatest of these is love.
I still love my parents, my in-laws, my Rob. Love remains!
Love allows me to oscillate between memories and new beginnings. Love lets me find my own way forward.. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

First day at the skilled nursing facility...May I have some towels to take a shower?
Nursing assistant replies: Oh, your next shower day is not until next Tuesday...and trots off! I won what would be one of many battles. I got my towels and relished the first hot water my skin had felt in over a week. 
Dignity! I almost lost it along with my independence during my 14 day stay at one of the best facilities in the city. 
God, what are you teaching me?
Many lessons... some through tears and frustration.

  • People who have worked hard, served their country deserve respect and the right to retain control over their environment!
  • The ill and injured need an advocate to preserve the above.
  • Those in long-term care may need more visits than when hospitalized.
  • Even 93 year olds want to go home.
  • Kindness is a healing balm, easing pain and stress.

On a more personal note,

  • I must accept the help of others.
  • I cannot always repay those acts of kindness but I can pay them forward at a future date.
  • A stash of goodies for the nursing staff makes for a pleasant stay!

The anger I mentioned in my earlier post surprised me at first. It wasn't really about the fall; it was the brutal realization that I was alone. Of course, I have friends that will do most anything for me and they did, but this loneliness was about family waiting for me at home. That's all I wanted in serve and enjoy my husband and family. That lost dream hurts worse than any broken bone. Unfortunately, I'm still wrestling with that angry grief. 
My stay forced me to stare at what the last season of my life might look like and it frightened me to the core. Even so, I saw a resiliency in many of my senior residents that I greatly admire and want to model as I age. I've been forced to look at my health habits, realizing fitness must move up my priority list. 
The Lord only knows what impact He made through me in the time I was there, but I hope the administration and nursing staff was reminded about both the big and little things that make a facility outstanding and my attempts to encourage others made a difference.

Weekends in any medical unit can be sub par, so as the first Saturday approached, I prayed for the gift of caring staff. My prayer was answered with this beautiful nurse who chooses to work double shifts every Saturday and Sunday. We've become friends who share the loss of our husbands. God is a good gift-giver!
I've been home for a week now; it's hard, but I have a renewed sense that I can get through anything if Christ is the center of it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wednesday, I'm sailing through life, working on several fun projects and even finding time to update Larksong. Two days later, I take a short break from a big stage project for my church's vacation Bible school. I shuffle off to a matinee before the holiday weekend crowds, but two steps off a soaked mat changes my life for months! My feet fly from beneath me; I try to catch my fall with my right hand, but my leg slams the floor first. Alone, sprawled on the floor in the worst pain I've ever experienced, I know immediately all my well laid plans for the summer have daily laps at the pool, no sitting on the floor with my grand boys building towers and train tracks, no trip to Disney Land!
A trip across the street to the ER reveals the head of my thigh bone broken clear through; emergency surgery awaits me.
Life really can change in an instant!
The physical pain was one battle, but the emotional trauma was something I didn't anticipate. A tsunami of grief enveloped me once again. How can I endure this without Rob? Who will take care of me? Nobody cares for me like Rob. Who's going to deal with the insurance claims? The questions and fear nearly overtook me. I awoke from surgery asking for him and then I remembered.
I spent one whole week in the hospital and then two in a skilled nursing unit to rehabilitate...and for someone to watch over me. I was reminded once again; there is no one waiting for me at home.
I was the youngest resident by 25 years, suddenly entering the world of scheduled shower days, finger exercises in the sun room and hallways filled with rollators adorned with quilted tote bags and vinyl seats. I quickly sunk into the deepest pit and battled overwhelming anger for the first time in decades. 
To be continued...