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Messages By: k2lnd2

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July 22, 2005, 9:40 pm CDT

Thursdays For Dad ; Visiting

It's always easy for me to share fun, upbeat and encouring stories, but this is one that hits the heart.  Writing about it has helped me, and I'm willing to share it to help others who may be dealing with the same situation. Sorry if it's lengthly. 

Thursdays with Daddy

 

As I approach the nursing home doorway, I can’t help but wonder, is it me he can’t wait to see or is it just the food I bring that causes him to wait by the doorway for my arrival every Thursday?  Sometimes the workers say he’s been waiting since first thing in the morning.  Funny, he can’t seem to remember much, but he always knows when it’s Thursday. But Thursday’s are reserved for Daddy and despite the pain and hurt, I owe it to my father to visit him because he waits and after all he’s done for me, he deserves at the very least one day a week of my time.

 

 

 

My father is only 59 years old and yet he has the mind and body of a 90 year old.  What exactly is it that ravishes his body?  Well, there are so many things there is not one thing to blame in his situation.  Whether mental, physical, job or war related, this is our circumstance; this is our life and one that we trust God will get us through and I’m feeling the need to share it to help others, somehow. 

 

I don’t have horror stories about growing up; my father and I didn’t always get along. Mom says it was because we are so much alike, looking at him now, I hope we’re not so much alike that this someday will be my fate.  I hate the pain I go through just watching him and now I feel even guiltier when I think about my own pain, how selfish of me.  What about him? Somehow I think he knows he’s stuck in a body and mind he can’t control.  I know my father had a zest for life, he loved to do things and loved food, well, he still loves food, but everything else is somehow lost between a world of assumptions of what’s going on and his reality.   

 

Dad seemed to be sick ever since the late eighties.  It started out with mini strokes I believe and then some Army related health issues and eventually another diagnosis of a mental illness, bipolar.  With all of dad’s medical issues, it was such a shock to our family in 1998, when mom suddenly got sick and within 30 days she died of cancer that she never knew she had.  Mom was the glue that held our family together; she was my dad’s caretaker and life support. Now I had to step in, at 28 years old and raising my own family, I had to have dad come live with us.  I became the parent to my father while parenting my own kids.   A responsibility I didn’t realize at the time that I was unequipped to take on.  

 

 

The next couple of years are a blur to me.  Such mixed emotions, grieving a mother I loved, learning I didn’t have father anymore either, not in the sense that I needed one.  I was angry but couldn’t really blame one person. Life still has to go on.  I gained so much weight during this time.  Finally there came a time when dad had to go into assisted living.  To protect myself from my own guilt my husband and I decided to put him in one 3 hours away.  Out of sight out of mind, at least that’s what I tried to do at first, but in reality that just created more guilt on my part. And an even lonelier world on his.  What was I thinking? He already lost his wife.  After my mom died, I moved him to a brand new state and now, after living with us for 3 years, I moved him 3 hours away?    I was upset that it even had to come to that, but after those years of living with my father, I really got to see the decline that my mother tried so desperately to hide from us or she was in denial herself.  I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.  But people aren’t exposable and even when it hurts, you have to take the hurt and love the person.  It took me a couple of years to realize that but when I finally did, I had to take drastic measures to move him back closer and the one thing I promised myself I wouldn’t do, was actually the best thing for him; a nursing home.  (I remember writing late one night writing to the Dr. Phil show about the guilt I felt over that). 

 

 

It wasn’t easy getting him in, the stress nearly got me to the point of denying I was his daughter. I honestly don’t know how an elderly person can understand when it’s time to put their spouse in a nursing home. The Medicaid red tape and stipulations were so stressful, my husband eventually took on most of the battles.  But finally after hiring a paralegal, still not understanding the processes, he’s been in a nursing home since March.  He now is only 10 minutes away from my home and I made a promise to myself and to him that I will visit him at least once a week. We set aside Thursdays for Daddy. And although dad is on ground up foods because the medications he’s been on for the last 10 years have rotted all of his teeth and he has esophageal problems, the home lets me bring him a special lunch every Thursday because that brings a joy to his life. I wheel him outside to our own little area where he has lunch. The nursing home grounds people planted marigolds in our little area that we visit every Thursday, and they had no way of knowing that marigolds are what my dad planted at our home when I was growing up every spring.  I think it’s God’s way of reminding me of the past where Dad did so much for me growing up and reminding me of the joy of my childhood.  As for the joy of the food, yes he loves it, but the reality is he waits for me. It’s easier for me to think he loves the food more than me.  But my dad loves me so much and even though it’s tough watching him on his bad days when he puts the straw up to his forehead instead of his lips to drink, he remembers that I come to visit him every Thursday.  It’s amazing how a father’s love surpasses all understanding and even overrides an illness that causes him to forget simple daily living activities; he still remembers I’m his daughter.  He doesn’t know what year it is and at times thinks Jimmy Carter is president, but he knows I’m his daughter.  I’m not kidding myself, I know someday that may not last either, but for now I have Thursday’s with my dad and I thank God for showing me how much I mean to my father that I can fight through the hurt of seeing him in this condition to give him the most precious thing he holds onto, which I can’t believe is me. I’m not kidding myself, some mornings I cry before I go to visit him because it hurts so much, but it would hurt even more if I didn’t go.  I'm not saying it's always easy, sometimes my Thursday mornings are filled with crying so much before I have to go and I just pray for God to give me strength to do what's right. 

 

After all the mistakes I have made with him and the hurt in taking care of him and not wanting the responsibility, he loves me and I still bring joy to his life.  This is one of the most difficult challenges in my life but working through this and seeing how much my father loves me despite an illness and despite myself is one of the greatest gifts my father can give me, I only wish he understood how much it meant and how much he means to me. 

 

 

If your in a situation too, look for your marigolds.  If your trying to take care of your loved one by yourself, sometimes the best care is lettign someone else take care of them so you can just enjoy your love one.  I visit with Daddy now, not be his caretaker, I was too emotionally involved if that makes sense to anyone. I hope my story can help, it's helped to put it on "paper."

 

 

 

"Romans 8:28"

 
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October 18, 2005, 3:03 pm CDT

Homeschool to highschool

Quote From: thorton33

I am a homeschool mom of two one which is in high school and I do not see where dr. Phil is getting his information.  I am not saying that he is wrong but I would like to know where he received his information.  My daughters may not be able to go to the prom, but she socializes very well.  We are active in our church.  We have 4-H activties.  She does have friends that she has made while being in public school for 7 years. 

Thank you  

Teresa Horton 

I think what Dr. Phil was saying, because as a homeschooling mom, I was waiting to see what he was going to say and when he stopped at 8th grade I began to be like WHAT?! But I think he was saying--- up until the 8th grade you don't have to be "concerned" as much with the socialization skills, but after 8th grade, be prepared to keep the high schooled children in groups, church organizations, sports, extra group things to be sure they get the proper socialization. So, I think he was just saying that's where we have to be more on top of the socialization than before......Makes sense... 

As a homeschooling parent, I think my kids get more socialization and "quality" socialization then they ever did in public school.  I know I'm always running them somewhere! :) Oh I can't wait until after 8th grade! That's only one year from now for one of my kids! Yipee!   

  

Lori Jennings 

 

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