Thursday, September 26, 2013


The view from our kitchen window!


         Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  I love the coolness after the hot summer, and the smell of crispness in the air.  But I think most of all I love the colors of Autumn.  The leaves of the trees that have been green gradually give way to reds, yellows, oranges, rust, and brown.  It reminds me of something I heard a preacher say years ago:

                "God could have made everything black and white, and we would never have known.  But He is a generous and loving God and He gave us color!" 

         Autumn reminds me of that.

        It was in September that Mom received the diagnosis of her pulmonary fibrosis.  The doctor diagnosing her told us that with her progression of the disease, she wouldn't live more than 6 months.  That was 3 years ago! 

        Our God is indeed a gracious God!  Lovingly giving us far more than we even know! 

        As a caregiver, I am learning to cherish each day, both the good and the hard days.  They are all a part of the tapestry that the Lord is weaving. 

        Just as summer moves into autumn, autumn will move into winter with it's changes and blessings.  And just as Mom's illness is making her frail and weak, it will eventually move into being the chariot that will take her Home.  And at that time I will look back on these days, as hard as they are sometimes, and want them back.

        So I cherish today, just as I cherish the colors of Autumn. 

        Caregiver, the moments we have with our loved ones are precious and a gift from God.  Make the memories while you can!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Caregiving 101: "A Vital Thing for the Personal Caregiver"

     Throughout this journey, Mom has been getting more and more frail, but has not had pain.  Unfortunately, she has recently developed severe back pain.  This pain was sudden in it's onset and prevents her from doing most everything for herself.  In addition to this, my first-hand helper, my husband, fell and broke 5 ribs. 

     For the past 10 days, they both have needed help getting out of bed, help in the bathroom, help bathing, help getting seated in a chair and getting up.  And the bathroom help is around the clock.

     The demands on me have increased significantly.  While I feel that I am juggling everything well enough, I realized that I am neglecting the most important thing that I need:  my time with the Lord and being in His Word.  I know this neglect effects me adversely because of the change in my attitude and my impatience when both of my loved ones need me at the same time. 

     It's easy to neglect this most vital element of caregiving.  While the immediate demands scream loud for attention, the spiritual needs of the caregiver and the one being cared for are left undone because the Lord's voice is quiet and too often lost in the clamor. 

     But the Lord is kind, patient, and loving and He provides a way if we look for it.  We all need that spiritual "refueling" for ourselves, especially the caregiver.  And as vital as medication and food for the care-receiver, they need that spiritual feeding too. 

To help restore the spiritual, I have found:

1.  Reading the Bible to Mom after she gets comfortably in bed and praying with her helps both of us to look up and remember the promises of God. 

2.  That getting both of my loved ones comfortable and taking just a few minutes in a quite place by myself alone before the Lord is refreshing and calming.  There will be time for the longer periods of prayer and meditation after the pain issues are resolved, so for now short times as often as possible are very, very good.

3.  That taking a moment to take a deep breath and whisper a silent prayer for help to the Lord before responding prevents a harsh reply.  As the Bible says, "A gentle word turneth away wrath."

4.  That physical pain is real, demanding, and overwhelming, so I need to remember that and not be impatient. 

5.  That I am not alone in this journey, for the Lord said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. 

6.  That I am loved and blessed.

     Caregiver, remember that you are vital, necessary, and doing a good job regardless of what your emotions are telling you.  Stay on your knees, and keep looking up - the Lord will guide you.