I am going to preface this post with this…for those who have dealt with mental illness with your loved ones, from a young age, please know…I am really feeling compassion for you.
We have had a tough week. We have had a tough year. Okay, my poor mom has had a tough decade.
2 weeks ago, I had a great visit with my dad. I had my three sons and one of my nephews with me, and my dad and I had good conversation, we talked about his favorite vacations, and he seemed okay.
This was on Saturday. On Sunday, the next day, he didn’t remember that I had been there with those 4 handsome boys. 4 days later, we got a call that he had a setback, and had been sent to the local geriatric psychiatric ward.
We still have laughter in the midst of tears. Visiting Dad in the pysch unit, he told us about his visit with the doctor. His words…”I saw a psychiatrist and he didn’t even look at my knee, that’s what is hurting me.”
My mom told Dad of a sweet young man who had been at the same facility as Dad, but had to leave and is now at the same psych unit as my dad. When Dad heard that , well, he said, “Good, ____ needs a psychiatrist.”
I am not always the most compassionate person. Sure, if you cry in front of me, and tell me of your troubles, I will sympathize with you. I might even cry. But it doesn’t affect me, and I go on.
I apologize. When you have a family member who is sick, or requires serious care, it takes over your life. You can hardly think about anything else. It takes over your thought processes, and your emotions, and someone can just say something as simple as “Hello” and you can burst into tears. Sickness, mental or physical, is taxing on the affected and the caretakers. Some days, I am doing well to just smile and hold it all together. In the office, I do concentrate on the person I am with, and focus on the issues at hand, but the last 2 weeks, with my Dad having these issues, I will admit, my patience has been a little shorter with the people who matter most to me…Hubs and the boys.
It’s now 4 weeks after I started this post, and we have Dad in a new facility, one a little easier to get to, and one which might work for a while. We are learning that nothing is sure beyond today; my mom and I were discussing this just last week, and I told her that Weatherman couldn’t even enjoy the snow for thinking about school “maybe” being dismissed the next day, and I kept telling him to “live in the present.” UMMM, Tina, maybe take your own advice??
Matthew 6:34 says:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worrying about tomorrow keeps me from enjoying today. Period. And my mom checked me the other day and said, “That is a sin.” She wasn’t judging me, she was helping me. And that’s where I am going with this. My mom has just had faith that has been strong that we would find a place for Dad, and that it would be what God had picked. She (on the outside, anyway) has had a calm that has helped me in coping with this stressful time. Thank God for her.
And Dad too. I visited with him last week, and I always try to talk about the good times of the past. So I mentioned the “Goose” incident of my childhood, and my dad got this big grin on his face and proceeded to even giggle a little (in case you have forgotten or didn’t know of this Capitalized Incident in our lives, here is my take on it https://wordpress.com/post/34299494/484/).
We laughed about it, as usual, and then I had to take a few calls about some annoying stuff at work, and got all worked up on the phone, then had to be very nice and apologize while talking, and Dad was listening the whole time. After I got off the phone, he first said, “I need to be making some phone calls”, because Mom and I had both been on our devices, and then he says, deadpan, “Well, that wasn’t as painful as that goose, was it?”
I laughed and laughed, yall. I am laughing and crying right now. Nope, Dad, that phone call wasn’t as painful as that stupid goose incident, which, by the way, has given me a lifelong huge FEAR of those stupid honking birds. I get short of breath if I am ever near one, and when my dad said that to me, I just felt this release inside of me.
I appreciate your reading this, friend. I know we all face struggles; Jesus faced them for 33 years and for 40 days straight up against the devil. He did that for me.
But writing about my Dad is cathartic. And he was bigger than life. And gave me my life. And still is making my life.
So I encourage you to be present…and I will try to take my own advice. But I will always remember the laugh that comes with being “goosed.” And it is good.