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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 445 - The Beauty Of Contentment (Barbara) {FMF}


Greek..."a habit or permanent state of mind" (https://www.biblestudytools.com)

In life I've been accused of being false. False in my happiness,  false in my peace, false in my contentment.   Truth is no one is 100% any emotion.  Even if the world sees the best of you, does that make you false? Of course not.  

There are moments in everyday,  I'm grateful for the veil God has placed between me and the world.   The veil allows me to do the necessary things of life without speaking much frustration,  anger,  discontent,  disdain,  or falsehood into the immediate environment.   The veil also keeps me from knowing these emotions immediately.

Yet the truth is,  all in all,  I've practiced contentment most my life.   It was ingrained as a child.   Mom taught appreciation of expensive and beautiful things.  Enjoying the essence of something without having to possess it.  Even later recalling it and enjoying the memory.  She was teaching me contentment, how to create the state of mind that would become permanent.

Contentment once learned is easily applied to daily life,  almost effortlessly. Truely I don't even make a conscious effort,  contentment is part of my character, personal attribute.

So to some of the world I'm false,  so be it. 

At home I tend to be more serious,  contemplative but rest assured,  I'm content amongst the chaos. It would appear impossible,  yet what allows the contentment.

My contentment comes from Knowing Who I Am.   Not my talents,  not my profession at this moment in life,  not the amount of money I make or don't make, or who really knows me,  etc.
It's my Character, that has been built on an unwavering Cornerstone. I may slip,  I may tilt,  I am bend and nearly break; but Jesus is strong & unflawed providing My Home,  My Refuge,  My Safe Shelter, the Shadow of His Wings keeps me grounded.

My Contentment is His Glory inside me holding me steadfast. 

The musical accompaniment is You Are My Hiding Place...

If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 444 - Caregiver's Shame (Barbara) {FMF}

Caregiver's Shame, the Chronically Ill can reduce the shame

Folks, it is Real.   Long term caregivers experience more shame then they allow the outside world to see.   The outside world is divided into categories: public and private.   Public is any Tom,  Jane,  or child that could judge the Caregiver's home condition without enough information.  Public isn't just church,  work, or neighbor, it can include family and friends. Private is under the Caregiver's own roof.   Private includes the long-term person, kids, anyone living in the household. Private also may include the caregiver(s).

Each situation of caregiving is different,  but one fear is true regardless,  when life gets out of control, the fear of judgement creeps into the caregivers mind.

Chances are the caregiver saw months before or years before what future living accommodations would need changing,  what finance decision would need to be take care to protect assets,  what legal documentation would need to be put into place and safely kept, what lifestyle adjustments would need to occur so daily life would be easier for both the long-term person and all living in the household,  etc.

However,  the long-term person doesn't look at life through the same lens.   The focus is what they want now, the future is too far away.   And the focus of both parties is conflicting.  Neither is wrong but as with all conflict there is neutral ground.

I recognize both parties are losing much due to the illness.   I need to be straight forward here,  the long-term ill person needs the audacity to get through each day.   However, cooperation with the caregiver must be a focus as well.  If the ill person stands in the way of the Caregiver's preparation either the caregiver will stop preparing and future life will be difficult to handle,  or eventually the caregiver will move on with life and the ill  person will be left behind.

The caregiver that sticks it out, that is making due and daily life is spinning out of control, will harbor many statements of could have,  would have,  should have.   The one statement of fear is: under my current situation I can't get help,  I'll be judged for the living conditions or legally required to get them changed.   This then spirals more shame and fear thoughts.

I have to say, I have no profound fix for a caregiver faced with the shame dilemma.  I do ask that each of us consider that as we mature there may come a day when circumstances places us as the ill person, acute or chronic.   Someone will be deemed your caregiver,  how will you handle the relationship?

Jesus told us that we can do greater things than what He had done, what does that mean? If we look with His heart with His eyes with His understanding, do we see more than the angels see?

Music from Amy Grant, If I Could See (What The Angels See):

If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 443 - Barbara on Caregiver Guilt {FMF}

More from Barbara...and here's a picture of her, with her BFF, Bray...

Sick caregiver, guilt is part of the duty.

It's been a difficult week.   We live on 1 1/3 acres and a corner lot. One of our neighbors is a prominent employee of the police department with a military background.   I say this because he's typically doesn't get alarmed about much. But Sunday Andrew collapsed at the drive-in gate.   Our neighbor was on the roof and heard moaning and immediately ran to Andrew's aid.  He was not prepared for Andrew bring up blood & his legs were paralyzed, a daily occurrence we've become accustomed.  (With the high levels of pain,  the nervous system shuts down stops function to non-vital body parts and places the energy to vital body function,  this includes certain brain function.) The neighbor called 911 and got immediate response because of his position.

I was grocery shopping and received a call from the wife,  luckily I was on my way and about 6 miles to the house. Once I arrived,  education of all present commenced.   The neighbor left everything in my capable hands. Thankfully,  I have POA and DNR (power of attorney and do not resuscitate) for situations like this, of course I had to prove it. EMTs helped get Andrew into my truck using a sheet as a sling.  Through the processes Andrew kept passing out for 1-2 minutes,  something I'm accustomed.   Each time I had to win his confidence to know he was safe (PTSD).   I finalized all the necessary paperwork for the EMTs liability,  while they tried to thoughtfully console me.   At this point,  actually it is my job to console them,  they feel helpless since there is nothing they can do.   Transporting Andrew will kill him or leave his body in a state of shock that once at the hospital the health professionals would try to counteract.   Those efforts would only increase Andrew's issues and potentially he would not leave the hospital alive or in a state that I,  his only caregiver, could not handle.

So after 3 hours Andrew could slowly walk on his own with a cane, minimally helping with dog duties.  

The remainder of the week, I had to work long hours arrive home an hour before bedtime duties for Andrew.  Needlessly say,  I did not eat as healthy as my body is accustomed.  So now I have the upper respiratory virus again.  Needless to say caregiving had not been my forte,  and thankfully must things Andrew can still do on his own.

No, the guilt of not caring for his needs never goes away, ever. And Andrew's preferred living conditions makes it impossible for extended family and friends to assist. So how do I now keep guilt at a minimum?   Honestly years & years of practice and I've grieved so much all the way through these almost 16 years that part of me is numb.

I've learned how King David felt for seven days (2 Samuel 12:16-23), except mine has been extended and a harsher reality has been endured. And of course,  why Andrew's condition exists is not an action of our own but another (a botched surgery).   Nonetheless,  the grief have occurred mostly, and deliberate action of survival moves each day to the next. That's not to say,  I still get stressed,  mentally overwhelmed,  and physically exhausted. I do!

Arriving to this point is a gradual process, emotionally painful process, and a faith trying process. The key,  is to allow the depth of grief occur,  don't let others, even health care providers, tell you to buck it up or stop being a martyr.   The loss is real and the weight of duty immense.   In your grief,  you have to ask God all the doubt questions on your heart and mind,  the key is to ask and NOT  dwell.   If you must dwell,  then dwell in the shadow of His Wings and be ministered to by His angels of comfort and peace and quiet and stillness of mind. I'm very blessed that God gave me such refreshment in my sleep. 

Music from Amy Grand and James Taylor, Don't Try So Hard.

If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 442 - From Barbara {FMF}

The secret of being a long term caregiver...

I am a guest on Andrew's behalf today.  An author, I am not.  A wife,  friend,  confidante, caregiver, and provider I am. There is that phrase again,  "I am".  Why is it important that self definition is one of the first anyone gives to a group, or a new person, other than people who are proving general daily services at the grocery,  restaurant, gas station / convenience store,  etc.   In daily services we accept our behavior is enough to define us.  Yes, how we interact is our definition. Only after we are a known introduced element,  do we justify our existence.   Looky here, see me, I exist, I am real.   There's that statement again. 

In a world, a universe were the smallest element, particle, and electrical current make a daily contribution without needing recognition,  we who are made up of many of these find it necessary.  As though the definition is what justifies our existence. 

Does definition justify our existence?  Or is it how we exist that justifies our imprint on the invisible legacy we leave everyday?

I believe it is the latter. Most people,  only influence the small space around them.   Few people have immense visible global impact.  In either case,  the first step of impact starts with the small space around us. 

Funny, matter does that all day and all night long.  Depending on what matter touches a favorable or unfavorable reaction is created. Oh,  lesson 1, even positive energy can collide with positive energy causing friction and distance. This distance creates space for other interaction. Then on the other hand,  positive and negative energy can meld together and create a favorable or unfavorable new influence. Even the melding action at first has counteractive responses at first. 

We are called to be Light in this world.  Small i am reflects of the I AM. To be a positive influence in the small space around us.  To be present, and only defined by our actions. Not our stereotype.

So,  my true and first i am statement is: I Am Be Loved of God,  I accept and acknowledge His Providence in my life and No one can take that from me. 

This is the secret of being a long term caregiver. Without the Truth of our existence peace in care-giving doesn't exist. I'm not saying it is easy,  it's not.   Your peace comes from a loving response inside yourself first. Love begets love. 

Our musical selection is Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite; do know that it's about 32 minutes long, but well worth it!

Andrew is is poor shape, and would be grateful for your prayers.

If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.