"...and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death;there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.'" Revelation 21:4-5
The last several weeks have been tough for lots of reasons. I've not written since mid-March because I've been busy, distracted, sad, angry, worried, lazy, depressed, exhausted or not in the mood. But I'm a joyful person. I'm optimistic and strong. I'm stubborn and tenacious. However, I sometimes reach a limit of what I can handle, and the last several weeks have exceeded my limit.
Billy is about the same...maybe slower and not as steady on his feet, but he's still walking, talking very little (but talking), smiling, and recognizing those closest to him. I see him five or six times a week when I feed him supper at 5:00 in the evening. I take him to church on Saturday evening, and we go to dinner with friends or family afterwards. Most days I visit, I leave with a smile and a warm heart, but if I allow myself to look at him and think about our relationship now, I get sad and teary-eyed immediately. I sit there beside him, and I just long to talk to him about my day or about my parents or about some silly thing that bothers me. It makes my heart hurt to see him walk so slowly, to watch his hand shake as he tries to get a bite of food in his mouth.
My stress level has been much higher recently due to all that goes with the operation of school in the spring, but this entire year has been more difficult than usual. As a campus, and as an administrator, we've had an unusual amount of issues. Some have stunned me. Some have disgusted me. All have exhausted me.
This past fall my daughter and son-in-law moved in with me. It helped them and me financially, and after several months we decided it worked out well enough that we plan to continue the arrangement for a while. We also decided we could use a house with one more bedroom, and it so happened that our landlord (great guy) had one coming available. So during the busiest time of the school year, we decided to move to another house. I don't know what I was thinking at that time, but at some point in a few months, I'm sure I'll be happy that we did it. At the moment, I am looking at my room with boxes lining the blank walls and wishing I had labeled said boxes better. I need to locate my clock radio.
My sister and I have taken turns shuttling my mom (with Dad joining us) back and forth to doctor's appointments. She's doing well and getting stronger each day. She has a scan in the next few weeks, and she and the oncologist will determine together if she will undergo more chemo. We pray she will not need it. A few months ago, my Aunt Pat, Mom's younger sister, was having severe pain in her lower abdomen. My uncle took her to the ER, and by that evening, she had a diagnosis of ovarian cancer...on the same side and in the same area as my mom's cancer. The tumor was pressing against her ureter (just as Mom's had), and her kidney was not functioning properly (like Mom). The two differences for my aunt are that her cancer is more advanced, and she has the complication of Parkinson's Disease. She began chemo before even leaving the hospital. It's been very difficult on her, and after her first round, she ended up back in the hospital. Please keep Aunt Pat in your prayers. I hate cancer and Alzheimer's.
So far the theme of this post has not followed my title, and this is where I tell you that God has never let go of me in all of this. I have been blessed over and over. When we moved out of the other house, four beautiful ladies in my small group from church took on the task of cleaning the house...not an enviable job. Last week, after we had just completed the moving of stuff from one house to the other, I received a call from a dear friend in Midland where we lived for almost 20 years before moving back to this area. She told me that she and two other sweet friends were coming to see me the next day. She missed me, knew we had just moved and would come help me with unpacking. I was thrilled to see them. They arrived on Monday evening, and after we had eaten dinner, she handed me a newspaper clipping and wanted me to read the ad another friend had written for a garage sale they all had together. I thought it a bit odd, but we've done stranger things. The ad was pretty typical of garage sale ads until the end where it said that all proceeds would go to a friend with Alzheimer's. It seems that the life group Billy and I were a part of for many years wanted to do something to help us. They knew I still had a hefty bill at the nursing home to take care of along with Billy's dental bills. Many people donated items to the garage sale and others just donated money. I'm still amazed at the goodness of so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. We received enough money to take care of the nursing home in full and pay most of the dental bill. Have you ever been so grateful that you don't even know how to properly thank someone? I am at a loss for words...not a frequent problem for me. While they were here, they paid a visit to Billy, and he was obviously thrilled.
Another huge blessing has been the worship time I've shared with Billy and our friends and family. We've been studying Revelation the last several weeks, and when we came to Chapter 21, and our minister honed in on the promise from God that heaven will be a glorious place with constant praise and worship. But the best part of that chapter to me is that we will be made new. Billy will be his best non-Alzheimer's self. No more tears. No more pain. Lord, come quickly.
It's time for a renewal of my spirit and my attitude. I have allowed what goes on around me to determine my actions and my outlook. Will I still get sad about Billy? Of course. Will bad things still happen to those I love? Yep. But I choose hope, and I choose to stand on the promises of God.