Monday, October 3, 2011

The year that was - Help arrives!

Part 1 - Staph infections/sepsis/hospitalizations
Part 2  - Staph infections/sepsis/hospitalizations - part 2
Part 3 - Staph infections/sepsis/hospitalizations - part 3
Part 4 - Staph infections/sepsis/hospitalizations - part 4
Part 5 - Provision
Part 6  - A second staph infection
Part 7 - Third hospitalization
Part 8 - Getting ready for my parents' surgeries
Part 9  - My father's surgery - part 1
Part 10  - My father's surgery - part 2
Part 11  - My father's surgery - part 3

And then, just like that, help arrived.

My older brother and sister arrived from Georgia.  They left their families and work behind and came to sit and stay and work and carry us all for a time.

My sister sent me home from the hospital, taking over all care for my father.  She was such an excellent nurse, much better and intuitive and stronger than I am.  (Also, she was not nine months pregnant.  That's always a bonus when you are lifting and turning and rearranging and helping a person with a broken hip learn to walk again.)

My brother took over care of the properties, completing heavy jobs that I couldn't even begin to accomplish.  He worked so tirelessly, making our parents' home safer and better equipped for their old age.  He transported our mother to the hospital to see our dad, which was a big deal as she was still in a lot of pain and still learning to walk with her new knee.

I went home to take care of my kids and spend time with them and to get ready for the birth of our new little man.  As you can imagine, it was such a relief to have the heavy responsibilities lifted for a time.  They came just in time, just when I did not know how we could hold on any longer.

Our dad was transferred to a nursing home.  We couldn't call it a nursing home, however, because that was for "old people."  He's such an independent soul.  He was there to heal from the broken hip, to "rehabilitate."  Thus, it was a rehabilitation center, and he worked incredibly hard to heal and gain strength in order to return home.   I really do know what he was afraid of.  He was afraid of entering a nursing home and of never regaining ability, of never getting to leave.  He was afraid of using up all of their money, of leaving my mother with nothing to live on.  We assured him that this was not the stage he was at - he simply needed to recover.  My sister was able to stay with us all for two weeks.  She did everything, took care of everyone.  Cleaned, cooked, shopped, dealt with nurses and medications, therapies, and wheelchairs that didn't work.

We all were committed to helping our parents stay in their own home.  I have immense respect for my siblings and the way we are able to work through the logistics of our parents' care.  I'm thankful that we do not fight, but rather work to find practical solutions to difficult situations.  They both care deeply and give of themselves to keep our whole extended family running, even though they live quite a ways away.  We are nothing alike, our giftings are not similar, but we are closer to one another than we were, even just a year ago.  They handle things that I am not equipped to care for.  I'm so thankful that although I do the day to day care that our parents might need, I am NOT alone at this stage of life.  My siblings are only a phone call away. 

We were not sure how our parents would heal from their surgeries, long term, but we were still hopeful that with the return of mobility they would be able to retain independence and good health for years to come.

Three more posts to come in this story:

  • What good things came from our tough year?  (Or, what I learned and how I worked through the anger and reconciled and gained a deeper love for God...)
  • Gabriel's birth story (The entire, exhausting day...)
  • Practical ways to help when someone you know is going through tough times


  1. I was taking some time to catch up on reading and wanted to come and read more of your story because I know I've missed pieces. I'm so sorry for all you went through during this very cold season of life but I'm so glad you're sharing it. Being honest about what you experienced and how you felt is so important for you, and for other people too - for those that love you and for those that may not even know you but are walking in some portion of the same kind of story. Your words and feelings matter and your honesty is rare but so valued. I only wish I lived across the street so I could be of some actual support and help in the midst of these kinds of times. And also, so I could just hang out with you and some coffee and words I know would never leave me. If not this side of heaven, I can't wait till we can have some version of this on the other side.

  2. Laura - you are so sweet. Thank you so much, my friend. We have both seen some difficult days - but Jesus Christ is unchanged! We both have that to hang on to, and that is our hope.

    Here's the good thing - Heaven is a really, really loooong time - and we will have lots of time to talk! :)

    Thank you SO MUCH for being here all of these years, through trials and heartaches of your own! You are a really really wonderful friend, and I am so thankful for you. (())

  3. Thank you for leaving your list on my blog. :-)
    Wow, you have really had a stressful year. I am so glad your brother and sister were able to come and help.

  4. Holly - I'm so grateful for you too! While I've often felt the sting of loneliness during these years from lack of friends in my immediate "real" life (hate that term, but you know), I've always been comforted by the understanding that friends like you are standing with me, even if it is miles away. An immeasurable gift for sure. :)