For the last four years, I’ve become more and more involved with assisting my father with doctor appointments, getting medications, errands, etc. We have spent more time together over the last four years than I ever thought possible! He lives alone in the same house I grew up in. To be exact, he has lived there for 48 years. The neighborhood is not what she used to be! All four of us children wish he would consider relocating, but he doesn’t see any reason to.
He keeps busy with volunteering at his church five days a week. He runs the print shop for the church and their school. I’m really proud of him as he has had to learn and re-learn a variety of copy machines over the years as they have upgraded to newer models. At age 77, he doesn’t own a computer nor has he ever; yet, he uses one at the church. He has volunteered for 31 years now, and it’s good for him to have that outlet.
My mom passed away twenty years ago, and, to be honest, we weren’t sure how he might handle her death since he was so dependent on her for everything. My dad doesn’t drive, so the transition was tough. But, he has really flourished, and, overall is doing very well.
Sometimes the volume of medical appointments, etc. overwhelm me, but God continually gives me the grace and strength to endure.
I firmly believe in the Scripture that says, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land I am giving you.” ~ Exodus 20:12
Ephesians 6:2 says it this way: “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.”
One of the greatest blessings of living close to my dad again is when I watch my children honor their grandfather by helping him carry groceries in the house or pour him a Pepsi, etc. They have watched me as I help to care for him, and they see how important it is to have a servant’s heart. My dad contracted a severe case of bronchitis last October and was nearly hospitalized. His breathing was fairly labored at times with wheezing. He really scared me on more than one occasion. Because of his age, his recovery period was prolonged. I had him stay with us for a week, so I could keep an eye on him and ensure regular doses of antibiotics, etc. He really enjoyed being surrounded by family and quickly adapted to the whole being “waited on” scenario. 🙂 The kids were wonderful during this time getting him soup, drinks and medication. They knew how tired I was becoming and really stepped up to the plate. I actually believe that his recovery period would have been even longer had he not stayed with us.
Last week, he called me on average 2-3 times every day! We had to straighten some things out about a couple of his medications, but honestly, I was getting burned out fast.
I texted my siblings last week to remind them it was dad’s birthday and maybe they could give him a jingle. I thought that might afford me a little reprieve. However, during one of my near “burn out” seasons last year, I texted my siblings to see if they could call dad as I thought he was lonely. (and it’d be nice to have a break from him needing me so much) That was a mistake! He loved hearing from each of them, of course; but then he felt obligated to call me to replay their conversations! Alas, I shot myself in the foot again! 🙂
It’s a fine line caregivers walk, the line between caring deeply and burn out. He just wants to share life with me, and I understand that. I really do. It’s just sometimes I’m pretty well at the end of my rope of patience (and time). That’s when I really lean on God and His grace. I am, after all, still in human form. I have my limits, as we all do. How often I remind God of this! To which I hear quietly in my soul:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9 NLT)