Life is a see-saw
How in the world has it been 2 weeks since I last wrote here?
With all that has gone on, surely it has been longer than that?
And yet, where did these 2 weeks go?
Life is a very wicked see-saw! Just saying.
Not a smooth ride at all.
One moment we are up soaring with the eagles, and the very next heartbeat we come crashing down so hard that we are jarred to the very core of our beings.
Life. It just IS.
We have a new to us lady here at the resident home.
Sweet lady, but at the present time, quite a handful.
I wonder if she will calm down and settle into a routine of sorts, or if this is just her standard of living?
Only time will tell.
For now, my responsibility is to love her, care for her, and do what I can to help her - even when she doesn't want my help.
Just to be there for her, but even in that, not to be "there" too much - because she does need to learn a measure of independence that she is lacking in.
So, there's that see-saw.
I have prayed harder in the last few days than I have prayed in a very long time.
And cried more tears than I could have imagined.
My oldest grandson is our Marine.
Since February when he left port, we have been able to hear from him - not all the time, but with a little regularity. Just to hear that he's ok, that things are good. To tell him that we love him, and miss him. To hear and read his words that he loves us and misses us, too.
And then, this administration decided to withdraw from Afghanistan. And deployed almost 7,000 troops to help in that withdrawal.
Yes, my grandson was one of those.
And while I have prayed every day for him since he left for basic training a little over a year ago, the prayers intensified with this news.
Prayers and tears were sent heavenward.
And as Moses got tired in the battle of holding his arms up, so he called for those beside him to hold them up for the victory - I have called many times on my friends and families to help me pray. Not only for the safety and welfare of my grandson, but of all those who are deployed, the almost 7,000 with anxious waiting family and friends.
Then, the nightmare began in earnest on this past Thursday. Suicide bombings, and 13 of our babies were lost. 13 knocks on the doors came within 8 hours. 13 lives gone. 13 heart beats stilled. 13 families whose tomorrows are forever altered.
While I thanked God that my grandson was not among that number, and thanked God that there were no knocks on the doors for our family ... there was the gut-wrenching ache and grief for those who were having to answer the doors, see the men in uniform, and knowing what it all meant.
And the fear.
Such fear as I have not known in years. Fear for my grandson, because he is still there. And we have no idea what the day will bring. Each day it is like I hold my breath for every news cast, for every written report coming out of that area. And each night when I lay down to sleep, I am held awake with the darkness of not knowing. Fear for my daughter, his precious Momma. As she waits anxiously for a message from him. As she fights back her fears, and holds in check her tears. Fear for my granddaughter, his sister. As the missing him mingles with pride for his service. As she sees the same newscasts that I see. Fear for my son, his wife, and my grandchildren there.
I know the Bible says 365 times "Do not be afraid" or "Fear not" ... but the one verse that is flashing neon to me, a beacon in all of this darkness - "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3
When. What a treasured word to me right now.
When. No judgment. No criticism. No fault at being afraid.
And here's the see-saw.
So, here I sit on a still and quiet Sunday afternoon, hot as blazes outside, an oppressive heat.
But no hotter outside than in my soul.
So hot within me that I swear there must be blisters on my heart.
I wrote in my journal this morning that I am on overload.
I know no other word that so aptly describes how I feel on this afternoon.
The wildfires that rage across our nation.
All this that is Covid related.
The conspiracy theories that make me think of someone snatching out of the thin air something that somehow sounds plausible to them in that moment, and they run with it. People that at any other time would be rational and filled with common sense being sucked into a vacuum of thoughts, ideas, and far-fetched imaginations. All fueled by the media in one way or another.
Hurricane Ida coming ashore even as I write these words. Thousands of people unable to get out of the path of this Cat 4 hurricane.
Afghanistan. Almost 7,000 troops stationed there. 2 days left to the time given to get our people out.
The truckers are threatening a strike beginning on Tuesday in protest of Covid related mandates.
And the list goes on.
But then, there are the restaurants that are setting aside a table with 13 drinks, a folded flag, and other objects in honor of the 13 who will never sit at a table again.
People who are reaching out in love and in kindness to those in need around them.
Teachers who are loving on their students because we are living in such a turmoil filled world.
Strangers reaching out with a helping hand to put gas in an elderly woman's car, and then help her get back in the car.
Strangers paying for meals of those in cars behind them at the drive-thru's.
And again, the see-saw shows up.
I find these days there are things that I once deemed too important to live without, can be lived without.
And there are those things which used to irritate me that no longer do.
So many things, I just don't care anymore.
I don't care.
However, things that I once was able to overlook and simply look away from?
I can't anymore. Such as rude behavior.
I no longer care if you tell me that 1+1 = 5 ... I will say, "you go you!"
I don't care.
It's more urgent now to tell someone "job well done", or "you are so loved".
I absolutely crave the voices of my children and grandchildren.
But the noises of the world hold so much less than they ever have for me.
So one more time, the see-saw rears it's ugly head.
These are a few of the truths that I am living these days.
Some go deeper.
A few are surface only.
I pray more, but they are gut wrenching prayers.
When I laugh, I realize now that I actually mean those laughs, it's not nervous laughter any more.
I weigh my words more carefully.
Not because I am afraid of what anyone thinks of me -
but I know all too well how easy it is for words to be taken wrong and out of context ... and to hurt like hell when they are.
I'm enjoying my coffee more ... savoring the sips -
I listen more intently to the birds singing -
I watch the sunlight filtering thru the trees -
I truly try to pay attention to where I am, and to the things my eyes see.
I seldom listen to music that has lyrics, opting for piano worship music softly playing.
Rarely do I watch TV or movies, unless they are the old ones, like "I Love Lucy", "Andy Griffith", a John Wayne western, something that if I go to sleep on I don't have to worry about language and subject content seeping into my subconscious.
And yes, if I go to sleep while watching something? I sleep! It's usually the only real sleep and rest I get.
See-saws are not so fun as an adult.
I sit here with only about 13 hours before starting a 48 hour straight shift, and I wonder if these things will ever change?
Or has this become the new normal for my life?
Is there "normal" any more?
I will end this day with a hot shower, probably a margarita, and some tears as I pray over our children and our grandchildren, and say an extra prayer of pleading for our Marine.
Life on the see-saws.
Time to catch up
What a month it has been.
The day after I posted the last blog, was the beginning of the whirlwind.
Our Alzheimer's Lady was no better, and just progressively got worse.
A flurry of activity all around her, nurses, caregivers, family.
She became more than I could handle on my own.
The boss lady came at my calls time after time, to help get our Lady up, to the potty, and back in bed.
After that weekend, it was decided to hire another caregiver to be there at all times, round the clock - so that the primary caregiver could administer medications, and care for the other Lady as well as cook and clean.
In the midst of this severe progression down, our other primary caregiver was exposed to Covid, and placed in isolation for 10 days, with testing and while waiting on results. Which left me alone to know the medication schedule for our Alzheimer's Lady.
12 days has 288 hours.
In the 12 days after my last blog, I worked 247 hours. Round the clock, without time to step away outside.
To say that I was exhausted is probably THE understatement of my life!
The family decided Aug 6 to move our Alzheimer's Lady to an Alzheimer's unit facility - in hopes that they would be able to work with her in a way that we could not.
Sadly, she passed away a week later.
My heart was/and is broken.
In the 2 months that I had been with her so much, I had become quite attached to her, and her to me as well.
I will treasure her memory and the times that we spent together.
Yes, there were a lot of moments of frustration for both of us - but a lot of love and care between us, too.
I will miss Miss Lady.
The weekend after she left, I was required to work due to the other caregiver having been exposed.
Granted, it was an easier weekend, but still I was already exhausted! And keyed up to the point that I did not sleep, did not rest.
When our other primary caregiver was released from isolation, testing negative - thank You Lord! - and came back to work, I was given 5 days off due to scheduling changes.
In those first 5 days, I did little but try to distance myself from the job, and pray.
In the words of my momma, "I was too tired to sleep".
I really tried.
But in those 5 days, my sleep was mostly a couple of hours here and there.
I was just too grief stricken to think, or to rest.
In the first 5 days off, one of my best friends - of 45 years - died.
I cried a river of tears that day.
Still easy to feel the tears welling up inside my heart when I think about him.
I will always remember his love, his support, his sweet words of encouragement.
And I will forever treasure the way he made me smile after Rick died, when I didn't think I would ever truly smile again.
Thank You Gary - for being a friend. I love you - to the "moon" and back ;)
Not sure what it was about Gary's death, but it was like every death I had endured over the last 15 years of my life all happened again in that moment when I was told that Gary had died.
Maybe because in so many ways, he was my memory keeper of all those deaths.
He had been the solid one all those times, telling me to "hold on girl, it'll be ok", or "I'm praying for you girl, you know I am", and then his ever present phone call or message - "It's me again, Margaret! You ok, girl?"
And his "you ok, girl?" was a REAL question.
Not just a passing nicety of hello.
He REALLY wanted to know.
And I was REALLY honest with him.
The one person I always knew I could trust.
I wrote on Facebook the words that scream in my heart and mind: "Gary, how am I supposed to do this widow's life without YOU?"
Then, I was on schedule to work 2 days.
And another 5 days off - with the office trying to get the 2 primary caregivers back on schedule.
Today is my last of the 2nd set of 5 days off.
I still do not feel completely distanced yet.
Nor do I feel completely rested.
Today is Gary's funeral, that final good bye here upon this earth.
I will forever miss my friend.
Yes, there are tears again today.
I suppose some would say they are selfish tears.
I know the platitudes - "he's in a better place".
But for now, I am not.
My tears are drops of love and care - I love you Gary.
Tell that husband of mine how much I love him for me, would you do that?
Oh, and in this last month, my truck has had a squeak get progressively worse.
Finally got it into the shop to see what it was going to cost to fix the AC - too hot in Texas to be without one!
And to have them find the squeak.
$300 to fix the AC.
Another $2500 to fix the squeak.
- tie rod ends, hubs, brake pads, brakes, sway bar links, and only the mechanic knows what else!
But now, the truck is out of the shop ...
Parts are paid for.
Working on paying out the labor.
Thank you, William for allowing me to do this.
Returning to the "schedule" tomorrow.
At least for now.
The other resident house, where I began this journey, is going thru caregiver changes the end of this month.
Boss Lady says that due to how good I was with those ladies there, she is moving me back over there - unless by some miracle something happens, or doors are opened for someone to step in.
My heart is torn ... I really want to stay here with Miss V - she's so much like the grandmother I never had!
And selfishly? I have not had enough time with HER!
Lord, my life and the times of my life are not my own.
YOU are in control.
Not a Boss Lady. Not a schedule.
YOU are in control.
Do with me as You will ... where and when as You will.
Please, help me just breathe.
Trusting in Jesus. It's truly all I can do.
My heart and mind dream of having an RV.
Regardless of whether I continue working as a caregiver,
or if I go into the work camping experience as a widow.
I think about having an RV of my own - my own personal space to do with as I want to.
Lord, I wonder what Your plans for me are.
All I can do is continue to pray, and trust You.
Then work for what I am praying for.
Please, guide me in this life.
Lord, move in my life - or move me.
in Jesus' Name I pray, asking.
Well, that's a quick outline of this last 3 weeks or so.
I will try to so some fill-in's as this week goes -
Hopefully life has calmed and will be quiet for a few days.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here