On Sunday, I had a dream. I was crying in the dream. When I woke up, I was still crying. The attractive sleep mask I wear to bed was damp with tears.
It was another sad reality. The Lord is the only one who can help us manage our sorrow and pain.
My waking hours have been anguished. Over a month has passed since we have seen my father-in-law. He has been diagnosed with moderate vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law lied to us about having Dad come visit him for a vacation and now he’s saying he wants to stay with him. Appallingly, he denies that anything is wrong with his father.
Now isolated by his oldest son from all the rest of the family, we are told he and his son want no further contact from us. After four years of welcoming him into our home and heart, it is a devastating blow to our family. How can Dad just walk away?
When we have attempted to call the available phone numbers, it is apparent the person on the other line abruptly hangs up the phone. This has been the case as each one of our children have also tried to speak to their grandpa. Can you even imagine?
“Um, ok,” you say as you continue to read this post.
“Why is she sharing this?” you wonder, understandably so.
(Btw, the Hubs has given me approval to share).
As bad as the situation is (and it’s bad), God is doing something.
Several years ago, I sliced my finger on a can of mushrooms. We were getting ready to eat dinner. The Hubs was outside grilling chicken when I screamed for his help.
The cut was so deep on my middle finger, it was obvious a little band-aid would not suffice. We rushed to the hospital and there was a concern that I had sliced through bone or a tendon. When I went to the emergency room, grasping my finger to control the bleed, at one point, the physician needed to see the cut. Reluctantly, fearfully, I opened my bent finger to let him look inside.
This is what is happening to me right now.
A wound is being torn open and examined. I am both nauseated and afraid at extent of my injury.
As my finger was stitched up, I knew it would mend.
In this case, the Great Physician looks tenderly at my wound. He sees the gushing blood and the pain. Frankly, I’m utterly woozy and dizzy from the rejection and suffering. Then I am reminded, His loving arms surround me/my husband/my tender-hearted olive shoots.
I’m someone who has had her fair share of “men” issues. This crisis reminds of the many other men who have rejected my affections. Some of them never deserved my affection in the first place.
Others, had a logical reason to love me…
I was related to them.
Yet there still was and is great disappointment in how that love wasn’t and isn’t manifested towards me. I imagine some of you might empathize.
I sometimes wonder, does this earthly father miss us? Does he ever think fondly of his other two sons, his five grandchildren and his adorable great-grandchild? Does he remember the meals I prepared for him, the holidays we shared, the care and kindness we extended to him? Is all of this happening because of two horrid degenerative terminal brain diseases or is there yet another evil force at work? In a lucid moment, is it possible that he feels a measure of regret for walking away from us? Does my brother-in-law, this urchin of a man, ever sense guilt and regret over his actions?
The answers to these questions are unknown. I can speculate and pray. Some of them might be revealed to me but it’s doubtful.
So I lean on this TRUTH.
1. The Lord will heal me eventually. This jagged wound, it will take time to recover. He chose to open this wound and clean it out. We will grieve but we will press on.
2. God is my Hope. He is my lovebeam.
3. Our suffering is not in vain. Though it’s hard to imagine, the Lord will accomplish a purpose through this dark trial.
4. My Heavenly Father is the only man who has ever been 100% reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
5. The Hubs, my three olive shoots are currently tied for second place.
6. The Lord will not waste this hurt. His specialty is restoration. What was meant for evil, God will use for good.
7. There are blessings mixed in and I must be attentive to them.
This beautiful song sums it up. The tears keep falling. Thank you for praying for my family. ❤
Oh how hard! Do your best to remember your father-in-law is not in his right mind. If he really didn’t like you all he would not have choosen to live near you for so long. When my great aunt got alzheimers – there were several family members that REFUSED to believe there was anything wrong with her until things got really really bad and they were personally affected. So give your brother in law time. He will see. And probably try to send his dad back to you all to care for. It IS hard to understand people like that. I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. Remember – God draws near to the brokenhearted …
Yes, it’s hard to imagine someone being so oblivious to the astounding number of signs that there are problems. I am not surprised by this with this individual who has a questionable background. Why isolate a man from his family? This is a mystery I cannot understand on any level. Without Jesus, we’d be an even bigger mess and often times, it ain’t pretty and we know the Lord! So thankful for you and your kindness! ❤
Different story, but often the same feelings in my heart: “Yet there still was and is great disappointment in how that love wasn’t and isn’t manifested towards me.” I’m sorry for the heartbreak you, Mark, and the OS are experiencing. My prayers go with you.
Meredith, I know you are hurting also. Sometimes I’m foolish enough to pray for reconciliation and healing in our family. I want that to be that we all rally around each other and that there is peace. At this juncture, it seems impossible. I think that people are truly missing out on getting to know you since I have seen a woman with a tremendous heart and talent. Prayers for you and your pain, much love and admiration too.
I agree wholeheartedly with Lisa, Cindy. Dementia/ alzheimer’s is nothing but a very cruel, gut wrenching, heartbreaking disease. My dad had it. Longer than he let on in fact. Pretty sure he knew at first, but covered for the deficiencies until he couldn’t do it anymore. It was devastating. He was locked up inside his own world. He spoke very little. When he did, it was in general, non personal comments. Before that happened though, he did say hurtful things. That was totally out of character for my Dad. Hold tight to the good memories. Let go of that man he used to be…he is no more. Give him permission to be be/ do what he is. He can’t change what the disease has eaten away. As for family…everyone grieves differently. Especially if there is no faith in God’s plan and purpose. We are commanded to love those who hurt us and spitefully use us. That’ll happen only with the Spirit doing the loving! In the very best of relationships this kind of situation is the most difficult I can imagine. Add dysfunction to it and it gets very messy. You are on the right track. Cling to the Savior of our souls, hold tight to that bond of love you have with those men in your family. You will be their stronghold as they are yours. You are right. You will get through this. Some good will come, if nothing more than sharing comfort down the road with others. Praying for you…all of you.
Thank you, Diana. I’m sorry you have experience with these diseases. They are so deeply cruel, it’s mind-numbing at times. We do have good memories and that’s what I try and remind my husband to savor even though this evokes other memories that are deep and unpleasant. I appreciate your kindness and generosity so much! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers! ❤
Is it possible that your brother-in-law is isolating his vulnerable father deliberately for financial reasons? I don’t want to sound cynical but… sometimes even family are so much less than one would hope To me (and I know I only know a very little) it sounds as if your FIL is being manipulated. I wonder if you could get outside help, e.g. legal help, if you’re concerned about his wellbeing?
You remain in our prayers. I am glad God has shown me your blog and given me the privilege of praying for you x
Love that song.
We are going to see Mercy Me at the North Carolina State Fair in a couple of weeks. I’m bringing Kleenex! ❤
Yes, Sandy, it is entirely possible. We are not ignoring that very real chance. I appreciate your prayers more than I am able to say and am blessed to know you are going before the Lord with our burdens. You have so many of your own, I am glad we have the Lord in common. Bless you. x
Oh, Cindy! I had not realised he had gone away … as hard as it was dealing with alz on a daily basis, I would imagine this is equally hard, just in a different way. Like using muscles you haven’t used in a long time. I pray peace and hope and truth and light over you and your household! God bless you!
Yes, Sharon, it adds a unique set of complexities. What I am learning is that dementia and Alzheimer’s are incredibly challenging and our level of suffering is very comparable to others, sadly. Thank you for praying.
Sorry I’ve only just seen this. Thank you for your heart wrenching honesty which will undoubtedly bring light into a dark situation brought about by a dark, sad and destroying disease in so many respects. Praying blessings of peace, love and Gods light over you and your family.
Debs, I did not write all the things I could have, trust me. We appreciate your prayers, they are truly needed.