Cherish the one you love.

I thought Tuesday would be a very sad day because it was the day of Chuck’s funeral.  But instead, I witnessed a beautiful tribute to a very wonderful husband, father, pop-pop and friend.  It was very comforting to hear how much he was appreciated and loved.  We will all miss him.

I actually felt relieved when he died, because having the Big A was such a long siege for him and seeing him endure it was extremely difficult for all of us.  Now he is safe and well, enjoying heaven’s peace.

As he signed all his cards to me, “All my love forever, Chuck” so I send it back to him:  “All MY love forever, Chuck!”

“These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  I Cor. 13:13   Cherish the one you love. 

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This Magic Moment

It’s been two months since my last posting but since everything has been basically the “SOY” (same old yelling), I didn’t want to bore anyone with the “SOS” (same old stories).

This week, however, has been different. Chuck was very quiet for 4 days; he slept for 14-16 hours each night without a peep. During those days, he sat quietly in the wheelchair. Then last night, as I walked past him in his chair, he reached for my hand, put it up to his lips, and kissed it! I was shocked. He can’t walk, talk, and doesn’t know my name but he knows who I am. A beautiful moment!

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” -Jean de la Bryere

Merry Christmas

Christmas is upon us!  It has been a bit challenging to get ready but all seemed to go smoothly.

Things were a little different this year.  Such as – – mixing my cookie dough on the washing machine in the basement so the noise wouldn’t bother Chuck, not shopping in any mall and deciding to give all the kids cash, missing a large family gathering which was too far away to attend, getting the timers on the window lights to go on at the same time  (Chuck was good at this) . . .   But all in all, it has been fine and I feel very blessed having such good friends and family who come and give their time to us.

After the kids bought the tree and set it in the stand, decorating it was a breeze.  (Except for lugging those big tubs of decorations in from the garage!  Heavy.  That was Chuck’s job, too.)  One afternoon when Chuck was having a bit of clarity, I pushed his wheelchair to the bottom of the living room stairs and, since there are only five steps, he could see the Christmas tree all decorated and lit up.  He seemed to smile just a teeny-tiny bit.  It was a very touching moment.  

So to you I say, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a great life!”

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given . . .and He will be call Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Mr. Mean

It seems like Chuck has taken a large dose of “Mr. Nasty” lately.  He is acting mean, looking at us meanly with a grimace, and squeezing our (the aide and I) arms very tightly.  When I asked the R.N. about this, she assured me it is coming from his Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t realize he is doing it.  But it is still hard to see him acting this way.

Chuck’s bedtimes are very challenging lately, too.  He pushes himself to the bottom of the bed or yells from 10 til midnight.  After two or three times of checking on him and adjusting his position, I can finally go to sleep.  Then I awaken almost every hour or so to be sure he is okay.  I guess this is normal after the “great escape” from the bed two weeks ago.  Kind of reminds of those “baby days.”

This week makes one year since Chuck fell into our stony barbecue pit.  That accident really made a big difference in his quality of life.  Since we never know what is ahead, we have to live each day happily, savoring the good, and forgetting the not-so-good for as it says, “The Lord will guard you as you come and go, now and forever.” Ps. 121:8

“I walk the road one step at a time, holding the hand of Jesus in mine.”  Walk by Faith Journal.  (End of my sermon!)

Thankskissing

Our whole family had the most lovely Thanksgiving.  Everyone came to our house, bringing side dishes and desserts while I provided the turkey.  It was very noisy and Chuck yelled constantly throughout the day but we are used to that and it was all okay.  I think the noise and attention stimulated him a lot because he seemed more alert the next day.  (And slept the next two.)

In fact, after changing his shirt on Friday, I gave him a kiss and put my cheek near his mouth and he gave me a little tiny kiss.  Then I asked him to kiss our daughter and she put her cheek close.  He gave her a tiny kiss, then said very clearly, “That was very nice.”  A beautiful holiday surprise.

I am very thankful for all our friends and family and every blessing that comes our way, especially a little tiny kiss!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

SHOCK AND AWE

Why am I writing this blog so soon after writing one last week?  Because I am sitting here in amazement and wonder.  Amazement like seeing that rocket in the night sky last week?  No.  Amazement because Chuck, who cannot walk, talk, or do anything for himself, somehow got himself out of his bed and onto the floor last night as I was sleeping.

I awoke in the morning to find him lying on the floor next to the bed with side rails still in place.  No one– the EMTs I had to call to lift him up, the hospice RN and nurse aides, our neighbors–could figure it out.   We all wonder how he did it.  Luckily he wasn’t hurt at all.

Now I will finally hook up the baby monitor that was given to us last summer and stuff all bed openings with pillows.  Any suggestions will be welcomed!

“I walk the road of life one step at a time, holding the hand of Jesus in mine.”  Walk by Faith Journal

 

Fun Times

We are certainly having some interesting times lately.  For instance, one very late afternoon I took Chuck up our street in his wheelchair.  I’m thinking he really didn’t enjoy it because he started yelling and proceeded to yell all sorts of cuss words the whole entire walk.  I had to cut it short after I saw a man at his barbecue grill looking over at us.  I guess he thought I was pinching Chuck or something.

Then yesterday, my lovable and capable sister stayed with him while I went down to the Clothing Ministry which is about 10 minutes away.  She had to call me to come home because Chuck had wriggled down to the foot of the bed, dangled his legs over the bottom, and hung onto the side rails for dear life so she couldn’t get him back up.  It took both of us to get him settled.  He can really be a stinker when the mood strikes him.

You never know from one day to the next what his actions will be.  One day at a time!

“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”  Prov. 4:5

 

On an Even Keel

It’s been a month since my last blog and several people have asked if anything is wrong.

Everything seems to be the same for Chuck right now. I get him out for a walk in the wheelchair almost every day, then he stays in that chair in front of the TV (which he doesn’t really watch) until evening.

He always hollers out when we are walking; it is just how it goes. One afternoon, a woman from our neighborhood was walking toward us. As she approached, she said, “Can I ask you a personal question?” “Sure!” I replied. “Does he yell like that at night? And do you get any sleep?” Well, he sometimes does yell at night, but as long as I know he is okay, I can sleep. As I explained things to her, I realized it was very nice of her to be concerned. I know a lot of people are curious about this disease and, if I can give them some info, that’s a good thing. Walking him around our neighborhood can be educational for everyone.

“May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you!” Ps.67:3

Backing Up

Some time ago, a nurse told me that with the Big A we lose our capabilities in reverse of the way we had gained them. If we had learned to walk, talk, feed ourselves in that order, then we would lose feeding, talking, then walking.

With this in mind and knowing Chuck was very limited in his abilities now, I thought he might enjoy more childish entertainment that Westerns on TV and, besides, the Phillies season has ended. So cruising with the remote, I hit upon “Thomas the Train.” Perfect! A kid’s cartoon.

Not perfect for Chuck. He actually yelled (quite loudly) and I realized we never had “Thomas” in our era. We didn’t even have too much TV. Maybe “Tom and Jerry” or “The Roadrunner.” I guess we’ll stick with “Bonanza” and the Eagles games for now. He doesn’t really watch but knows they are on. I just want him to be content.

“My trust is in you, O Lord; you are my God. I am always in your care.” Ps. 31:14

What Next?

There are times when you think all is going smoothly and then there are times when you say, “What next?”

On Saturday night, Chuck looked so pathetic as he slept that I wondered (out loud), “Is he going to die?” And he replied (out loud) without opening his eyes, “I hope not.” Unbelievable!

On Sunday night, he looked so content as he slept that I went up to bed and felt peaceful until around 2:30 a.m. when he woke me with very loud talking. I went downstairs and found him wedged between the side rail and the footboard of the bed. He had inched down to that position and was stuck. Thank God I had gone down there before he fell forward onto the floor! It took a bit of maneuvering to get him back into position at the top of the bed. Now the hospice nurse is ordering a new bed with full rails so this won’t happen again. What next?

“Faith keeps the person who keeps the faith.” Mother Teresa