Some days it just stinks

Lately I feel as if my mind is having diarrhea  but my mouth is constipated. There I go with the bathroom references again. I would blame it on having three little kids, but the truth is I was like this before having kids. So, I will blame it on Peter.
But yeah, my mind is whirling. There are 50,000 things I want to say about 5 coherent things that come to mind. I knew this would probably happen in the wake of my dad’s diagnosis. The first few months were very difficult. I felt as if I was living an alternate reality. But in a way those months were easier than life has been now. Maybe because reality is really setting in. Or maybe I have on graduation goggles (see How I Met your Mother) and things really weren’t easier then. Maybe they just stink in a new way now. Anyway, the reality is setting in for me. As wonderful my family is at rallying together, supporting each other, and finding humor in even the bleakest situations-days like today those seem like little comfort.  The reality that Alzheimer’s really is a slow goodbye, that Alzheimer’s is really an “all hands on deck all the time” type of illness, that Alzheimer’s is the thief you know is coming, but you never know quite when or what he will steal next. And there is no way to protect your loved one from the thief. And some days it just gets a little tiring to keep saying “but look at all the thief hasn’t taken (yet). Look at all the thief left behind!” Some days it just stinks and some days I just need to let it stink a little bit without trying to cover the stench in a flowery perfume. It just makes it smell worse anyway. Some times the only thing that fits with the moment is to just say it stinks. Period. And just leave it at that while the tears wash away the edge of the moment…for a moment.
I feel exhausted thinking that I am already exhausted. I am kind of embarrassed to even say that. I mean, what have I even done so far? I I have plodded through the past 4 months since the diagnosis as if I am walking through sand. Just knowing it gets harder and the road has barely begun is exhausting in and of itself. Yet at the same time the road seems all too short. I am not ready to say goodbye. I am not ready to give up pieces of my dad. And I really feel jipped because pieces of him have been missing for years without me really knowing it was happening, or at least without a concrete reason. Throughout the months since he was diagnosed that is one of the feelings I can’t shake. I just feel like I have been robbed blind. And I feel like I am sitting back waiting to be robbed again.
So basically, it stinks. I wish I had something more encouraging or optimistic to say. Everything I said before is still true. I still believe with all that I am that God keeps His promises, that He gives good gifts to His children, that He is worthy of my trust and worthy of my praise. I still believe that God is the expert at bringing good out of a seemingly bad situation. I still count myself honored to be part of something bigger than me with the goal of bringing glory to God. I still have a hope greater than this life-for me and my dad. But all of those truths don’t change the reality that I am still human and I am still hurting. I still don’t like this. I am trying to figure out how to live the rest of my life changed but not completely marred by this. I am trying to figure out how to not have it in the back of my mind during every conversation. I am trying to figure out how to give this the emotional attention it warrants without allowing it to crowd out all my other emotions.
And I guess I am still figuring out how to grieve this the right way.
In no way AT ALL am I saying it would be easier if my dad had died suddenly and unexpectedly. But at the same time there is a different kind of challenge that comes with losing someone slowly-and not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. How do I grieve that rightly? How do I give myself time to mourn the loss of _______ with regards to my dad, while still enjoying the things he has left. How do I not waste our time but at the same time not stuff it all away underneath the surface? How do I ration myself enough to grieve properly and still give of myself to my babies, my husband, my family, my friends, my ministry? I really don’t know. But I am trying to figure it out as I go because it is not one of those things you can learn before you are thrust into it. There is no way to prepare yourself to grieve, at least not one I have discovered yet. And then there is the idea of grieving while someone is still here. It seems backwards. It seems futile. Yet, honestly, in this situation, it is necessary. I don’t want to consume myself with grief.. But at the same time there are pieces missing. There is a loss here. I don’t want to not acknowledge that. Yet I don’t want to be consumed by that either. There are still so many opportunities we have, blessing we never would have encountered if it weren’t for this awful illness. I am trying to find the honesty in this, the healthy, right spot for me and my balance. So thanks for bearing with me.
So all of that being said I continue to praise God. He is so awesome. The fact that He loves me despite myself is just amazing. He has given me and my family so much more than we deserve. For anyone who says we don’t deserve this, I respectfully say although I appreciate their sentiment that is just not true. Every breath is something we do not deserve. Every chance to laugh, or learn or enjoy each other is more than we deserve. Every glimpse of God, every promise He keeps, every blessing He gives is something more than our sinful selves deserve. And Heaven-that is certainly so much more than any one of us deserve. So, we are blessed. We are lavished with grace-even in, especially in, our suffering. We are grieving. We are coping. We are learning how to grieve and cope. We are failing and floundering in it all. But we are joyful because the joy of the Lord is our strength.  There are moments that just plain stink. And then there is the knowledge that the stench is going to grow. There is the knowledge that this road will be the longest and all together too quick a journey we have ever taken. So I hold fast to the knowledge that we do not walk it alone. God walks with us. He hems us in, behind and before. What a comfort Psalm 139 is to me today.


“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you….
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139: 1-18, 23-24

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