Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Two Years Later

Dear Emily,

More than two years ago I was swept into my parents' aging vortex.

Nothing.

Not even raising five teenagers prepared me for the heartache, frustration,
and exhaustion of that battle.  I think of it as a battle, because I was at war
with doctors, nurses, siblings, and even the parents for whom I was advo-
cating.

Everything.

In my life was consumed by this.  My poor, loving husband watched his
wife wither into an old woman whose eyes were wrecked from crying.

Yet, here I am now, somehow on the mossy shore of the same ageless
river that once tried to drown me.  My parents are still fragile but happy,
sometimes.   I am older and wiser with advice:

1.  Before your parents lose their capacity to care for themselves, make
copies of EVERYTHING: driver's licenses, medicare cards, insurance
cards, birth certificates, social security cards, doctors, medications.  One
day every important document will scatter everywhere: in their cars, in
their shoes, in their silverware drawers, under beds, under dressers,
under water.

2.  If you can afford it, hire a home health care nurse to supervise the
dispensing of meds and to interface with doctors.  The medical world
likes to use vocabulary no one else can speak.  An advocate helps.

3.  Obtain a Power of Attorney before you need it.  Trust me, you will
need it.  It is the crown and scepter of parental care.

4.  Maintain one or two relationships to vent, whine, and even punch.

5.  Cast all your cares on the One who loved your parents from the womb
and maybe even more now that they are unable to care for themselves.

Love,
Lea

"Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying
years I will bear you."  Isaiah 46:4

10 comments:

Vee said...

Sound, wise advice...
I am only sorry that you are in the midst of this because it takes such a toll.

And, in spite of everything, I am very happy to have you pop into my inbox this morning!

Joan Elizabeth said...

So lovely to see your blog pop up in my list. Life can sometimes be so hard but it does pass and become good memories.

Being childless I do wonder who will advocate for us but either way we are in God's hands.

Sonja Goodson said...

Oh how well I know what you are describing. It is hard beyond anything we ever dreamed. I understand, and so does everyone who has been there. But most especially... God understands, as you said so well.

I was so surprised and glad to see a blog appear, even though I have been about as 'missing' on these pages as you have. Life does intervene, and it's nice to check back in and 'see' friendly faces.

Hang in there friend... so glad you have strong family around you.

Sonja Goodson said...

Just came back to re-read your words of wisdom. I already have OUR stuff all done and in the safe so some day our kids will have copies of everything. These are really good and helpful ideas and somehow we always think there will be 'more time' to deal with details.

Still miss you, so stay in touch!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I have been on your path, with my husband's parents and my mother. All have passed. It was difficult but I was grateful when they did pass that we did what we did. I know God's grace will be with us, and He will help you. I am also preparing myself for old age--you gave good advice!

Farm Girl said...

What a nice surprise to see an update to one of my favorite people and favorite blogs of all time. I am so sorry that you have had to walk this road. Having done this, I can attest to every word you have so politely written is as true.
I am glad your parents are still with you.
May God be with you till we meet again.
So glad you to read you again Lovely, lovely Lea.

xxoo Kim

Janettessage.blogspot.com said...

I don't know how I missed this. I pray for you often and wondered how things were going. I hold you very close to my heart. Thanks for the update and wise words. May God continue to guide you through this season of life. May He hold up your arms when you need it. I just recently wrote that verse out for myself, reminding me that He is always faithful!! Hugs and sorry I am so late getting here. Blessings

Lisa said...

I'm sorry you have had to deal with these difficulties but I thank you for sharing the wisdom you've gained from it. Praying for strength and peace for you and your family.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Welcome, Lea. I don't think I'm surprised to see you blogging again...you popped into my dreams some nights ago. Strange, how that happens...strange also that I remembered. Usually I wake, pray for the person and go back to sleep.
Yes to everything you've said and even more. Dave's mother died in 2008, he was the Executor yet I find myself still dealing with her estate. Dave died in 2011 and, yes, still dealing with his estate. Frankly, I just became so overwhelmed that I stopped, got behind and now have to play catch up. It seems a never ending battle.
So much of what you've written about is what I went through with my MIL and Dave; 1wifetowidow.blogspot.com is where I wrote about a lot of it. 3-ring notebooks have become my Best Friends with one for every area of life. It's a lot of notebooks but my aim is to make it easier for my sister and her sons when they deal with my leftovers.
I might add a Living Trust is a good thing and allows a great deal of privacy for the family.
Caregiving is the hardest job on earth; God bless and keep you and yours.

Rebecca Nelson said...

Lea...I've been away from blogging for a long while trying to recover from an accident last May 19th. I am finally getting back to my old life and there you are...helping each of us, just like you always have, with beautiful written words of love.

Gosh...I've missed my life and reading the lovely writings of people like you.

ONWARD!

<3 Rebecca