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Life's challenges

Jan 19, 2010 - 6 comments

Too often I sit and whine about my own life: increased responsibilities in caring for my Mom, my daughter in the hospital (still) trying to keep her baby inside where it belongs for now, my youngest son struggling with some serious depression, my own fatigue and goofy heart things going on. And then I get the reminder that it could be worse.

Sunday we met with some friends as we do every 2 weeks. Found out one of our friends died unexpectedly that morning (he battled high blood pressure for years and had 2 kidney transplants), another friend went through hip surgery only to end up back in the hospital with a bowel blockage and then the scans show that she may have cancer in her lungs. Then another friend with cancer in his lower spine took a bad fall and fell (you guessed it) right on the part of the spine affected. Talk about a bad news day. Sure makes me thankful for the life I have.

I don't know if I can post a link here in a profile but I want to share the all too brief story of my friend who passed away. He accomplished so much more than this little article states. The lives he touched at our church over all the years he was with us can never be counted. I'll always miss that twinkle in his eye, the belly laughs and his big hand on my shoulder giving comfort.

www.recordcourier.com/article/20100118/NEWS/100119751/1062&ParentProfile=1049



Family struggles

Sep 10, 2009 - 42 comments

I know many of you have sent me notes of encouragement and care. I so appreciate that. I'm trying not to hide away in a little hole somewhere but the past couple of months have been stressful and the past few days have been even worse.

Just to fill in here without putting you all to sleep with my ramblings: our daughter married just 2 years ago. Nice guy, funny, sweet, fantastic family. In the past year we've noticed a change in him, less social, avoiding us even when we stop by the apartment. We asked our daughter if everything was OK. She said yes. We want to respect her privacy since she is an adult.

Then in May he came home and announced he quit his job. Hmm. Our daughter is a teacher but has only been able to get sub jobs so far. She manages their money very well since he tends to be a spender. But now he refuses to work. Said it would give him anxiety. She told him to try some summer college courses then, find something he might like to do in terms of a career. Even then he was upset about the 2 classes. It wasn't easy going.

No summer work for her so she found a job at a local pizza place to bring in some cash. Then found out she was pregnant. Yes, they've been trying for 2 years with no luck. Talk about bad timing. Then her pregnancy made her too sick to work. Her BP was running 80/60 and she kept passing out. Even got hurt at work one time from fainting. The husband? Still hides out in the back room playing video games, complains constantly about what she does or doesn't do.

We finally got her to open up to us and it was worse than we imagined. So much verbal and emotional abuse going on. We were thinking maybe a separation would shock him into action. We spoke with his parents. They didn't know things were this bad, knew he had some self esteem problems but nothing like this. They agreed but worried about his reaction. Anytime something doesn't go his way, he threatens to kill himself. Not good.

Our daughter decided to try one more thing, ask if he'd be willing to try marital counseling. She even presented it in a way that it was for her to learn better communication skills. Nope, he blew up again, threw out the "suicide" word again. Now it looks like we're just going to have to step in, she'll come to our house, my husband has offered to talk to him since he understands depression, the parents support this because they're emotionally drained and they are willing to have their son stay with them for awhile till we all figure out what to do next.

Not an easy thing to face. And that's the story, more to it of course but you get my drift. And that's why I've been just waiting here at home, wondering what will happen in the next hour or day. I think today will be the confrontation day if our daughter agrees it's time. She can't go on much longer under these conditions. She said he's been like this almost from day one, questioning her love for him, making threats. I think she needs a break.

Again, thank you all for your wonderful, loving notes. I may not know your faces but I know your hearts and they are beautiful.

hugs to all,  irene

For Jan's family

Apr 22, 2009 - 9 comments

When my Dad was dying from cancer, the hospice folks gave us a little booklet. At the very end was this poem. It's stuck with me even after all these months but it also eased some of the pain in my heart.

Parable of Immortality ( A ship leaves . . . )
by Henry Van Dyke - 1852 - 1933


I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!'


Distress, can I de-stress?

Mar 23, 2009 - 11 comments

I'm not looking for answers or sympathy right now. I'm just needing a quiet place to put my raging thoughts, maybe put them in perspective. I find I'm getting tired of talking and thinking about my goofy life and I'm sure my friends are tired of hearing about it as well.

No way to explain everything without writing a novel and that's not the point. I just need to see things in print, get it out of my brain.

The past 2+ years have been overwhelming. My Dad was told he had end stage heart failure and had a few weeks to months to live (Nov. 2006). So he was on hospice care, we were on edge wondering if he would survive the holidays. He stabilized and continued to live although was very weak and sick. They took him off hospice care.

My Mom, who has always been critical and negative, became even more so. I tried to see it as fear or denial but her behavior bordered on cruelty at times. My husband and I would go over every week to give them a break from each other, a little peace for my Dad while I take my Mom out to get her away from him. And that's the way it went till he died last August from cancer.

Through all this I've had my own little fun and games with my stupid heart, surgery for a large ovarian cyst, friends being ill and dying and my trip to ER recently with abdominal pain and fever.

To say I'm tired may be a bit of an understatement. Since my Dad died we've been there for my Mom daily at first, then a few times a week and now down to twice a week with daily phone calls. Since I'm an only child, all the funeral details and paperwork has been left up to me. I couldn't have done it without my husband. My folks didn't like each other and hid so many things from each other. That made finances and insurance affairs a real treasure hunt. But we finally got her things in order, simplified and everything working for her so she won't have any money problems.

What's getting to me now is still her anger and negativity. She still bad mouths my Dad, tells me what a terrible person he was, that I never really knew him and how mean he was. Well, maybe he did get nasty at times. But I know for a fact she has a sharp tongue and isn't afraid to use it. The other week we went out to lunch and a sweet little boy held open the door for us. He was about 7 years old. She walked in, we followed, told him thank you and then he and his Mom came in. My Mom got real snotty and said she didn't want to sit near any bratty little kid, they're too noisy. The whole day was going along like that. At one point I leaned over to my husband and whispered "Kill me now!" LOL

One last thing: last night she called us around midnight, said she couldn't breathe, her chest hurt and she thought she was going to die. She just wanted to let us know so if we found her dead on the floor, we wouldn't be surprised. Gosh, thanks. She's done this before and there have been too many times of drama for me to get shaken up. So I talked to her, gave some suggestions, called her every 10 minutes. Finally she just wasn't going to calm down. So we got dressed and drove over to her place (30 mins. from us). We spent the night there. She did calm down of course. This morning she was ready to go get her hair done as scheduled and then go out to lunch. That was our plan for today. And that's what we did.

It's a tough line I'm walking between being sensitive to her loneliness and fears but keeping my boundaries up and keeping my sanity. She has done so many odd things over the years to get attention. It's sad really. But it's a huge responsibility to try to decide what's real with her health and what's just attention grabbing. I have to go by what I can see and measure. Last night I checked her: BP was fine, pulse and temp fine, lungs and heart sounded perfect. I chose to sit it out. Then I think, "What if there was something really wrong?" I've done the trip to ER with her before. As soon as she gets settled in the bed, she's all chatty and laughing. But then we're stuck there for hours as they have to run the tests.

OK, so much for not writing a novel. Perhaps now that I've started this rant, I can just add things on the very bad days to cleanse my mind and emotions. I can't stand to talk or think about this too much or I get even more stressed. I just figured this is a neutral place to throw up.

And for those that wonder why she doesn't socialize more, we've tried to get her involved with people so many times but she just won't go for it. She'll go to her church. . . . if we take her. She'll visit with someone she knows. . . if we're there. But she won't take any initiative on her own. Again, I'm walking that fine line between taking care of an elderly woman (she's 80) and being used or an enabler. Aaaaggghh.

Theoretically, I should feel better now. Maybe a little. Perhaps a piece of chocolate will finish the job. Yep, laugh or cry - those are my options.