(You're singing this, aren't you Val and Sandra?) (And anyone else born in the '60's)
... and there you have, The Facts Of Life...
Clint is going to Africa in January for two weeks on a mission's trip. He and the Mission's Pastor from his church are joining a team from 3 other churches to look into the possibility of setting up a dental clinic in Guana. Clint, who brushes his teeth weekly, has been invited to join them.
Because of his vast experience at dentist's offices? (He decided to boycott brushing for 6 months in grade 8, believing it was a conspiracy between dentists and moms... a denial, control issue thing. The following 6 months we spent every other Thursday in the dentist's office getting cavities filled. He showed us. )
Because he is eager to use pliers in someone's mouth?
Because he can knot macrame plant hangers with dental floss?
Because maybe, he, like his mother, can generate a flowing fountain of toothpaste foam when brushing?
All worthy, valid reasons to invite the boy, but no.
No, he was asked to go so that he could VIDEO TAPE the trip.
Imagine. A missions trip where a person can do what they're passionate about. What they're good at. Where they can use the gifts that God has given them.
He's excited. And confident that he can do his job well.
(Outside my office window ... I park under these trees everyday ...)
And More Good:
Max and Drew have been invited to join their dad, lil bro and other mom in January on a trip to an all-inclusive vacation in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.They'll visit a pyramid, swim in bright blue ocean water and eat all they want.
They're pretty excited.
And, (can you believe it, there's) Still MORE Good:
I have a friend who owns a vacation home in Puerto Vallarta. And she invited ME to come visit her.
How very very spoiled I feel.
I was giddy yesterday when I booked my ticket.
Holy cow, I can hardly wait.
These are the facts of life. You take the good, the more good and the still more good ...and you take the bad:
I started reading information this evening because it's best to know.
To know what to expect.
To know how to help him cope.
To know how to give mom a hand.
To know what's happening with his brain.
To know if this is normal.
To know what's next.
Yoe Mah Leed.
No happy ending in sight.
It was suggested to me recently that I should write down all the goofy things he does ... laughing about it will help take the sting out.
So, sharing with the internet that on Sunday night, while at our usual Chinese Food restaurant, he ladeled the won ton soup into his drinking glass instead of his soup bowl, will make me feel better?
Or, if I tell the blogging world that in the summer he brushed his teeth with shaving cream, I'll be able to cope better?
Or, if I write here that tonight he called me a number of times to verify that our old Buick Electra was powder blue, I'll chuckle instead of feel sad? (Our car was in fact silver - but he can't remember that. So I assured him I'd find a photo of that car so that he could see it again. But I couldn't find one. I found lots of pictures of us in places that that ol' buick drove us to, but not one of the actual car. And I found a number of photos of our driveway, with the car parked right over there, but something - another car usually- was in the way. I was getting all agitated looking for a photo for him. He just needed to see it to put his mind at rest, and I couldn't find one. So simple. Yet not.)
How do other people deal with this stuff?
I googled, "Blogs about Alzheimers" and went to one of the first sights that came up ... it was written by a woman whose dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers back in 2004.
Her blog is called "had a dad" and she's written 145 posts over 3 years, describing the stages. Her first post was written the day after it was official that his brain was being stolen by aliens, and her most recent post, written on Monday, describes him being tied to a wheelchair, in a diaper, with drool on his chin, unable to communicate.
Yeah, so I'm pretty much just crying here tonight.
"You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have -
The Facts of Life."
Why this disease?
It's so awful. Not painful. But horrid in that he's going to lose his brain bit by bit. His ability to remember is fading. He's not going to be able to think. To reason. To read. (Oh wait, he never could...) The essence of who he is will slowly disappear right before our eyes like a not-funny magic trick.
God, how should we pray?
What should I ask you for?
Complete healing? To take this away from him? Make him better? Restore those dead brain cells? Give him new ones?
It feels wrong to ask. You've 'brought him back from the dead' a number of times already... it's like we've used up our right to ask for that again.
God, is this disease about us? Is there something we need to learn through this?
Because, dad doesn't know what's going on. He's oblivious. Which is probably a blessing.
Maybe this isn't about us asking. Maybe this is about us praising You in these circumstances. Maybe this is about me saying "Blessed be Your Name - I will choose to say, blessed be Your name."
This is hard.
And it makes me sad.
And I worry that there will be no joy in my mom's life for a long long time.
And I don't know how my family is going to be able to deal with this all. Do we have what it takes to stick together?
God please help us.
Show us how to do this.
Show us how to live with a dad who is going to need so much care.
Bring into our lives the right people to give us a hand.
God, until You tell me otherwise, I'm going to keep praying for an old-western-movie-loving, patient, gentle, Mennonite male caregiver who likes country music and would be proud to drive around in a red pick up truck and looks good in a pair of Levi jeans. For me. And for my dad ...
God. Please. Help.
What do we do next?
I commit him to You. May Your will be done.