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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nothing Normal About This New Normal

I think we've forgotten what normal looks like.  We live in a trailer.  No two days are the same.  My Dad is paralyzed, bed ridden and in pain on a daily basis.  My siblings and I have developed a schedule to cover the days so he's not alone, we help the personal support worker (PSW) when she needs to roll him to change his dressings and give him a sponge bath.  Every time I hug him his once strong frame seems a bit smaller.  He grimaces when he thinks we're not looking.  I cry in the car on the way home when I know he can't see me.  We're all trying to be strong for each other when inside it's hurting all of us.

There's nothing normal about this new normal.

In the midst of this we are trying to create some kind of routine and fun for our kids, Phil is trying to fit in some work, we are trying to visit our friends and we also need to do some fundraising.

I spent my fathers day evening with my Dad, my last Father's Day with him.  Picking a card I stood in the isle at Walmart tears pooling in my eyes as I read all the sentiments, many of them ending with 'I don't know what I would do without you in my life'.  I went with one that just told him how much he meant to me.

I arrived and we watched golf together, something he was able to do up until his fall last year.  He misses it.  He misses his wife, they only spend a few hours a day together since they live apart.  He misses being able to move his legs.  His pain in constant but managed with morphine.

The PSW came to get him ready for bed and I help her roll him slowly, so slowly and I could see from his face the immense pain he is in.  She bathed him and changed his briefs, we chatted about her family, she is Portuguese.  My Dad took deep breathes to deal with the pain.  I stroked his now short hair that I cut just this week and he asked me to keep doing it, it felt good.  I did it as long as he wanted, would do it all day if it would give him even a bit of a reprieve from the pain.

Nope, nothing is normal.

I realize I haven't been writing as much as I normally do.  I have journaled most of my life, since I was 13.  The period of time when my mom had cancer is a big blank spot in my journal.  Writing about my pain forces me to feel it, to face it, to make sense of it in order to put words onto a page.  So, avoidance is a coping mechanism I guess.

The question is still asked, 'How long are you here for?' and I still don't  have an answer.  The doctors gave my Dad 6-9 months 'if he's lucky'.  That was almost 3 months are here until he no longer is.

I recently had a very difficult conversation with my kids.

"Mommy, how long are we staying in Canada"
"I don't know baby, we're here until Papa goes to be with Jesus"
"Mommy, I don't want Papa to die"
"I know baby, either do I"

There has been a lot of sickness, and death in their little lives already, and I wish that I could hide them away from it, protect their innocence.  But I can't, what I can do is hold them when they cry, answer the endless questions the best I can and guide them towards the only one who can truly bring comfort and peace.

We are grateful for the time we have, grateful for the large family that can care for him, grateful for all your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you.

1 comment:

Karyn said...

Jen, As I was in the middle of reading your post, I had to stop and pray for you(and cry). Pray for your father, yourself and your family. I asked God to hold you all close as this is such a difficult time; I asked him to give you all continued strength as I know how strong you are, but we all need a little help in this life. Just know I think of you often and I am here for you in any way. xoxo