A few months ago I was at my annual Gynecologist appointment. As I checked in the receptionist was going over my emergency contact info. She asked, if my current address was the same, and what my cell number was.
She then told me she has my husband Curt listed as an emergency contact.
I didn’t say anything for a few awkward seconds.
She asked if I wanted to make a change to the emergency contact.
After a long pause again with a long sigh, and I said, “Yes I probably should”
It was at that point she proceeded to tell my how she was recently divorced and had to get her ex off of all her emergency contacts. She said, “Look I can remove him easily, it’s no problem, then you are free of him!”
I said nothing
Just a simple, thanks and gave her the names of my kids to put in for the emergency contact.
I wanted to tell her He is NOT my ex, he is my sweet husband who is struggling with the horrors of Alzheimer’s and can no longer dress himself, feed himself or use a bathroom with out help. I wish so much that he was still my emergency contact, the one who can take care of me in an emergency!!!
But I just didn’t feel like getting into it on that particular day. Heck I was just thinking lets get this stinkin annual evil deed over with, after all this is the gynecologist’s office. I was not really in the mood for chit chat before hand!
That kind of thing happens frequently
It’s a constant reminder to me of loss and grief.
Just tonight as I wheeled Curt around his new skilled nursing facility exploring it a bit. I found myself meandering down a long hallway. We came to a door and several windows. I looked through the window to get my bearings as to where I was. It was then that it hit me…….
those batting cages are right across the street.
………We sat right across the street from the very batting cages Curt would take Tyler to constantly. They would work on Tyler’s swing and hitting a fast ball. Oh the contrast was almost paralyzing.
Another reminder to me of the depth of our loss.
That is how grief is, when it hits, it hits hard.
Alzheimer’s is a weird disease in the sense you are confronted with grief while the person is still here.
With school starting next week, I always grieve the loss of starting back to school with out Curt. This is the 5th year of Curt not starting back to school with me.
I start alone.
This October will be 6 years since Curt was first diagnosed.
Madi was in 8th grade running cross country, she had not even started her lacrosse career. She couldn’t drive yet and was still short (ha ha, for those who don’t know my tall girl stands at 5’10)
Tyler was in 10th grade just beginning to dream of a drivers license and was starting the recruiting process for baseball after a trip to the College World Series. He was anticipating the start of High School basketball season.
I of course was young, athletic, skinny, cooking gorgeous healthy meals for my family every night while working full time……ok ok, but you get the idea.
Here they are starting school a month before Curt was diagnosed.
Here we are this summer….a lifetime of high school and college memories that Curt does not know
Oh the life we have lived with out Curt understanding or realizing the significance of so many family events and milestones.
You see this grieving has been going on for 6 years.
We have grieved many losses;
The day Curt had to stop driving
The day he stopped teaching
The day he could not longer dress himself on his own
The day he could not longer pitch to Tyler
The day he needed help being fed
And I could go on and on.
Life has been a struggle. This summer the wrath of the storm of the last almost 6 years finally caught up with me. Early summer was hard as I was really coming to terms with the onslaught of the grieving process and all we have lost.
I have learned a lot on this journey and honestly that is one of the biggest things I have learned…that it is a journey.
Grief, struggles and difficulties are a journey.
They don’t go away in an instant.
I often pleaded with God to just make this easier, send a magic Easy button down to me that I could push and everything would be okay.
But yea, that didn’t happen.
You have to keep pressing on
Acknowledge that you can’t do this with out God, and realize God is not always the quick fix God. Struggles can last for a long time, but God is still in it.
I am reading a book by Elizabeth Eliott, “The Path of Loneliness.” She shares a passage from her journal shortly after her husband was brutally murdered in the jungle of his mission field.
” Yet I find that events do not change souls. It is our response to them which finally affects us” and little farther down in the passage…”The power of the Cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering.”
Yes dear friends, those of you who are struggling with fears, worries, grief, weariness, loss.
God will see you through it, it took a long time for me to understand this. I wanted God to fix it, heal Curt, make this nightmare all go away, make life easier.
But He didn’t
And after 5 years of struggling through all of that, I am now emerging from the cocoon of His provision. I now see that His grace is sufficient, and God’s strength is what has sustained me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
It has taken me 5 long years to understand that and believe it. I am only starting to understand the GAIN of LOSS. What I have gained in relationship to the Giver far outweighs our loss.
Hang in there dear one if you are struggling, rough days may not go away but if you keep seeking and pleading, God will see you through it. The Gain of Loss is yours to find and cling to in the storm. ❤
Curt in his new facility! The transition went really well….yes He is seeing us through it!
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
The power of the Cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering.
I just made it to the 3 month anniversary and my husband’s random act murder. I needed to hear all your words about Christ in suffering.
Thanks Camila! i am so sorry to hear of all you have gone through. May you find Hope in all of this that seems to make no sense. Saying a prayer for you now that you may find some comfort and strength to keep pressing on each day…as I know it’s hard
Thank you for your gut wrenching honesty.
You inspire me. You remind me that along the way, I have been selfish – oh poor me. My Dad had dementia, after 5 yrs. did not know us – and my husband passed at age 54 – so I relate with the loss on so many levels. May God continue to strengthen you and your family. 👍
You have no idea how your words speak to me…….. This coming November will be 16 years since my first husband passed away. My son was 5 at the time, just beginning kindergarten. He is now a junior in college. I often think of all the milestones his Daddy never got to see. Your words are so true though…….I would never have known God in the way I know Him now, had I not gone through this journey. My current husband (who also lost his first wife) and I understand that pain and joy can, and often do, co-exist. Some days the realization hits you hard, kind of like being run over by a truck, other days there is joy in the remembering. I pray for you and your children often…….and for Curt. Alzheimers may have stolen his memory and his abilities, but, it can never steal his soul…….that is safely in his Father’s hands. Amen.
Thanks Dawn, I appreciate your insight and care over the years. I know you have walked a similar journey!!
Blessings to you, Sandy. I have no words. My prayers continue to be with you. Thank you for encouraging us with God’s faithfulness.
Sam, you truly are living for God’s glory. Curt would be so very proud of you! Your gift as a writer and positively inspiring person are provoking to all of us who get to watch you live through this storm. I love you and pray God brings much joy to you along the journey.
Sandy, you are always an inspiration with your words. As my sisters and I come to terms with our dad’s diagnoses and loss of self help skills, I continue to pray that we can handle these changes as well as you have and with as much honesty about the emotions behind it all. I continue to pray for you and your beautiful family.
Beautifully written Sandy!
thank you for sharing your path. I will be traveling a similar path in years to come as I face the same diagnosis with my dad.