It’s time to resurrect this blog as I left it inactive for several years. While going through some trying times during my absence, it has been an educational experience, along with a spiritual battle.
In February 2012, I cared for my Dad until he passed away shortly after he reached his 90th birthday a month later. My Dad had a weak heart, thus ended up with a difibulator. Several years prior, he was filling up with fluids, on diuretics and ended up in the hospital. While family & friends were ready to bury my Dad and acquaintances were telling me to let him go, I was fighting for his life. My Dad still had the will to live so there was no reason to let go of him just yet. The hospital staff were “making him comfortable” as if there was nothing more for them to do until he passes on. That was not acceptable to me. I can only question what it had to take to keep my Dad from going back into the hospital every 6 months with similar problems. My Aunt had the answer. She reminded me of his current diet containing too much sodium. Bingo! With the valuable piece of information, I made a point of addressing this matter to the nursing staff, requesting a dietician to speak to my Dad about changing his diet to reduce the sodium intake. It was sad, and a little disturbing to say the least, that the doctor or nurse would not address this issue themselves. From the time my Mother & I removed all the canned goods from their house and changed the way we prepared their meals, my Dad lived another 3 years beyond everyone’s expectation.
It was a spiritual battle as well as in the natural against the mentality that people had and still have if not growing worse by thinking that it’s considered normal for an average person to live only 80 years.
Who says it’s the average lifespan? Doctors? Scientists? Society?
I am here to tell you that there is only one person who has the authority to determine how long a person will live. Only the Almighty Creator of this Universe has the authority to give life and take it away. As a people, no matter what title we earn by profession, we do not have any authority to determine the lifespan and certainly do not have the authority to take a life. We need to stop listening to the doctors, scientist and government so much and start listening to the Creator of the Universe.
I grew up in the 60s where the people cared for the elderly and respected them enough to live out their lives to the fullest, with dignity, caring for them until they took their last breath. Sadly, today, we have a cultural change where the elderly are no longer given the respect that they deserve, which leads me to my next story concerning my Mother.
After my Dad passed away in March 2012, I cared for my Mom for 4 years before she passed away in June 2017. As I thought it was a spiritual battle fighting for my Dad’s life - - that was nothing until I became a full-time caregiver for my Mother.
My Mother was living comfortably and securely in her home where my parents lived for 12 years. Living around the elderly for 16 years, I learned enough about them to know that they want to remain as independent as they can while living comfortably in their own home. In 2014, all that changed and I was blindsided by the work of the enemy as my 2 brothers came against me while trying to keep our Mother to stay with my eldest brother in the cold weather state and the second brother attempted to sell her house behind her back. I wasn’t prepared for battle and to be honest with you, I had to battle against the fear I had of my brothers before I could press forward and fight them to protect my Mother and her rights to remain in her home as long as she wished to do so.
Granted they did have the power of attorney over her but this is where people err concerning these legal matters; having Power of Attorney does not mean that the people representing my Mother can do whatever they choose to do. That idea is false! Their duty as representatives of the estate was to honor my Mother’s wishes and provide aid whereas needed dealing with matters of the estate.
When this battle first begun, I started hearing horror stories of people having Power of Attorney and doing their parents more harm by the way they were treated. I knew that I could not just sit back and allow similar treatment of my own Mother by my brothers so I chose to rise up and fight for my Mother. For 3 years, it was a very exhausting battle and stressful to say the least. My brothers no longer remained in contact with our Mother. My middle brother never spoke to our Mother again, even unto her death. After the damage he caused by slandering me and my son with her neighbors, we no longer had the support we once had by her neighbors. And to think of the damage that was done to my son after he heard the horrible things his uncle said about him. Also, what it did to my Mother emotionally, knowing how her sons treated her. It made her sick to her stomach and she had to vomit after she found out what they did to her. It was shameful! My eldest brother had no contact for about a year & half. Due to exhaustion and dealing with my own damaged emotions, I needed help in caring for our Mother, which I could not find. I had hoped I could get help from my brother, at least a 2 week vacation a year would have been nice but that never happened. After much prayer, hoping for change, my brother did make contact apologizing for what happened and we did make amends but the support was never really there. Neither was the trust. My brothers showed their fruit and it was not of love and concern for others that only comes from Creator in Heaven. They were primarily concerned about their own interests as they wanted nothing more to do with the estate, as was clearly stated in email communication, “to be done with Florida”.
Wow! I was the one caring for our Mother 24/7 for about a year going back & forth from my house to hers to feed her, clean her house and perform other duties to care for her house & property and my brothers no longer wanted the responsibility of caring for her estate as they dealt with financial matters. The only responsibility my eldest brother had was visiting 5 days out of the year.
If you think I have harbored any unforgiveness toward them, I haven’t. I have forgiven them and moved on. Yet it still disturbs me to this day that the mentality of the culture we live in today think they are in the right when they are really in the wrong. The only right thing to do is respect our Mother by honoring her wishes and just be patient enough to ride it out. I was the one carrying a full load of responsibility caring for our Mother, yet they acted like they were the ones inconvenienced.
During the 4 years of caring for my Mother, I did not get a real vacation. I was able to get away a few days when my eldest brother visited but yet, he could not understand why we disappeared when he arrived to visit. It didn’t occur to me until after our Mother passed away that it wasn’t that he was offended we disappeared when he arrived to visit, he just didn’t want to be left alone with her to care for her. He thought I was just going to continue to stick around and care for her while he would just come & go as he pleased and spend very little time with her while he was visiting for the 5 days. Are men that truly shallow that they cannot see and understand the needs that my son & I had to get away to rest so we can carry on after he left to return to his life and enjoyed his escapades of camping, hunting, white water rafting and skiing throughout the year while I was caring for our Mother with very little help from my son.
I don’t know how to communicate to the people out there but to speak from the heart. Caring for our parents is our responsible duty that we need to do as mature adults. After all, we were in our 50s yet we could not come together as adults to respectfully work together in caring for our Mother. Feeling this way emotionally and battling against my brothers was also draining because they would not budge and neither would I. I made the right choice by protecting my Mother while they were being completely insensitive and disrespectful toward my Mother and toward my son & I as well.
Caregivers do not get the proper respect that needs to be given. It is a very demanding job and underpaid. So often, as caregivers who work on a full-time basis, caring for our parents are not employed to receive income. Therefore, being unemployed, receiving very little to no income is more of a volunteer job that receives no recognition and very little to no support from family, friends and the community.
Caregivers need to be respected by the family as well as from the community, along with getting support. Yet if there is no support, it is very draining and it takes a major toll on the caregiver’s health.
I ask you to please respect your elders and be more understanding as well as thoughtful toward caregivers you may know personally or briefly encounter. Some people call it being a “caretaker”. Yeah, maybe a caretaker is caring for someone’s property like a grounds keeper but I am talking about a “caregiver”. A Caregiver is one who is constantly doing the giving and receiving very little in return. Being a caregiver is a very demanding job caring for their loved ones. They so desperately need positive support from others to help them carry on, whether it is through words of encouragement, a prepared dish to help with a meal or giving of your time to sit with the elderly so the caregiver can get away for a while. Pray about what you can do to be a blessing to the caregiver and have the compassion to step up and be a vessel to shine the light and carry your neighbor through another day through the long, difficult journey that he/she has to travel for a season.
We as a people need to be more caring, thoughtful and giving toward one another. We have been called to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. (James 1:22-24) We have been called to be set apart, meaning separate from the ways of the world. We may be in this world but we are not to be of this world. (Ephesians 5:11) It’s important to truly understand the difference and make a decision as to whom you will serve. (Matthew 6:24) There are only 2 masters to choose from; we either serve our Creator in Heaven or serve satan that runs to and fro throughout this earth seeking whom he may devour. There is no mixture. In the book of Revelations, YAH makes it very clear that anyone who will be lukewarm, He will spue out. It truly is a bondage to serve satan and be separated from the presence of Yahuah (God). The ultimate goal we should be desiring is to be in the presence of Yahuah when we die and face eternity.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.