Dr Jesus Please Heal Me


Today was a hard day. They begin to blend together. One heartache after another. I find myself going off to cry quietly.
Because the flu is going around, it’s easy to pretend I have a touch of something.
My son is home educated, so I don’t have the benefit of hiding.

I’ve had sadness with my daughter. She seems like she’s slipping away from me. I feel as if I’m holding on by a thread.
I committed to pray for my children, and her especially. I told the Lord each morning as I ran on my treadmill, I would commit myself to fervent prayer.
Asking Him to “bring my daughter back from captivity. To do “whatever it takes.” Knowing perfectly well, that God hears me, and I probably won’t like the suffering involved. But I also know it’s my love for her and my responsibility for her soul, that causes me to plead with Him.

I received a sign from Him. Her life is beginning to unravel, and I ended up going to the doctor. I sprained my ankle. Yes, that’s right, on the treadmill.
Never remembering how I twisted it or turned it. I was in pain. I realized that I had been running so hard and pushing myself physically, but also spiritually.
Crying out in anguish and now my ankle is a constant reminder of her. My little girl.

Dealing with my mother is difficult as well. I received a call from the senior facility to ask me if she was going to be coming. They said that they have a spot for her but she would lose it if she doesn’t come.
She went twice, and then adamantly refused to go any more.
I was trying to brainstorm with the administrator, when I remembered how she had responded to her doctor after refusing to take her medication. I told her that I had the idea to tell him, “if he would tell her to take them, she would listen.”
It worked like a charm. He simply looked at her and said, “Honey, listen. You have to take your medicine for me, okay?” She looked at him and said, “Okay, until I go back to Wisconsin, I will.”
The doctor and I both looked at each other and smiled.

When I told the woman this, she said, “Maybe you should try that and have some male pretend to be  her doctor or something.” I said, “Yes, I think I can come up with something.”
I went to my son, and asked him to be the doctor. He was going to have a script which I would make for him and he would call my phone. I would give the phone to her and take it from there.
As I handed him the script, I had to make a few corrections-“oh, have to change that,” I said. It said, “Your daughter,” and she no longer recognizes that I’m her daughter.

I told her that her doctor had called and he would be calling back. “What is it about?” She asked. “Oh, I don’t know. He said he had something to speak with you about. “Oh, I hope I don’t have to go and see him,” she said.
As my son was coming down the stairs with his script and his phone he said, “Oh, I should get time for this under ‘Extra Curricular Activity, called conning the elderly!” At this I started laughing and could barely contain myself as I listened to him calling my phone.

Because I was in the threshold, I could hear his voice in the living room and on my phone. I really had to work hard to suppress a laugh, as I handed the phone to my mom. I looked and also noticed his picture coming up on the phone so, I carefully handed it to her. She had a hard time holding “these new phones,” anyway, so I stuck it up to her ear. “It’s your doctor,” I said.
“Oh!” She sounded excited. As I listened to him carefully reciting the words, I couldn’t help but think how ingenious this seemed. I even put references about her move to Wisconsin.”
“Yes, I noticed that your blood pressure is pretty high, on the tests I have.” The doctor said. “I understand you are planning to move back to Wisconsin and before you do this, we need a plan to get you healthy. I am authorizing one day a week at a center for you to speak with a nutritionist and get some exercise.”
I heard her say, “Oh yes, but I can’t move back yet. I have to wait until it’s warm.”
Now in a normal conversation, Dr. so-and-so would respond to that. But my son, not willing to deviate from the script, continued as if he was an automated phone message.
It did surprise me, however, to know that she really doesn’t want to go as much as she pretends.
At the end of the message he asked to speak to me. As I took the phone I continued on as if he was giving me more instructions. My son just making sounds once in a while.
After I hung up, my mom said, “I like that doctor. He’s so nice!”
I told her that this would be a day available to her to give her the physical and nutritional help to get her strong.
She was actually excited about this.
I called the administrator back and told her what we did. She laughed so hard and said, “And the Academy Award goes to….”

Later, as I was speaking about my grief at the situation with my daughter, my mother said, “It has to be so hard. You love her so much. She’s your daughter. I think that would be so hard, if I had to deal with that with my daughter.”
“Yes,” I thought. It would be hard. But the fortunate thing is that, she has dealt with many heartaches, including these with her daughter. She just doesn’t know it.
She looked so sweet again, as she said, “It will be okay. She’s a good girl.” I remembered her saying that all my life. Every time there was a crisis.”It will be okay.”

I thought of my daughter when she was young. She started getting warts on her feet. My stepson had them on his hands and they are very contagious. When he showed her the surgery he had to remove them, she was terrified.
I made a comment that, “I’ll have to take her to the doctor.” When she heard this she screamed. “No! Please mommy! I want Dr. Jesus to heal them!” She was crying at the thought of someone cutting her. She was so young. About 4 or 5. I felt so convicted at her words.
“Wow,” I thought. I haven’t even prayed about this. So I asked her if she really believed He could heal her. “Yes,” she said. “Okay, we’re going to pray.”
I put some oil on her feet as I prayed along with her.
The very next day, I noticed a miraculous thing, which had me rubbing my own eyes in bewilderment. It looked like little chalk specks on her feet. Every place which had a wart, or one just starting, just turned to powder. I began touching those little feet, and saw them drop off! I was amazed. But I remembered the Lord’s words, that “it is your faith which make you whole.”
My pastor commented, “If she has this kind of faith now, can you imagine what she’ll be like when she’s older?”

I keep standing on His promises for her life. I now feel the incredible pain which the Prodigal Father had felt, when his son went out of his home into darkness.
The hurt and concern attached to his well-being. I’m praying that I will also experience the joy of restoration.
With every painful step I take, I pray, Dr. Jesus please heal us!

Elder Swag


The greatest part of being old. You get to speak in code. Oh, the younger people think they have their very own language, i.e. Urban Dictionary. But I have just begun to realize the benefits of being old. I didn’t always look forward to it. But now I know, I’ve accepted my fate. I’m not worried. I know I have, what I like to call, ‘Elder Swag.’

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I guess it came as quite a shock, that I am actually counted among these stodgy people. I never imagined this day. I think it hit me a few weeks back, when I was in Denny’s. I sat at a table, with my son, his father, my brother and my mother. As the waitress handed us our menus, my ex husband said, “You know, you get a senior discount.”

After I finished choking on my coffee, (which was also discounted) I commented, “But I’m only 55!” “Yea, it says right here,” he began to point at the menu, and had I not needed to put my glasses on, I would have missed it.

“What in the world? That is waaaaay too young!” I said. A little irritated and somewhat excited at the same time. As if winning some kind of a prize, only to find out it was a re-gift, of a bad fruitcake.

“I don’t know if I should be happy or mad!” I said. But at that moment Rick looked at me and said, “Be happy until you’re finished eating. Then get mad.”

At this point I looked around and thought, “Hey, wait a minute! Everyone at this table, except my son, qualified for this discount.” Now I don’t feel so bad. I seem to have a lot of company.Then I started feeling sorry for the poor kid. Having such old people for parents.

Today, as I walked with my mom, she continued talking about her kids. I felt bad when she said, “she really doesn’t hear from her kids.” I tried to convince her that I am her kid. I just don’t want her to feel she’s neglected. But to no avail. She’s just not believing that I belong to her. I have been sad at times and at others amused, that she really doesn’t remember. I find that after an argument, she forgets we had one. When I place her, ‘memory patch,’ on her, I rub a little off for myself.

I felt better to finally understand that I don’t have a need for her to know I’m her daughter, as it is important that she knows, her children haven’t forgotten her. I told her this. “Mom, I just want you to know your daughter hasn’t neglected you. I am your daughter.” “Oh, come on! Do you think I’ve lost my mind?” She asked. I didn’t answer, although it was sitting at the very edge of my mouth, (no, just a part of it)

I sat and watched some shows with her later and I was laughing at all the medical problems which seemed to be an epidemic now. Or am I just more aware, since I’m a senior? I wondered out loud, “Why do all these problems come in code now? Acronyms for something which I’ve never heard of as being a condition. I wouldn’t say that the inablity to keep your legs still is a problem. If it is, my son has it too. But then there has to be a condition for being stuck in the sofa, like my mom. I’m sure I haven’t heard of it yet.

OAB-overactive bladder? Why don’t they just say, “I pee a lot? Or call it IPAL?” “Hey man! Don’t use a long word, where a short one will do.” Didn’t Mark Twain say that? My mother was laughing. She has not lost her humor. That’s good. I said, “Mom, they say that if your legs move to much, you have “Restless Leg Syndrome.” She is incredulous, as she says, “What?” I said, “Yea, I’m convinced that the doctors are making this stuff up, so they can sell medication.”

I told her, I’m sure that AARP, had something to do with this code language too. They started the whole club mentality. Like we should covet the idea of being accepted. All these ailments with the leaky pipes and things which always were normal, for old people. I guess it’s more exciting in the old conversations too. It’s like a special club and if you don’t know what the codes stand for, you sure aren’t in it! I picture an old dude standing at the entrance to the senior center, like a spy thriller, “What do you got?” Hmmm, as the old guy with his walker looks down, “Oh yea, IBS, with a side of Gert!” “Okay, come on in.”

Then they tell us that, if you have one of these conditions and are prescribed medicine, You are the one responsible to tell your doctor about all your medical history. Hey, isn’t that the doctors job? Why do we have to pay them, if we have to tell them what’s wrong?

The next dilemma is the whole Medicare/Social Security paperwork. My ex husband came over to ask for help in filling out his paperwork. Complicated more by his newly diagnosed cataracts. He said, “Don’t you think it’s kind of goofy, that when you’re this age, and you’re at the most difficult stage of your life, that you have to read and fill out all of this?” “Hmm, I said. That’s a valid point. Believe me, it’s designed to confuse. “Yea,” he said. “But think about someone like your poor mom trying to figure this out. The really take advantage of older people!” Incidentally, that’s a key strategy to point out old people which you consider much older than you. It minimizes the impact. (I do it all the time)

He sure is right about that. And it can only get worse. If I’m the one in charge of these other old people and we are all in this together; the trip to Denny’s is the easiest part of the journey. I’m thinking that the Old Fogies should have their own dictionary very soon. My mother has been telling my son for years, that, poop is not a word. “Poop deck or pooped out,” but no word such as poop!” She says. Well, I had to break the news about Al Roker’s own use of the word on national television. She was in shock at this. “See mom? It is now a part of our vocabulary. You know it is if someone like, Al Roker said it.”

In the old days, people just talked about their surgery’s and compared scars.These days the stars and football players alike, are modeling Depends. Oh sure, they say they’re not wearing them, just for advertising. (Yea, sure, whatever you say) But it won’t be long. May as well get comfortable.

We will be sitting in our rockers trying to text each other with those large print braille phones. Good thing we got a jump on the technology, so some of our abbreviations are part of normal conversation now. Since our arthritic fingers, just won’t be able to type on a keyboard and we sure want to tell our old buddies about the latest medical discovery. Which will most definitely be something cool. Like, BBS, (Butt, Boob Sag) With some great medication to tighten it all up.  Or perhaps, CFS, (Crooked Finger Syndrome) from all those fist bumps, or bird flipping, we did in our rebellious youth. Oh, and don’t forget about the PF(Purple Flurp) My son use this to describe the purple hue of bruising on our hands. All the years, of slapping our hands in ‘high fives.’ All the wear and tear, especially on those true sports jocks. How painful.

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We will not be able to hear each other, since we’re part of that, “Teenage Wasteland,” which has now become an ‘Old Fart Dumping Ground.’ I’m already beginning to see the future. When I watched the Stones the other day, I was scared. Why haven’t I ever noticed that even Keith Richards looks ancient? Okay, he has always been scary. But for some reason, he was the one person I thought I could always count on, as just having the crazy look. How could he possible become old, when he was using the medicines, long before he needed them? That was a real dose of reality. No more denying.

I’ve made up my mind; I’m signing off and filling out my AARP, before I forget what it is!

Losing My Independence


Watching time ebb away

As I watch my mother, aging, right before my eyes, I am struck by the different emotions, I live with on a daily basis.

Since I moved her into my home, a little over a year ago, I’ve battled. I battled my own anger, guilt for being angry, and sadness.

She’s one of those stubborn, old people. Yes, we’ve all had experience with them, and some are related. I watch her, as she loses ground, and she fights me in the process. There are times, I try to escape, what I am witnessing, but I can’t. I know, what is inevitable.

She rails against me, with every doctor’s visit, new diagnosis, medicine, vitamin, change, she must make. In order to keep the vehicle going. She has an addiction to chocolate, which I must monitor. I’ve told her that I’m her Warden. At this she laughs. If she buys it, she’ll eat it all. When she gets sick from it, she tells me, “I don’t like that.” As if it’s really the chocolate which made her sick. I remind her, “Mom, it’s not the candy or the chips. It’s the fact that you’re compulsive when you eat, and you don’t stop yourself. No matter what it is, you’ll get sick, if you don’t ration it.” She sarcastically answers, “Yes, doctor.”

She picks her skin raw. I watch her, as she picks on her face. It annoys me. She was just diagnoses with skin cancer, which she has to have removed this month. I tell her, “Mom stop that picking!” She tells me, “I’ll do what I want. It’s my face!” “Ok,” I say. “Abuse your body all you want. Eat chocolate until your sick, and pick your skin right off!”

Then I feel the guilt. I wonder why I don’t just walk away, before I get angry. I realize that I’m upset that she can’t do things for herself. I know at times, I feel resentment. This mixed with love, gives me a feeling of sadness. I feel it as I wake up in the morning.

Already responsible for so many in my life. I realized I have been a caregiver, all of my life. It’s not a role, that has been given to me, since my mother became older. She had given me this role, as a child. I didn’t know anything different.

Then I married a man, who acted as if I was his caregiver. At one of our group therapy sessions, his counselor asked him, “Why do you allow your wife to do everything for you?” His answer; “Because she’s so good at it.” This is when I felt anger. Isn’t part of a marriage to make your spouse feel secure in the marriage? But then, I believe, that I attracted this to me. I still remember him telling me that “he felt he loved me, even though he didn’t know me. But when he saw me with my younger brother, and the compassion which I had, he really fell in love.” Now I can understand, that this must have been a need inside of him, which drew him to me. The need for a mother. A care-giver. Thus, the role was defined, from the start of the relationship.

I suddenly come to the realization that it “losing our independence,” isn’t isolated to an aging parent. I don’t feel as if I’ve ever had mine. Always being responsible for another. The load of care has been on my shoulders since I was a young girl. I’m amazed at how all of the trauma in my childhood forced me to take on the care of my household.

Just yesterday, as I was painting my walls, my mother looked on. “Is that fun?” She asked. “Well, it becomes tedious, I told her. “Do you want to help?” “Oh no! I can’t do that!” She said. “Wait a minute, mom. Have you ever painted, before?” It dawned on me, that although my mother bought a home, when we were kids. I never saw her make any improvements. “No.” She said. “Your brother did.” “Well, so did I,” I said. “I painted my bedroom.” Then I remembered. We had done different things in the house, but she was the spectator. She never did anything. Yes, my mother never seemed involved in anything. So why would I expect her to want to do anything now? It doesn’t stop me from trying though.

I’m older and wiser now. I balance the need to give care, where/when needed. I remember a psychologist who had spoken about this with our children. “Let them do what they are capable of doing.”I apply this principle with my own mother. She has become a child.

The other day, my daughter heard us and commented. “I was laughing when you confronted grandma about eating all that chocolate. She sounded like a little kid.” “Well,” I said, “she is like a kid. She doesn’t eat a meal, when she gorges herself with junk, and then she lies about it, when I see it.”

I know, I get upset to handle all of this, and some days, I feel like throwing in the towel. Especially as she prattles on and on, about moving to her own place. I think it’s abusive to allow someone like her to live alone. And sometimes, I think, she really doesn’t realize that I have to help her with everything. If she was to be alone, she wouldn’t survive. And then, I’m tempted to allow her to try, just so she can accept what is happening. But that is replaced with a deep compassion, for her circumstances.

Last night, I had a dream. I remember it vividly. I believe this is the Lord’s way of giving me an even deeper experience, and understanding of my mother.

I had my daughter with me, and I was struggling in my body, to do simple things. Walking, talking. We were in a pool, and I was watching her and friends, throwing a ball. A man handed it to me, and I tried to throw it. My hand went limp, as I tried, in vain, to throw and watched the ball drop in front of me. “What is wrong with me?” I thought. I used to be good at throwing a ball. It must be in the wrong hand, since I’m left-handed. I switched arms. I was getting irritated with the man, although it wasn’t his fault. “Give it to me again!” I yelled. I was determined to throw it. I tried with my left hand, and again, it fell flat.

I saw my daughter and her friends look at me, with eyes of sympathy. I just couldn’t grasp, that I had lost this skill. It is the simplest thing in the world. My body just wouldn’t cooperate with what my brain was telling it to do.

As I woke, I pondered this dream. I felt the Lord gently speaking to me. “This is what your mother deals with, each day. Her anger, is not at you, but at her lack of independence.” I was filled with a deep compassion and a new feeling of empathy came over me. “Yes, Lord, I understand now, how difficult this is for her.”

It must be very similar to someone who has had a stroke, or forced to live in a wheelchair. A loss of things, which they had known, all their lives. It is a process, akin to grieving the loss of a loved one. To know we had something, and lose it. And then have to rely on others for their help. I’m not so sure, that I won’t be like her one day. Although I think, I may be a little kinder. Constantly talking about my plans. No matter how silly, they may sound. This is the way we are to live. The Lord tells us that, “For lack vision, my people perish.” He didn’t tell us that this is age-specific.

So, I don’t try to rob my mother of her vision. This is the only thing which she has left. Although, each day, when she starts to talk about this, I tell her, “Mom, this is the day which the Lord has made. We are to rejoice and be glad in it. ” “Now how can you be glad in this day, when you are concerned about the future. Let’s enjoy each day, as we live it.” This seems to help her change the topic….at least for a few minutes.”

Happy Birthday Dad!


Happy Birthday to Dad

Today would have been my dad’s birthday. I’m always sad at this time of the year. Not so much, on the date my father died. But the date of his birthday. I think, I was overwhelmed with the loss and no breathing time, before the loss of my youngest brother. Then, I was also going through a ‘stripping away.’ I had lost my job with Eastern Airlines, because of the strike and the immediate loss of income.

My ex-husband was also ill. He  in the hospital, and at the same time, the home which we were renting, being foreclosed on.  I came home from the hospital, to find a notice on the door. The owner, apparently was involved with another woman, and stopped paying the mortgage. I had called his wife, and she was hysterical. I would soon realize the same desperate feelings, of despair and hopelessness.

I remembered, being in a panic, as I was trying to figure out how I was going to feed my daughter. A little toddler. Since we were not approved for any kind of unemployment. I remember being in the Unemployment Office, and I was given the bad news. I had no pride left, as I looked at my little girl, and asked the woman, “How am I supposed to put food on the table, with my husband in the hospital, and no income?” She looked at me with compassion, as she said, “Go down to the Food Stamp Office. You should qualify.”

I went straight down to the office, and after filling out a series of papers, I was called into a room. “I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t qualify.” The man said. “Your pre-strike income is too high.” “What?!” I was so angry. “That is my “pre-strike. Which means, I’m no longer getting any income!” “I’m so sorry,” he said.

I stormed out and got into my car. I remember this as if it was yesterday. I was so low, I couldn’t breath. I was a new believer, and here I am, being hit from every side.  As I drove home, I remembered asking God what I should do. I couldn’t understand how all of this could be happening at the same time. I felt so alone. “At least, take care of my daughter.” I pleaded.

All of a sudden, I looked up. It was pouring out, and I felt my tears in the rain. Hitting my windows, hard. I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t see because of my own cries, or the torrential downpour. Then a song came on the radio. It’s words were an answer, which I heard. “If He is watching over the sparrow, I know, He is watching over me.”

It was this time which was the most miraculous time in my life. Yes, as much pain and suffering as I endured, I had an equal balance of miracles. And I’m positive, that my faith would not have grown, in the leaps and bounds, it had, if I wouldn’t have been so keenly aware, of my need.

I believe, that my feelings of sadness, He uses remind me. To point to these times of trouble, and make me aware of the Lord’s divine hand in my life. He held me up through all of my suffering.

Today, I had another argument with my mother. I told her it was important to exercise. I had gotten information for her, to help her have some socialization. She fights me on everything. Then she told me again, “It’s none of your business! I am leaving here anyway!” Then I asked her how. I was so upset. She has the plan, but she cannot execute it without me, doing everything. I have a very difficult time, with her. She is totally dependent on me to do everything, yet she tells me to ‘butt out.’

She began to go up the stairs in a huff. After trying to help her, by giving her a calendar of social events, from the center down the street, she ended with, “You’re evil!” I had already spoken with some social workers, and they agreed, she is a tough candidate, for their center. Since she doesn’t want to go. They seemed more concerned about me and the tough road I have, with her non-compliant behavior. They seemed aware of elder’s with this type of attitude.

I went into the next room to be alone. I was upset, as I asked the Lord to help me. “I am tired, Lord. I’m tired of trying to help my mother, to hear her constantly berate me. I’m angry with my siblings, who have left her in this state and me to pick up the pieces. Why didn’t they just leave her where she was? Now I’m the one to shoulder all of this. I’m trying to balance, your commandment to honor my mother, and my feelings of hurt.”

My daughter came down the stairs, and she sat next to me. “Mom, you can’t help her if she doesn’t want the help. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. At some time you are probably going to have to give her an ultimatum. She just doesn’t understand how much you are doing for her.”

I was broken, as I told her, that “Today is always difficult. It would have been your grandpa’s birthday. I’m the age which he was, when he left. And I feel alone. Especially after, what my own siblings have done.” “You’re not alone, mom.” She said. She gave me a big hug, and I was so thankful for her love and sensitivity.

In her words, I heard so much wisdom. It was a comfort to have her consoling me. I longed for this type of relationship with my mother. But she won’t allow it.

I realized that we had come full circle. The little toddler, which I was trying to provide for, was now providing for me. In ways, she didn’t yet understand. Just as my own mother, does not understand.

I said, a prayer of thanks, to the Lord. On the day, I begged the Lord, to care for my child. I felt like, Hagar, in the desert, crying out. And He reassured me, “He watches over all of us, just as He does, the sparrows.” He revealed His glory and provision, in a time when I was most desperate. And I’m reminded, with each painful experience, that He is also watching over my mother. He’s mindful of every detail of my life and hers.

So, today, I thank Him. Even for the suffering. I know it’s His hand, to refine me. As my father, was not perfect, my Heavenly Father is. This is a day to memorialize my father and to remember the good things that my Heavenly Father has done. And it was during these times of darkness, which I had grown in my relationship to Him. So today, as I draw close, I will tell Him to give words of love to my father and tell Him that I understand the day He went to be with Him, was truly his birthday! Happy Birthday Dad!