It’s 4:30 a.m. and I am wide awake. I have been since 2:30 a.m. when we found my father-in-law on his bedroom floor, where he had fallen at some point on his way to the bathroom. We just brought him home from the hospital on Saturday. A week’s worth of tests brought lots of news.
Alzheimer’s, dementia, TIA’s, and a significant stroke some time in the past were part of the diagnosis. Parkinson’s and other related issues only complicated matters. 24/7 care—shouldn’t be left alone—home health care—all these bring a fresh sense of reality to this season of life. It’s a significant change for us—even more so for him. A dignified man who spent many of his years caring for others with health issues, he is now reduced to relying exclusively on others for bathing, personal hygiene, dressing, meals, and business.
Five times Susan and I have had such change in life responsibility. Three times we came home from the hospital with a little bundle of joy, full of burps, hiccups, coos and smiles. Life was never the same after they came—each one bringing something different to the family.
The fourth time was when we brought our daughter and her newborn baby home to live with us for a season. As Kathy worked on her college degree, we helped share the responsibility of that first grandchild.
And now, a father joins our household, changing our life for a season. As I’ve reflected this past week, I’ve prayed, “Lord, help us to know how to make the right medical decisions. Medicare and insurance are so complicated and life is already full. Grant us access to the right ‘counselors’ that will guide us. Lead us to the right medical personnel—home health care and other folks who know how to lift the load and make life manageable for Mr. Cooke and for Susan. Keep the tension of ongoing anxiety, perplexity and change from driving wedges between Susan and me. Grant us peace, calm and contentment with this season of our life. Help us learn so that we might use our life lessons to help others along their way. Forgive our inability to sympathize with others who have undergone life-changing experiences.”
What’s that I hear? The walker, headed for the bathroom. I’d better go make sure he gets there safely. I think I also hear chunks of my ‘comfortable life’ falling away as God keeps chiseling. He says that there is a masterpiece inside of me, and He keeps looking for it, sanding and shaping, molding and making, season by season of this sojourn called life!