Where are you?

In grief, just as in happiness, sometimes the only thing which can be done is to write.  Emotions literally bubbling up and running over have nowhere to go other than out.  It is my therapy.  It is my cleansing.  It is my release.

I sat at my parent’s home last night and took a good, long look at my father.  I can’t explain the complexity of emotions which runs through my head and heart when I am in a room with him.  I feel such amazing love.  I feel palpable sadness.  My chest tightens some days when I think about how incredibly unfair and frustrating his condition is.  It has a name.  It has a definition.  The only thing it is lacking is a cure.  Cruel fate.  Unbelievably cruel. 

I talked with my mother in her kitchen last night and both of us wept.  We don’t allow ourselves that gift very often in each other’s presence, but last night it all seemed too much.  I told her that I had become very disheartened the other day when I took it upon myself to try to remember the last time I saw dad REALLY PRESENT with us.  I have a memory of sitting in McDonalds with him, maybe 6 months ago, maybe a year- it’s all a blur- my children on the playground playing, and he and I were at a table eating burgers.  He was having difficulty eating his and I cut it in two and placed one side in his hand.  We talked very frankly that day.  I had to know what was going on inside his head.  I just asked him, “Dad, are you scared?”   His answer to me was a quiet “yes”.  That’s all I could take at that moment and we both started to cry.  It was horrible.  I was angry.  How many other people in that McDonalds were having to deal with something of this magnitude?  Why him?  I don’t get it.  I didn’t then and I still don’t today.  I’m guessing I never will.

When you look at his face his features are the same.  The other changes are apparent, though.  He moves slowly.  His eyes have become vacant and it seems he’s staring off at some far-away place.  I like to think that this place is beautiful and peaceful and full of restoration and hope.  I like to think that He’s looking on the face of God and finding comfort there. 

His words have become impossible to follow most days, but we continue to hold conversations with him just as if he were speaking as clearly as you and I could.  I know that he now lives in a world of confusion.  It is a tough realization to accept, but we’re trying to take each step one by one.  There’s no other way to do it and hope to keep any ounce of sanity that still remains.  My mom told me that he was looking off one day and seemed especially disoriented.  She looked at him and said, “Honey, you don’t have any idea who I am do you?”  She said he looked right at her and said, “Honey, I don’t even know who I am.”  That is the mind-numbing truth of this place we find ourselves.  We remind him as often as we can that he is home and we are his children, his wife.  I can’t imagine the world he wakes up to everyday and I have to tell myself that the Lord is still in control.  It is not easy.  I have lots of questions for the Lord.  My faith has taken a bit of a beating during this portion of our lives.  I still hold out for healing, but am now moving to accept things as they are today. 

There are days I’d like to grab my father by the shoulders and look deep into his eyes and just ask, “Where are you?”  It’s a conversation I’ll never be able to have the strength to have with him.  My role now- the role of each of us- is to spend time with him, to remind him of what he needs to remember, and to continue to pray.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raelene Plummer
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 10:41:46

    Manda:

    My heart is broken for you and only God has the perfect answer for you and in time (possibly Heaven) you will understand the big picture. It is so hard for a daughter to let go of a Dad that has always been stroing, and been there for his family. God will give you the courage, faith and everything you need as you ask Him for it. I lost my Dad 1.5 year ago but I still miss him and wish I could talk with him and Keith and I went through cancer with him and his loss of strength physically which was so hard for him to accept. I am praying for you and your family that as you grieve the loss of your Dad mentally (which is so tough) and ask the Lord to hold you mentally, physically, and emotionally that this can be used for His Glory which is ultimately the reason we are here. Trust the Lord in every step which I know you will….He loves you. Raelene

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  2. Sandra
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 10:48:50

    Wow Amanda I am full of tears! All of your family in my prayers, and a Special prayer for your daddy, that God will heal him.

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  3. Stacey Olmstead
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 10:59:23

    I Love you and my heart literaly aches for you, your Mom and Dad and Jess. Feel the presence of the Holy Spirit! Breath in His strenght! He is right with you all and he wants you to lay your burden upon Him. Joy comes in the morning weeping only last for the night!

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  4. June Gladson
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 11:23:34

    What a precious and powerful post. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  5. Sherry Lawson
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 11:46:12

    Oh, Amanda, I am crying with you…I can only imagine how tough this is…Your dad is with you in your memories…but, let yourself cry more…it does help to let it out.. 🙂 love you all…praying for you all too…

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  6. Joline
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 21:03:16

    Amanda, I am so saddened by this. I have no words. I know there is nothing anyone here can say that will make it better, aside from “he is healed”. My dad went through the same thing with his father. He visited him every day and he had no idea why this “nice boy” was coming to visit him. It was so sad to see that. I can only imagine how you are all dealing with this. I pray for you all and I know some day, your Dad will be at peace and someday soon you will all be together and whole again and “life” will go on even better than before! God bless you all.

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  7. mandaclair
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 09:49:39

    Thank you, Joline.

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