Sunday, April 24, 2016

Seeing God's Hand in the Details

My dad's health had started declining some years ago as Parkinson's invaded his body and mind and more recently the cancer that ultimately took him.

We have much to be thankful for even in this sorrow.

1. He realized soon enough that his mind and body were failing and that he might die before my mom, so he insisted they get set up in an independent living apartment at the Odd Fellows Home where she would be surrounded with people and friends they had made after their move there, and where she would not have to worry about the upkeep of the outside and living quarters, and she could get rides to town and appointments on the Odd Fellows bus.

2. There were certain legal papers that were needing to be signed before he died,but his health and mind had so deteriorated after he had to be moved to the nursing home, we were afraid he would not be able to sign them for the notary.  God was so good.  That particular day, when he was usually asleep, he was wide awake.  He was able to understand everything that was being said to him and was was willing with Mom's help to sign the papers.

3. We did not like him having to go to the nursing home, but he was too debilitated for Mom to be able to care for him at home anymore, so three weeks before he died he had to be moved.  It was hard on him and all of us emotionally to have to do this.  But in retrospect, it was a mercy for Mom, in that it gave her three weeks to adjust to being alone in the apartment.  It has made that adjustment smoother for her since his death.

4. Dad had a rough time in the nursing home.  His mind wasn't working right most of the time and he kept asking why he was there.  Eventually he could no longer talk or feed himself or move around without someone doing it for him.  Those were difficult days for all of us.  But God's sustaining grace saw us through it.  There were small memories made that were good. My favorite was being able to take him for wheelchair rides.  The first Saturday he was there, I spent a great deal of time wheeling him around. He wanted to "get the lay of the land" he said. We took several trips around the dining room and picked up a magazine each round.  Finally we went back to his room and we looked at a country magazine together.  He kept saying how beautiful the pictures were.  This made my heart happy to see that he was able to find some pleasure that first day in the nursing home.

5. Two weeks before he died, I went back to visit.  I took him outside.  He really seemed to enjoy that. I remarked how beautiful it was out there and he said, "Yes it is."  But alas it was short lived because he said he had to go to the toilet, so we had to high tail it back to his room and then he was tired and wanted to go to bed.  But that few moments was precious and will live on in my memory.

6. The day he died, I was scheduled to travel with Rick to Kennewick so he could attend a work meeting.  We heard he was not doing well, so we decided instead to go over to Walla Walla the night before and he would ride to Kennewick with his work group.  That was Providential.

7. My dad had a roommate who was not in his right mind.  He was a Kleenex hoarder.  I was told during my dad's last days, my mom was sitting by Dad's bed crying and blowing her nose repeatedly.  Leroy, the Kleenex hoarder, had six boxes of Kleenex on his side of the room.  Out of the blue, he got up and brought my mom two boxes of Kleenex. It was remarkable that this man was willing to share his boxes of Kleenex.  Just another sign that God was showing He cared and saw her tears.

8. My parents have a wonderful friend whose wife died three years ago.  He lives at Odd Fellows too.  He was instrumental in encouraging them to move there.  God has used him in many ways to help my mom through this time of Dad's illness and death.  He has told us that he will check in with her regularly to be sure she is doing okay.  We are so thankful for friends like these that God puts in our path. We informed him that he is now part of our family, and we will call him Uncle Blayne from now on.

9. Dad, although his mind was not working right, never forgot who who I am.  The few times he said my name and when I knew he knew who I was when I came to visit him meant the world to me.

These are just a few things where God has shown himself faithful through this ordeal.  There are many others I've not mentioned that my sister and mom have told about.  But these are the ones that mean the most to me.

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