I wasn’t planning on things getting worse. But then they did.
I have been steadily caregiving for my elderly parents. Along with a variety of the other ailments that come with aging, like heart trouble, loss of appetite, and sadness that all her friends and most of her relatives are dead, my step-mother is 84 and has dementia. My 88-year-old father, who, for his age, is remarkably able and chipper, fell in the garage. I called the ambulance and they took him to the hospital, which is within a couple of miles of the house.
My step-sister came home from work and stayed with Mom while I went to be with Dad. In the thirty minutes that it took Pam to get to the house, I had to explain to Mom about seven times what happened.
“He fell in the garage and the ambulance took him to the hospital. I’m sure he’s okay.”
“Well, who’s with him?”
“No one. I’m here with you.”
“Oh, I guess you can’t be in two places at the same time!”
“No, and Pam is coming, so then I’ll go over there.”
“Okay. Shouldn’t we go over and bring him home?”
“I’m sure I’ll be bringing him home later.”
Five minutes pass, rinse and repeat.
“It was stupid. I shouldn’t have tried to kick that stupid thing, but I did,” he told the doctors in the emergency room. “I’d kick my own butt if I could.”
That’s the kind of spirit he has. He learns every nurse’s name. He jokes with them. I knit frantically, waiting for results from the X-ray techs, the CT scan techs, the long waiting times in between various people walking in the room and asking him a hundred questions.
Finally, around nine last night, we get the preliminary results. He has fractured his pelvis. We have no idea yet what the plan is, but it definitely will not involve his coming home any time in the next week. My brother is coming from out of town, and we’ll find out something later this morning.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that caring for them has been overwhelming. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I don’t know how I manage to do what I already do, and that only the grace of God has kept me going thus far. And I’m also not kidding when I say that I have spent a lot of my mental energy cursing God and hoping to die.
I spend a lot of time wailing to my friends that I hate all this and that it’s not fair and that I can’t go on.
But, apparently, God has other ideas.
While I sat in the hospital yesterday for seven hours, I never once thought that I couldn’t go on. I never once wanted to die or run away. His strength was made perfectly obvious in my weakness. How do I know? Because I never felt weak.
It could only be God.
Image credit: Wayside crucifix detail courtesy of Pixabay