Thursday, April 11, 2013

You Have To Take The Stairs.....

You have to take the stairs.
What in the heck am I talking about, you say? Look at this picture. Don't you want to see where it leads? Have you no interest in what could be waiting for you?
Well, I learned this week that we all SHOULD take the stairs. No matter what we think we want or don't want. 
I thought these last 9 days were going to be brutal. And they were. At the beginning , I was not looking for that top stair. I was looking at the bottom stair and dreading to take the first step. Not knowing how I was going to make it.
Sometimes, we know what's ahead. 
Yeah, it was bad. But I knew that going in. What I didn't know was if I was going to look back at it all and come out a better person.
I know a lot of you lifted me up with good thoughts and praise, but I really did not deserve them.

Imagine being there for someone for 24 hours a day.
 Feeding them. Medicating them. Entertaining them. Taking care of their needs. 
But, in all this, they could not remember you doing so.
 And so, there was no intelligent conversation. Ever.
The childlike misbehaving, the desire to eat things they shouldn't, the lack of sleep schedule, the arguing over the smallest thing.( I found myself getting upset a lot. Nothing I am proud of, I assure you.)
And now imagine this to be your Father.

But in a real sense, this was/is not my Father. 
My Dad was easy going and fun to tease. Fun to be with. (Saw him get angry ONCE in my entire lifetime. ONCE.)
So to see this man behaving as he did, I had no patience for it.  I was not someone who deserved any of your praise.
 I admit, I was the one lacking.
And now that my time  to live with him temporarily is over...I see that I am standing at the top stair, ready to move forward. Never even realizing I was climbing the whole time. Standing at the top, a different person from before. 

I know Alzheimers. We were introduced years ago when my mother in law had it. Then my father in law. 
I joined a support group. I KNOW this disease. I just didn't know how I was going to live with it.....again.
As you may know, last year when my Dad's wife came home from her yearly Hawaii trip, two months later she was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery..which resulted in her being away from her home and my Dad for the next three months. Living with Dad off and on, balancing our lives with the help of my brother and sister in law.  So we know this thing. We just don't want any part of it. Sad, but true. I have no patience for anyone who offers their advice...if I haven't gotten it/understand it by now, I will never get it~ And everyone is different...every person has their own degree of this disease. So please, don't tell me it's like living with a two year old. It's not. You CAN TEACH a two year old something. You can't with an Alzheimer's patient. You just can't. They are not capable of remembering.
So when I knew I was going to have to leave my own home and husband, and  go live with Dad and all that it entailed.....The top of the stairs seemed eons away.
And yet here I am. I made it.
So what am I trying to convey here?
That every difficult journey will scare the hell out of us in the beginning. But we WILL make it through.
We WILL climb those stairs. And we WILL be ready to move ahead. And hopefully, we will be changed in the process. Hopefully, we will come away a better person than when we went in.
 I am not proud of my impatience, my sense of hopelessness and my depression. But I learned. 
How to let go , choose battles and not stress so much.

 I also know there's another set of stairs, still ahead of me. But maybe, just maybe, those will be a little easier to climb next time if I remember I made it ....once before.

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