Looking Back, Moving Forward

In January of 2012 I finally received a wheelchair that was at least close to what the therapists had ordered for Strokeman over six months before. It had taken working with three different companies before I finally got one with somebody competent enough to interface with the insurance company and the rehab center to accomplish this task. This was a great relief to me, although for weeks I worried that I would hear from the insurance company that they had not approved it. I lived in fear of having to go back to the loaner that had not survived our car wreck in all that great condition.

That month I had to buy a car to replace the one I had wrecked at the end of 2011. It was the first time I actually dealt with this process, as I had always left the car buying to Strokeman prior to that fateful day when his head exploded. My son and daughter-in-law had helped me determine what I needed to purchase by spending a day with me exploring used car lots. Then I went online and found a car of the necessary specifications near here. I took Strokeman out for a test drive to see if it would work for him, and then I bought the car using money from our small retirement fund. It was a time of many mixed feelings. As I had never done this before, I was fearful that I would soon experience buyer’s remorse (I still haven’t!). I felt a great sense of accomplishment to have managed to find, purchase, and insure the car with very few complications. I felt worried that I would soon use up whatever reserve we had in terms of finances and be forced to make difficult decisions about how to make ends meet.

Because of my financial concerns I began to explore avenues of earning income from home. I knew I could not leave Strokeman unattended for any length of time, so I felt that at home options were the ones to explore. Each one I pursued seemed to lead to a dead end.

This month was the one in which we received the results from Strokeman’s neuropsychological examination that confirmed much of what I had already begun to suspect: He was not capable of making good decisions for himself, but he didn’t know it. It was helpful information, but difficult to hear.

Over all, that month was one of feeling overwhelmed with the life I was living. So many things I had to be responsible for! So many decisions to be made. So much to do in a day with so little sleep at night.

January of 2013 was a month of sickness, first for Strokeman, and then for me. I got the flu, which had me sitting up in the recliner for about two weeks in order to get any sleep at all between coughing fits. Because I was so ill, and Strokeman refused to let anyone else tend to any private needs of his, he was filthy and unkempt. I was so embarrassed when my son and his wife came to visit and found us in such a state of disarray, but was glad to see them, and to feel good enough to spend a wonderful day exploring the Dallas aquarium with my daughters and granddaughters. One memory that sticks out to me more than any other that week was watching my daughter-in-law lean over and kiss my stinky, scraggly husband on the forehead. I cannot tell you how that blessed my weary soul.

I was four months into writing my blog, and at this time each entry was written with tears rolling down both cheeks. I confessed to my girls that I was writing a blog, and gave them permission not to read it. I was still flying under the radar in terms of letting anyone know I was blogging. I think I had 6 followers. As I look back, those days of writing were a means of processing, grieving, and facing up to the life I was given. It kept me from shoving everything down or aside where it would only haunt me from the dark corners. It forced me to consider myself before God. It helped me see God’s tender mercies and constant provision.

At this point I had a sitter who came every Monday to stay with Strokeman for 8 hours. I used this time to run errands, visit with friends and just replenish my “cope”. Things were less hard, but by no means easy.

January 2014 finds us both well physically, after a pretty rough December for Strokeman. I am working at getting back to some regular schedule of writing, since this is something that got derailed during the holidays. I have become a flybaby, in an attempt to become more organized in my life. It is also a way to work systematically toward getting our house ready to sell so that we can move into something smaller with less land. This will help financially, as well as just simplifying our lives a bit. We don’t need this much space, and the upkeep is more than I care to deal with. My plan is long term, not this year by any means.

We have two less people living under our roof, as my daughter has moved to her own apartment and my son’s friend who was renting a room has also moved out. Both of these moves were timely and appropriate, but they have brought about changes, both good and bad. I miss the interaction with others, Strokeman loves the quiet.

I am trying to find time each day to get outside and walk on our windy, hilly road; one mile for now, maybe more later. Some days it is still too cold, but when it is bearable, I will find my way out the front door for a few minutes of exercise. I sometimes meet up with neighbors who are also walking. They ask about how Strokeman is doing, and I still find that most days I have to fight the tears to tell them. Two months short of 3 years, and still I cry, but not as often and not as uncontrollably.

Strokeman has begun to do some walking outside. This is a great encouragement to me. He has also spent the last few months writing down some of his wisdom in the area of creation science. I am in the process of setting up a blog site for him where we will post this work on a weekly basis. He has about two months worth of blog posts. I am hopeful at that time he will be inspired to write more about something after that. He writes it out longhand, and then I type it up for us to go over and edit. This has been a great project for him on many levels.

I think I have begun to reach what I would call my “target audience” through my blog, although it is still rather small in terms of scope. Because of this, I have found myself saying often, “It will not always be this way.” I say it to younger women whose children are sharing sickness and whose husbands seem to always be at work when disaster strikes. I say it to others who are in the thick of medical crisis only to find that the pipes have frozen or the car won’t start. Life comes to us in waves, and whatever is happening in life right now, whether good or bad, it will not always be this way. It is for this purpose I have decided to look back at the past few years and compare them to now. Remembering what it was like a year ago, two years ago helps me to see how I have grown. It helps me to see how far we both have come. And hopefully it will give courage to those who are in the thick of the difficult part of the life-wave. It will not always be this way.

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15 Responses to Looking Back, Moving Forward

  1. Beautiful post! God has been and continues to be faithful! I’m thankful!

  2. Brenda Keck says:

    Your courage is so inspiring.

  3. bcsmithereens says:

    Thank you… it is so good for us to see how far we have come, and that we can make it through things with God’s strength.

  4. It is inspiring to see what you have come through and how God has helped you. It also helps renew my faith that God will help James and I. He has been unemployed for 10 months, recently fell on the ice and broke his arm, and now we are dealing with acquiring insurance because he is without Cobra. It’s now where near what you have gone through, but hearing your story lets me know that we will be okay because of God’s grace and mercy. Thank you!

    • I am so thankful to have been an encouragement to you, Jeanne. I knew that James had fallen, but I did not know the rest of your story. So sorry to hear that you are going through such choppy waters at the moment. Yes, you will get through, and by God’s grace, you will learn much about trusting Him and not fretting over what you cannot control.

  5. Becky Johnson says:

    You continue to be in my prayers! Thank you for allowing God to use you in so many ways. You are such an inspiration.
    I am reminded of the love you always had for writing that I couldn’t understand. I now reap the blessing of reading and knowing your heart. All my love…

    • What? You couldn’t understand all my poems of teenage angst? Ha ha ha!
      In all seriousness, I am thankful that I can be connected to so many loved ones this way. You and your family are so precious to me. I have pined away lately to come see you all. So far I have not been able to see my way clear to do this. Please know you have all my love as well!

  6. Melissa says:

    Surely you are a vessel to communicate God’s faithfulness. I needed this right now, glad I “stumbled” upon it. Much love…

  7. Cindy V says:

    Ebenezer, my friend, Ebenezer! Every moment of every day!

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