(This “update” post is actually several years old. But it gives you an idea of where we’ve been after the road that our life was on took a drastic and horrifying turn. Keep reading and following the links at the end of each posting … eventually you’ll find your way to a point closer to “now.” But as the title of this blog says, my life is a journey … if you skip to the end, you may miss the whole point. What’s that old quote? Something like, “Life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.” Well, welcome to my journey!) ~Debi
Well, let’s see … what does my life look like right now?
I have a husband with a fatal, incurable, untreatable, degenerative brain disorder (Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia) who can no longer safely live in the same house as his family (we were all in danger from his increasing lack of impulse control).
I’ve become essentially a single mom to three teenagers. We’ve had to sell our nice custom-built house in a safe, quiet neighborhood so we could buy a mobile home located in a mobile home park in a not-so-nice area just so we can afford to support two separate households on a limited income.
New community. New church. New lifestyle. New everything.
And grief. Oh, my gosh, is there grief.
Grief for the man my husband used to be. Grief for the lifestyle / home / community we’ve left behind. Grief for the death of our plans of becoming full-time missionaries in Albania. Old friends lost. More grief. New friends gained. More changes. More griefs.
Probably one of the most important things that’s happened over the past couple of years has been discovering who my true friends are … and also who they aren’t. Many people I always thought would be there for me if life ever got difficult just haven’t been. But then, on the other hand, I’ve seen folks who are essentially strangers step in and help in substantial and unexpected ways at various times.
I still feel like I’m reeling from the magnitude of changes that have hit our family.
But I also think I’m starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Not that anything’s changing. The situations are all still the same and continuing to worsen, but I feel somewhat rested after a summer of simply focusing on being a mom and bringing some joy, safety, sanity and stability into the life of my children. I feel almost ready to start thinking about my next steps and what the future might hold. And that’s a huge step for me. Honestly, for about six months, I thought the future held nothing more than forcing myself each morning to get out of bed — it was tempting to just pull the covers over my head and sleep the days away.
Gosh, it’s been a journey. A journey through pain, sorrow, grief, joy, faith, anger, sadness, disappointment, patience, changes, doctors, lawyers, poverty, plenty. And the journey isn’t even close to being over … it continues steadfastly everyday.
While we were searching for a new church after we moved, I met with a local pastor here in our new community, and after telling him the full story of what’s been happening in my family over the past few years, he said, “I don’t ever compare one person’s story to another’s, and then rate the stories according to who has the worst problem … but I can honestly say that yours is the worst situation for a young family that I’ve ever heard in twenty years of being a pastor.”
Wow. Heavy stuff.
But it was actually very healing to hear him say that our situation was beyond the realm of “normal” difficulties. A number of people in my life have tried to downplay our problems, as if by belittling the situation, it will somehow get better … or at least seem better.
But to have someone who handles people in crisis on a professional basis tell me that our circumstances are bad – REALLY bad — actually made the situations I’m facing easier to deal with than if I’d just heard another one of those well-meaning people try to make me “feel better” in the midst of it all.
Now I don’t want anyone reading this to think I’m about to roll over and die from depression or anything, but I also wanted any readers to have a quick peek into what’s happening and how serious it is for everyone involved.
And on a side note, I hear a lot of people say when they haven’t heard from someone who’s going through a crisis, “No news is good news.”
But I don’t believe that’s necessarily true. Sometimes the situation is so bad and so overwhelming that people can’t even put into words what they’re experiencing. I know there have been days when just taking a few minutes to pick up the phone to call a friend or drop an email to someone who cares was way too much work for me to handle.
So please don’t assume “no news is good news” in the lives of your friends, family, church members, neighbors, etc. Rather, assume your Loved One needs you to be the one to make the first move to check on them. Whether they’re in desperate need or not, they’ll still appreciate hearing from you, either way.
For a more recent update on how we’re doing, go to: October 6th, 2007