Tag Archives: God

The Long Journey and The Destination

31 Jan

I just talked with the staff at the facility and we feel Ernie’s long journey is slowly coming to an end in this life.  He seems to be sleeping most of the time this week and not as interested in food or anything around him.  Last week was a challenging one for me and the staff as we saw him going through a new agitated phase with being restless, anxious, biting us, and simply not at ease.  It was then that I wondered if this wasn’t his own way of trying to “separate” himself from us. 

No, none of us are God and none us  knows when his time is over in this life — but our prayers have been for Ernie’s peace, dignity and for his greatest good all along.  With God’s help, I feel the time is near.  

Interestingly, last night I had a dream about my husband and he was the man we used to know…fully alive and happy and I felt safe being with him as we laughed together on a ride in one of his favorite cars. I awoke smiling as I realized that it had been a long time since I dreamed of Ernie as he WAS.    

Then, I opened a book in my bed stand and found some personal items that Ernie cherished about which I had forgotten:

  1.    A couple of personal notes he had written to me (and to himself) about how much he loved me.
  2.    A Valentine’s card to him from me with a lovely note written, from my heart, about my being by his side for a lifetime.
  3.    A beautiful letter from his oldest son, Dave, who wrote before he passed away, thanking Ernie for being such a good dad and for always being there for him.

After my chat with the caregiver today, I would not be surprised that those precious, personal findings were not an accident.

There is so little we know about this life and beyond but my belief is that we have the power to communicate at all levels in many ways.  I feel blessed that I got these messages.

A good friend, who has walked this road with her husband’s dementia, called me after reading my email/blog and set my mind at ease with her wisdom:  His agitation is his telling you that he is ready to move on.

It’s been a long journey.  And yes, I feel a bit frightened about his next step but I also feel more prepared.   Most importantly, though, I feel at peace that Ernie, himself, is now ready to move on.  My prayer is that he transitions bravely, peacefully, painlessly and feels the love surrounding him.

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The Clock is Running Down

6 Jul

Oh, how I wish I could wind the clock and help it to keep ticking.  Unfortunately, this clock does not come with a key, weights to pull, pendulum to swing, or a battery to replace to bring it back to life.  This particular clock is running down fast.

I feel Ernie’s time is coming sooner than later.  Yesterday, I felt it more than I ever did.  The change in his health is significant and has come on so rapidly — just as the Care Managers warned.  I didn’t want to believe that this day would come, but it is upon us.  I saw it with my own eyes, felt it in my heart, and heard it from my inner voice.  I saw it in Ernie’s eyes and felt it in his actions, as well.  Now, more than ever, I realize that each ticking moment counts.

My Ernie looked much like a little wounded bird when I arrived.  I saw him standing with a hunched posture, looking extremely thin and  leaning against a door — gazing into the family room of the Memory Care unit.  It was as if he wasn’t sure where he was going, why he was standing there or how he got there.  But, blessed as we are, he knew me when I walked up and put my arm through his arm and lead him to a quiet place for the two of us to sit and be together.   He sat down in a comfortable chair as I sat facing him on the ottoman.   Ernie suddenly surprised me when he pulled my face into his hands and gave me a tender kiss. We held hands and he quietly mumbled some words to me.  He didn’t giggle or smile like he always did but he knew I was there with him.  He focused on me for short moments and then looked off into an unknown space.

I realized, at that moment, that my Ernie is tired — I don’t mean from his lack of sleep, either.  He is tired of fighting the terrible monster of Alzheimer’s Disease.   This was the first time I felt his readiness to give up the fight.  My courageous, strong, wise, yet Gentle Giant looked so frail, exhausted and lost.  I laid my head down on his knees and gently squeezed his hands while he drifted off to sleep. I was afraid to let go.   I quietly but deeply began to weep  with my head in his lap.  This cry was the deepest cry I have had in a long time. Although terribly sad,  I felt safe being next to him and I knew that he felt safe with me.  Ernie was always the rock of strength in our relationship.  Now, I am his rock.  These are our precious moments together and I feel blessed that, in this space of time, the chime is weaker but the clock is still ticking.

 It is so challenging  for me to see such a proud, dignified gentleman wind down.  And I know it is the way of things ahead — for as long as it is meant to be. I keep saying my prayer thanking God for yesterday and today and knowing that, together, He and I will deal with tomorrow when it comes.  I am not sure when Ernie’s pendulum will stop and his last chime will ring but I know I’ll be there the best I can for every last stroke.

What Do We Pray For?

18 Jun

My dilemma since Ernie has gone further down the “rabbit hole” of Alzheimer’s Disease is, What words do I use when praying for him? 

My prayer for a long period of time has been, “Let Ernie live with dignity and with quality of life.”  Then, after dignity was taken from him, my prayer became, “Let Ernie live with quality of life and let him feel the love.”  Today, with his inability to take care of himself, recognize his loved ones, his lack of verbal capabilities, frustration, and exhaustion from insomnia,  asking for quality of life becomes ludicrous.

I spoke to a colleague who has a family member suffering with A.D. and she shared that she, too, had the quandary of what to pray for  and now asks God to take her mother.  I fully understand and respect her choice in prayer wording.   I know that when Ernie goes it will be a blessing for him and for me but, at this time, I am not comfortable with asking God to take him — I would rather leave that choice for God to make on His time.  I continue to ask for guidance for whatever is meant to be — but I find it isn’t quite enough.

 I am a Christian who is comfortable with Unity Church’s beliefs and considers myself a spiritual person.  Although I am not Catholic, I reached out to a good friend who is a priest, author, and a lovely human being.  “How can I appropriately word my prayer for my dear husband who is physically but not mentally here with us?” I asked.  Knowing that Andy, who writes, presents inspirational homilies, presides over weddings, christenings, and funerals, would have the appropriate words. He did. 

I would like to share this prayer with others who might find these words comforting:

ERNIE’S PRAYER

Lord, I need words – or do I?

Lord, better, I need gasps,

breaths, moments, holding

my past, my love, better our:

our stories, our memories,

trips, meals, moments, dates,

laughs, resting in each other’s

arms and his scent and sounds.

Who knows what’s next? I don’t.

So I’ll take each moment with

my Ernie. now – the times

he recognizes me and

the times he doesn’t. I do.

That’s all that counts. 
I thank You and I thank him

for the gift  he was / is /

will be to me and Lord,

I thank you for this chance

to serve him, to hold him

and to love him. till the end –

till today, tomorrow and

forever and ever. Amen.

–Fr. Andrew  Costello, good friend and spiritual being

 Need I say more? 

Amen and thank you, Andy.