Bittersweet Blessings

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways
so that you’re ready for anything and everything,
more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (MSG)

Last Saturday we drove to visit my husband’s brother, who resides in a nursing facility in Yakima, WA.  Fortunately, when his wife could no longer care for him at home, a compassionate and caring place was found for him.

However, he doesn’t know where he is or who we are, but we visit because this is our calling now.  We go to support his wife, who is so faithfully doing all she can to connect.

One way she uses to connect is to feed him at all three meals each day.  So, we decided to immerse ourselves in the pattern of her days.  At each mealtime, we accompanied her and assisted in feeding him.  During these three days, he was amazingly belligerent and agitated about eating.

It is hard to see him only able to eat pureed food like you’d feed to a baby.

Most of the time his eyes are closed, and for the most part, he is unresponsive.  But we came away with a fuller understanding of his wife’s days and just what she means when she says mealtime is their best time together.

If he opens his eyes, you know you’ve possibly connected.  If he grumbles or mumbles, another signal of possible connection.  If he fights you, you’re aware that he is frustrated because he can’t tell you what he’d like you to know.

One evening my husband turned to me and said, “It’s been a real blessing feeding Jim.  I feel as if I’ve done something to help but also to let him know I truly care and love him.”

Although hard to watch my husband feeding his older brother, it truly was a rich blessing for all of us.

Thank you, Father, for bittersweet blessings.

Linking up with Joan today at Grace Cafe

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4 thoughts on “Bittersweet Blessings

  1. Oh Sherrey – I know this is so hard. My maternal grandmother had a brain tumor and had it surgically removed. (I was around 12 years old at the time). The surgery affected her speech and she would become extremely frustrated when we couldn’t understand her. So yes, Jim is trying to communicate and during those times you know you have reached him.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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    • Joan, you don’t know how much your words mean to me tonight. To have someone who has experienced something similar say to you “yes, Jim is trying to communicate and during those times you know you have reached him” sent refreshing waters over my soul. Thanks so much!

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  2. Sherrey,
    Bittersweet is a perfect term and your story is a great example of trusting in God’s mercy and grace at these challenging moments in our lives. I have experienced the same as I have held vigil at my father’s ,my aunt’s and my best friend, Judy’s bedsides to usher them from this world to the next. It truly is a sacred time and God does give us the strength to embrace the blessings in the moments. May you and your family continue to have strength in your battle as you tend to your brother-in-law during this sacred time.

    Blessings,
    Kathy

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    • Kathy, your words are also a blessing! Thanks for sharing those most intimate times of transition from this life. It helps to know when others have traveled this road before you. Never have either of us experienced close at hand the long stretch as a loved one slowly dies. My older brother’s wife died with ALS but we were living 2000+ miles apart, and I wasn’t there to help. The only help I could give then was a listening ear. This time, however, we see the body slowly disappearing and the mind already a mere shadow. Thanks for taking the time to bless my day and my heart. My writing has taken a heavy toll in down time lately and it’s obvious that I don’t post as often here or at Letters to Mama. But I haven’t given up!

      Thankfulness flows to you,
      Sherrey

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