“To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.”
Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life's Challenges

I have learned that life is easier to deal with when I remain optimistic. This is not always possible and there are very hard times that bring such sorrow to me. But I do not let those times and those emotions rule my life. I always try to see the bright side. As the song goes, "I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain" and that is what helps me survive emotionally. It works, for me anyway!

Friday I went with my parents to a doctor appointment. My father was given a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer's. Basically the doctor said all other reasons for memory loss have been ruled out and the only way to prove Alzheimer's 100% would be a brain biopsy. So we trust what the doctor says. It has been a long couple of years of knowing there was a problem and not knowing why or how to help. It is a very sad diagnosis, but at least we know for sure what is going on and the doctor can treat him accordingly. We will not get back the part of dad that has already left us, but maybe losing more of him can be delayed. The doctor called it the long goodbye. He is here with us, but he is not the same. It is so hard to grieve the loss of someone who is still here with us. I have received so much support from friends who can relate to what we are going through. Although I must say, most of the time I am hearing about someone's grandmother or grandfather who had it. This is my father, he is only 65. He still has young grandchildren. He is still so young himself to be going through such difficulties!

I miss my dad so much. I worked with him doing taxes for over 13 years and though I did not always like the work I was doing, I always loved seeing my dad. He has been my listening ear, my shoulder to cry on, he has freely given me advice when I needed it and has supported me through so much. He too, shared with me his concerns and thoughts, there was a special bond between us. There have been many times in the last few years when I so desperately wanted to confide in my father and have him understand and advise me. My father is a wonderful man and his life has been full of service to others. I know that he has passed his test here upon the earth and that what he is going through is more a test for us now. It is not always easy dealing with my father. He has been the head of a household full of girls and we have always looked to him. To be made to feel he can no longer be in charge has been very damaging to his self esteem. He is very defensive about his memory loss and that can make it hard to talk to him. He and my mother have a very difficult time communicating. It is hard to watch them each struggle with the other.

It is so hard to lose your parents this way. There is no way to grieve and move on, since they are still here with us, though the relationship has forever changed. And just when you think you are making progress towards a hint of the relationship you once had, something happens to destroy that progress and the pain is back, perhaps hurting more than ever.

I am grateful for my husband. He has spent many a late night with me, comforting me, drying my tears, listening to me without judging me. He helps me see things from a new perspective. He loves me and accepts me with all the family baggage that came with me! He is truly my hero and I absolutely adore him!

I am thankful for my sister Megan who is not just a sister, but a best friend. She too listens to me and she loves me. She calls me to check in. She is mindful of my needs and is always offering to help which is such a blessing. Especially since we moved and I have left the support structure of my ward, I have been even more grateful to have Megan so close and so willing to lend a hand when needed!

I am grateful for the gospel. I am so thankful for the atonement, which means so much more than forgiveness of my sins. To me it means I can pray for a change of heart. When the pain and anger gets to be too much, I can ask for help and receive a calm feeling. The atonement is the only thing that has kept me from breaking into a thousand little pieces from the pain that often times has to accompany this life.

As hard as they are, I am grateful for the trials we are given in this life. They truly do mold us into the person we need to be. I know I have changed a lot over my adult years. I hope I am becoming a better person, I feel as though some of the weaker areas of my personality are improving. And for this, I am grateful.


Jacki said...

I'm sorry about your dad. That sounds really tough. You amaze me Amy! We all miss you.

meganconser said...

I am glad you wrote this-- I have been thinking about doing the same, but you wrote it so well I might just copy and paste... or least refer to your blog.

I love you Amy- you are amazing.

Beth said...

Oh Amy... I am so sorry. {{{HUG}}} My grandmother went through the exact same thing... (she had Alzheimer's for years before she passed) and I know what a challenge it is for everyone. You write beautifully... your dad is lucky to have such a wonderful daughter and to have family around him. All of my love to you sweetie!!! MWAH!

lindaharper said...

Amy, that is such a wonderful tribute. I hope you will save this and keep a journal of your feelings. You dad (my brother) is wonderful. I think you will still find things you can find to confide and talk to him and learn from this new relationship with him. We love you all!