it’s been a year

I have been wanting to write this post for a week or so now, but couldn’t seem to find the right words or the right time. Today seems like a fine time.

The past couple weeks were filled with celebrations.

Mark’s birthday in June, was the beginning of the World Cup soccer tournament. This World Cup was especially fun for Mark because not only does he love the sport (still playing once a week), but the games were held in South Africa where he grew up. So we watched lots of soccer and being loyal to Mark’s heritage, we cheered for the House of Orange (Holland) who made it to the final game.

Last week was also Amber’s thirtieth birthday and at Jesse’s request, Veronica and I drove down to Naples where they were spending the weekend and surprised her. We enjoyed lunch, shopping and a movie while Jesse hung out with Jaxson.  Always good to be with my girls.

And last week was a milestone for our family. One year ago on July 4th we were faced with a difficult decision. Dad’s parkinsons came to a place where he had to be admitted to the hospital. If you are a new visitor, you can read about it here.  July 10th, 2009 was the day we celebrated that Dad was released to a wonderful nursing facility.

It hardly seems possible that it has been a year. In the beginning we and the doctors did not feel we had much time left with Dad. But God had other things in mind. We are grateful for so much… the gift of time we have been given, the good care Dad receives at a clean and cheery facility, the blessing of new friendships, and the opportunity to be a light, just to name a few.

Dad is stable.

Compared to one year ago he is improved. Although we do see some progression of the disease… he is sleeping more, he will go a few days without eating much due to sleeping, and he seems a bit “further away” to me. And it’s harder to catch that great smile of his in photos.

Mom is doing well.

She makes her trek down to be with Dad every day, lovingly overseeing his care. She has become a friend to many at the facility, often being an advocate for those who have no one. Dad is so blessed to have Mom as his wife!

I will be honest… it’s not been easy at times. It still takes emotional discipline to not become sad, angry, or  discouraged sometimes when I see Dad in his condition. It does not make “sense” to me. I do ask God why,  from time to time. I do not get an answer, but instead a gentle hug that says, “trust me, my ways are perfect”. So I do. And I am quick to recognize that I am able to trust, not because of me, but because God answers your prayers. So from the bottom of my heart, to those of you who pray for our family ~ THANK YOU!

This past week I baked some cookies for Dad’s caregivers,

and reflected over the past year realizing how much we have been given.

A batch of cookies seems such a small way to say thank you, but I think they were blessed.

11 thoughts on “it’s been a year

  1. I so wish I could put my hands on some of the old photos I have from camp. Maybe I’ll uncover them some day…who knows?

    I do love your honesty in wondering “why?” It is truly something that we all do, even when we are “trusting.” I’m glad you have this outlet to share your thoughts with us all.

    I know that your dad’s time and your and your mom’s tender care and thoughtfulness of others is not overlooked by those caregivers.

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  2. Ruthi, Thank you for sharing your reflections of this past year. The twists and turns of this life are often impossible for us to understand. The way your family and friends are being an example and testimony to the staff, residents and anyone else God places in your path is a blessing to many. Ruth

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  3. I see peace and joy in the smiles of both your mother and father. Although times can be very difficult for you, seeing your dad this way, his lifetime of blessings to you are evident in your daily walk. His strength, from the Lord, is your strength, and so on….may you continue to be strengthened in this journey and your faith joyfilled as only God can bestow. Thank you for your continued sharing of faith, love, and hope….one day, up yonder, we will know why.

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  4. I have been so blessed to get to know you and your family over the past year. All of you are such an inspiration to me and I know my life has been enriched knowing each one you. I only wish I had the opportunity to know your dad before he got sick. Your beautiful pictures, your stories and your blog have helped me to know the wonderful man he is and the life he was called to do. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to help care for him. Your mom is so awesome…I pray for her patience everyday… I love her so much. Thank you for this blog and sharing your families life in such a beautiful way. You have helped me in so many ways. You and your family are always in my prayers and forever in my heart.

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  5. Ruthi, you say it so well as our family spokeswoman! I can echo what you have shared. Thank you!

    Saturday was a difficult day when suddenly Art became agitated, confused and combative — very much not like the Art that we all know. Usually these episodes pass rather quickly but this time it was over two hours of kicking, hitting and angry talk. Why? Why? yes, I ask this question too. But I cannot dwell on it for it is a matter of trusting and accepting graciously what God allows us to go through as Ruthi has already said. Sometimes I don’t feel like praying but rather just groaning. It gives me much comfort knowing that there are many who are holding us up in prayer and that the Holy Spirit is making intercession for us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your caregiving in prayer.
    Rejoicing in His FAITHFULNESS, Evy, for Art too

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  6. Thank you, Ruthi, for the update and pictures. Your posts are always so encouraging. And, good to see pics of Jaxson. We are sharing in your joy for him! You are all in our prayers. Here is a quote that I read recently that came to mind when I read your post:

    “Oh Father, I want us to be swallowed up in this Psalm. Not that it’s a happy place to be. But to learn how to be in an unhappy place is what we need. And this Psalmist does it so well. He is miserable so well. I want You to teach Your people how to be struck down, well. How to be in turmoil, well. How to be downcast, well. How to have waves break over them, well. And the Psalms, and this one in particular, is so well suited to help us. So grant that we would know how to feel and how to think with You in the Psalms. Through Christ I pray. Amen”
    ~ Dr. John Piper referencing Psalm 42

    May He continue to give you all grace to suffer well 😉

    “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me…”
    (Ps. 42:8)

    In the strong name of Jesus,
    Tricia, for family

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  7. Cannot believe it’s been a year since our beloved Art has been away from home but
    rejoice that he is looking so good and getting such wonderful care. Praise God that
    He has given Evy the strength, stamina and desire to be with him daily…good
    medicine for Art and a faithful showing of true love to all who witness her sweet
    spirit and generosity of heart.

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  8. Follow up to my previous post — This may not be needed, but I wasn’t making light of your suffering by the smiley wink. As you know, “being miserable, struck down and in turmoil ‘well'” does seem paradoxical apart from the grace of God.

    In Him,
    Tricia

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  9. Thank you Ruthi for the update. It is such a long hard journey but thanks be to God for His unfailing love and care for us. As I read your blog and saw your photos of your dad, it is a flashback of the journey our family has gone thru. During these days it is our job to trust and surrender. I love you and give your dad amd mom a big hug for me.
    love,
    nancy

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  10. Klasien ~ so nice to “see” you.
    Bev ~ photos from camp days would be fun to see.
    Ruth ~ i love that you always have a smile.
    Darlene & Mike ~ thank you for your encouraging words.
    Donna ~ it is us who have been blessed by the wonderful care you give Dad as his nurse. THANK YOU!
    Mom ~ your strength is amazing.
    Tricia ~ thanks for your thoughts about suffering well.
    Barb ~ you are so right about Mom – she is a bright light!
    Nancy ~ our fathers trekked through the jungles together and in the end they have both suffered with the same disease. it is a comfort to me knowing you “know”.

    hugs to you all and thank you!

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