the test

Wouldn’t you know, right after I wrote that last post and asked Jesus for patience, I had the opportunity to display patience and kindness.  I passed but not with flying colors.

I checked on my husband to find him lying in the doorway to the backyard. Still breathing, not bleeding, and somewhat awake.  I had to pull him in a bit so he had room to roll over and get onto his knees.  He didn’t have anything close by to help him to push up on one side.  He refused to use the walker and instead asked for my hand.  I was not going to pull him and risk throwing my back out.  I braced myself and held out my flexed arm as something he could pull on.  This whole ordeal took 15-20 minutes because he kept arguing with me about proper body mechanics, telling me that I don’t know my excrement, but I am full of it.  I did tell him to shut up several times even though I have ingrained in my brain that “shut up” is an impolite term.

I did not berate him for his behaviors or all of his irrational and obscene statements.  I just wanted to make sure he could come all the way inside the house and I could get the door closed.  It seemed like an eternity because he was moving so slow.  It was really quite sad because I wondered how much of this loss of muscle ability is due to the amount of alcohol today or the cumulative effect over the years.

Once on his feet again he commanded me to go away and leave him alone.  So I complied.  I did check on him a half hour later.  He was coming up the stairs to go to bed.  He apologized for saying some very unkind things earlier in the morning.  I didn’t say that I forgave him.  I did tell him that I was used to it because he gets really stupid when he drinks.

Standard procedure when he leaves the basement is that I go down there to turn off the tv and lights and make sure the outside door is closed.  Today I also had to pick up soaked disposable underwear that had just been left on the floor.  There was also a massive wet spot in a line towards the toilet.  Mopping up urine and sanitizing the floor was suddenly on my to-do list.

Alcoholism is such a horrible disease.

Got everything cleaned up and tried to study.  The song in my brain that is making it hard to concentrate reminds me that in spite of failing here and there in this Christian life, God still loves me.

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Finals Week

It’s finals week, my head is scrambled, and I am so ready for a change in classes and scenery.  The day after my last exam I am going to fly out to see my mom and spend 5 days with her!  I have not seen her in over a year and am really excited to relax with her.  But, I still worry a bit about things here at home.

I will make sure that I have enough alcohol in the house so none of the kids have to buy any for their dad.  Same with all the other personal items he will need while I am gone.  I am praying that he doesn’t die while I am away, because I don’t want the kids to have to find him or deal with all the practical stuff that has to occur.  Just in case, though, I have written step by step instructions and phone numbers of what to do and who to call.  My husband wants to be cremated, so I bought an urn just because I want to be prepared.

When I am seeing that my husband’s skin tone is turning a grayish yellow color, when my in-laws are having health problems, and when I see the signs of incredible hurt and sadness in my kids, I have to run to the only one who can handle it all.  Jesus is the only God who is so loving and kind and concerned about all the little details.

The ugly inside of me is oozing out when I interact with my husband.  I seem to have no patience.  I am ready to be done with this term at school and I am ready to be done with watching a slow death unfold.  I still want to walk on the path God has placed me on, I just want to go faster. Like a child on a long car ride I ask, “Are we there yet?”.  Jesus please help me to be patient and content.

I was playing an old cd the other day and came across one song by Twila Paris that I have always loved.  The orchestration is beautiful, the melody sticks in my head, and the words express the deepest longings of my heart.  “Where He leads me I will follow, when He calls me I will hear…”

Your Love Never Fails

I am so thankful for neighbors who have given us buckets of water so we can flush the toilets.  I slept well and woke up exhausted.  In my mind I heard songs reminding me that I am held in the Father’s hands.  I read that God promises to never leave me, to give me strength, and to always take care of me and cause me to become more like Him.  I still feel physically tired and am emotionally level.  I am trying to not grumble or complain.  Even without running water, I have been given too many things to ever justify whining over something that is not there.  We have a house with electricity.  We have plenty of food and clothing.  I am still a bit annoyed with my husband because he has inconvenienced all of us.

I spent time this morning focusing on God through songs.  It is the only way to gain real strength, especially this morning when I would love to just crawl back in bed and do nothing all day.  Now, after worship, a chat with the water company, caffeine, and a nutrition shake, it is time to get some school work done.  Hopefully, the water can be turned on before I need to leave for class.

No Water!

After about 5 hours of sleep, it was time to get up and start my day.  Found husband sleeping on the floor, in a narrow hallway that I and the dogs needed to travel, and the door to the back yard wide open.  So, I tried to get him to stand, or to crawl back down to the basement because his clothes were wet and he needed to change.  Several minutes of trying proved worthless, so the next plan was for me to change his wet clothes where he lay.  I was able to get the dogs outside for a potty break, but needed husband to move before they could eat breakfast.  Getting him up and off the floor was not only a physical challenge, but a test of my patience.  He would not listen to me because he does not trust me, and he thinks that I am full of bovine excrement.  Compounding everything was the fact that I had a limited amount of time before I needed to be off to school.  I really was not happy with him.

Once he was able to get up, I had to wash the urine off the floor, feed the dogs, and get ready for my day.  I had 20 minutes before I had to be out of the house.  God must have slowed down the clock because I made it out the door on time.

Most of my school day was spent at the hospital taking care of patients (the reason I could not be late).   My main patient was someone I took care of last time.  Their health had improved so much it was like night and day!  We shared a wonderful day filled with good news, laughter, and joyful optimism.  And, I just love being around the younger students!

Traffic coming home was horrible, but there were plenty of good songs on the radio.  When I finally got back in the house, I confronted husband about the actions of the morning.  He did not remember any of it.  He appeared to be a miserable, broken, old man, full of regret and shame.  My anger towards him turned to feeling sorry for him.  He was weak and thirsty so I tried to get him a glass of water.  That’s when I found out that the water had been shut off.

The bill for water and sewer is in husband’s name and his email.  I had no idea it wasn’t being paid.  Customer service has set hours which ended right before I could call and make the payment.  Now we have no water and it could take up to two days to get it turned back on again.

We have enough cash in our checking account to cover all expenses for the year.  Why didn’t he pay the bill?  He had set up the autopay option incorrectly and deliberately chose to ignore all email notices from the water company.  Yes, I got upset with him.

My husband used to be a near genius with all things computer.  Today, even though he is not drunk, he couldn’t even correctly forward emails to me.  I realized that I can no more get mad at him for this lapse of judgement, as I could get mad at a blind person for incorrectly describing the landscape.

Drained and calm, tired and filled with pity is how I would describe myself now.  It has been a long day.

Blessings Unnumbered

Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your many blessings see what God has done.”   An old hymn with lots of truth in it.  Today I was overwhelmed with blessings.  Contact with old friends, going to church and having a grateful heart for the people there whom I have come to know, the ability to sing praise songs, the people I know through school, my relatively good health, my relatives, my children and grandchildren…

During worship at church today I needed to stop thinking of how good God has been to me.  Had I continued, I would have been a sobbing, blubbering mess on the floor because my heart was so overflowing with joy.  (I cry when I am happy.)  Really didn’t want to cause a scene like that.

At least for today, I am not going to look at all the death and dying around me.  I choose to look up.  Life can be beautiful and full of blessing and joy.

smoky mt

More Family Destruction

It has been an eventful family reunion kind of week.  All of my husband’s siblings were in town.  Our son and his family, who have not been here in a year, spent the day with all of us at my in-law’s home.  It was a shock for those people who had not seen my husband in a year or more.  Our son told me that he didn’t even recognize his dad at first.  Some people tried to have a conversation with him, but it was very difficult to do.  Most of the time he sat in the recliner staring into space.  He didn’t even sit at the table with us when it was dinner time.  Every so often he would slowly make his way to the back yard to have a smoke.

My heart hurts because I know my children are all sad/mad that they don’t really have a father anymore.  I am so sad that my granddaughter will never know how wonderful my husband could be with little ones.  My daughter-in-law has never been around my husband when he was not drunk or a mind-numbed shell of a human being.  She will never be able to listen to his odd sense of humor or his deep, insightful outlooks on just about anything.

This week was also the birthday of our daughter.  My husband never said anything to her acknowledging that event.  Did he know what day it was?  Of course.  He was on the computer, he was on facebook.  All he had to say was three words:  happy birthday D___.  She was crushed but tried not to show it.  A mom can tell, though, when her children are not right.

So much disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness.  Through it all, I kept hearing snippets of Aaron Shust’s song, “Ever Be” in my head.  “…Your praise will ever be on my lips…”

I am still taking care of him, washing his clothes, changing all the wet sheets, cleaning up his messes.  The other night I popped my head into the room and asked him if he was talking to me because I thought I heard him, but it was unclear.  He said that he wasn’t talking at all and asked me if I wanted to talk to him for a while.  I was in the middle of studying for a major test, so my answer was no.  As I left the room, I realized that I wouldn’t have wanted to talk with him even if I wasn’t studying.  I don’t like him.

His bad choices have not only hurt me, they have hurt our children.  His parents, siblings, and even that quirky cousin have all had their lives negatively affected by my husband.  These are all people I love and care about.

My deepest inner being is crying out to my creator in praise and worship.  The other part of me is avoiding interaction with my husband because I really don’t like him right now.  Such a contrast, but this is my reality.

Life Can Be Very Messy

I was never an immaculate housekeeper, but I thought my house was always clean.  Not so anymore.  I don’t have the time nor the energy to keep up with it all and that bothers me.  The adult children in my house don’t have the time or don’t always make the time to make things clean and tidy.  I am annoyed by constantly seeing clean laundry in the living room, random items in the dining room, and dog fur everywhere.

My husband used to be meticulous about his appearance.  He was that person who had a place for everything and everything in its place.  Alcoholism has certainly changed that.  He leaves food and dirty dishes on the table.  He will take off a pair of disposable underwear, overflowing with urine, and put it on the floor.  He doesn’t appear to remember what a trash can is for.  He has bathed and shaved twice this year.  Previously, thanks to alcohol, he neglected self and surroundings because he didn’t care.  He probably still doesn’t care, but now he is physically unable to safely get items off the floor or sometimes walk up a flight of stairs.  He is becoming physically emaciated and can often have a difficult time walking upright.

Yesterday afternoon I came home from a long shift, opened the front door, and was bombarded by foul smells.  My husband had accidentally peed on the couch.  This has happened before, so there are waterproof pads put down to protect the cushions.  However, those soaked pads were still on the couch along with the wet sheet/couch cover.  An alcoholic’s urine does not smell normal for biological reasons that would be of no interest to most people.  Sometimes the offensive odor is so strong that it can be smelled 30 feet away.

So, I had to change the pee pads, change the sheet, wash all the urine-soaked laundry, plus wipe up the urine that was on the floor by the toilet.  Upstairs in my husband’s bedroom, lying on the rug, was another very used disposable underwear and soiled clothing from the day before.

After cleaning up after him, taking care of dogs, and several hours of schoolwork, I slept well.  When I woke up there were more messes to clean up.  Husband had slept on the couch during the night and had another accident.  He was very apologetic about it.  So, I took care of changing everything on the couch again, and also wiping up more puddles of pee on the floor by the couch and by the toilet.

As I was doing all of this cleaning, seeing a cat litter box that needed to be attended to, piles of laundry where they should be and piles where they should not be, and husband’s messes everywhere, I did not have any overwhelming emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, etc.  It was almost as if I was numb inside.

Then, suddenly I heard a specific song in my head, “…it is well with my soul…”  Everything was put into perspective.  Husband is debilitated and needs to be taken care of, house is not clean but it is not going to kill anyone, children have good jobs that they work hard at, dining room is not needed for meals right now so it is alright for it to be messy at the moment.  I wish it were different, but I will not put myself into an emotional stew because of it.  “Through it all my eyes are on You, and it is well with me.”