Loving When It's Hard

Thursday, June 26, 2014

When you think about love, do you picture cupids and hearts, warm feelings and smooth sailing? To love someone who is easy to get along with and who offers respect, kindness and love in return is easy. But, what happens when the love and dedication we give is ignored and taken for granted? What happens when we know the best thing for the person is something they fight against? It would be wonderful if I didn’t have to even ask those questions, however I do. You see, my elderly mom is suffering from a weakness in her mind that accompanies dementia. It is very difficult to see. But even more, it is difficult to “handle”. One of the things that can happen with a person with certain forms of dementia is that the personality traits they had when they were younger are amplified. My mom is and always has been an extremely strong willed woman. So, you can imagine how now, when she needs more help and love, it is not always easy to give.

For months now, her confusion has been increasing. She can “fake” it pretty well, but when it comes to things like taking her medication, knowing what time of day it is or getting to meals or activities on time, she is having trouble. In fact, last week she had a dangerous episode with her medication that could have ended really badly. In addition, she has come to rely on me for things that I am not equipped to handle. We are both frustrated and her attitude toward me now, as I have had to change from daughter to parent, is poor…and painful.

Loving someone isn’t always easy. But, God tells us to love others just as He has loved us.



“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. 
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34

But what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that I should bow down to every demand or complaint? Does it mean that I should continue to allow something to go on that I know is unhealthy or not in her best interest? No, of course not. Making the decisions that are for the best can be extremely difficult, but necessary when loving as Christ loves.

So, as I move forward in this situation I am remembering that to love someone I should do what is in the person’s best interest. When my children were little, I made sure they were safe and weren’t engaging in any activities where they could harm themselves. When I wasn’t with them, I made sure that they were in good hands! It is the same now, as I seek to do what is best for my mom. I want to keep her safe and make sure she doesn’t do anything that could harm her. I also want her to have as full a life as possible in this season. As I make the necessary arrangements for her to be in an assisted living home, I am relying on God for my strength. I know I cannot do this on my own. Thankfully, I know He is right beside me guiding me forward as I seek to love her when it is hard.

In His grip,







You Might Also Like

29 comments

  1. Loved this. I wrote about Loving in the Hard Places a week or so ago. It is difficult. Keep loving but keep moving forward as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Angie! I'll have to check out your post! Loving can be hard, but with God by our side, anything is possible!!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keeping you in my prayers, Joan. You share your heart beautifully here. Loving is hard but God will guide you through this. Keep seeking Him and His wisdom, and let Him be your strength. Love you so much. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Beth. I am leaning on God for my strength today. I know God is right beside me, guiding me along this path, so I am keeping my ears tuned to Him!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can identify with this as both of my parents suffered severe dementia before they died. My mom was always a loving caring sweet person so that part was not a problem. The problem was she couldn't remember anything and I mean anything for more than 2 seconds. It drove me crazy that she would ask the same question over and over after I had just answered it. It tried my patients so much and I'm sorry to say I got very "sharp" with her more than once. Afterwards I was ashamed but just couldn't seem to help it. Yes, loving is not always easy. I sympathize with you and pray that God will give you an extra measure of patience.

    Blessings,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  6. Added note: Right now I wish I could be with her again, just hug her and say it's OK. But, knowing how much better off she is now, I would not wish her back.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Once again, Joan, I feel like we are sisters from another mother....yet, even our "mother" stories are similar. My dad, who had Alzheimer's Disease) passed away in 2004. My mom remarried in 2006. For the past couple of years, both me and my siblings have noticed and discussed her beginning to show signs of dementia. Of course, any discussion with her reveals that she is in total denial(or oblivious to this observation). My stepfather has also observed it, but instead of trying to deal with it, just gets more and more frustrated with her and refuses to seek help. (My brother, niece, and nephew have all said they have observed some "verbal" abuse from him. But again, she refuses to acknowledge it. This has caused more friction within my family than anything else ever has. I ask God to give me wisdom and to love both my mom and stepfather, in spite of their refusing to let us help them. During my younger married years, my mom was my best friend on this earth...now, I barely hear from her. When I do call or go to see her, she is distant and not in reality, which hurts to my core. I've tried my hardest to get close again, but she shuts me out. So, I guess I can say, this is really hard, but God can and will get you through this, as He has somehow gotten me through! You are in my thoughts and prayers, sister!!

    In His love and grace, Ann

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Joan! I have been in your shoes, but my mother-in-law was very passive. She could cover for not understanding like crazy. It's amazing how we can adapt to almost anything.
    When my mom was dying, she didn't want help at all. It was very hard to watch her try to eat and not accept any help. I can understand how frustrated you must be. But God is working so hard in you! The lessons you are learning and relearning, as you describe them in this post, are really inspiring.
    May God continue to give you the strength and wisdom you need to stay and help your Mom in this most difficult trial.
    From Counting My Blessings,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Joan, I'm also lifting you up in prayer that God will give you strength and wisdom as you make decisions for your mom. I am also praying that He will protect your tender heart during this difficult time. Blessings and {{hugs}}.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This has to be painful, Joan. I'll be praying the transition will be easier than it seems. I know God will walk each step, blessing you with His wisdom. "There is a calm, a firm retreat -- 'tis found beneath the mercy seat." ~Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hear you sister, my Mom is there too. I am so excited when we go to see her and depressed with grief when we leave. she is not the same Mom I knew growing up...dementia has taken my sweet mother. She can't understand why God leaves her here she is so ready to go, to give up her dress of flesh for that lighter garment. Will be praying for Joan.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I so understand, Charlotte. It can get very frustrated and the end of our rope seems to get shorter and shorter! I am so thankful that God is teaching me to rely on Him! I know I can always count on Him to guide me on this challenging path!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Ann (AKA sisters!)


    I'm so sorry you have this frustrating issue with your mom and step-dad. I pray that God gives him patience with your mom and that she will acknowledge and accept help when she needs it. I also pray that your relationship with her is restored. Trust it to God, Ann. He knows why these things are happening and we can trust Him.


    Love, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for your encouragement, Ceil. This is a difficult road, but I know that God is walking with me! Like with your mom, it is so hard to watch our loved ones suffer and not be able to truly help. But, I will still look to Him for He gives me the strength and patience I need.


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for your prayers, Deb! Strength and wisdom from Him is what I am seeking! Today, she agreed to let me move her to an assisted living home where she can get the help she needs. Yeah! That was huge. The place I've found is beautiful and she will love it. We still have some hurdles to cross over the next month, but I know with God, we'll make it through!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, Pamela. It has been such a trying time. Thank you for praying for the transition and for God's wisdom! I need it! She will be in the new place in a month and I feel confident that she will find that it meets all her needs! I'm relying on Him!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for your prayers, Betty! I'm praying tonight for your Mom and family, too. It is so difficult, but God will give us the strength we need. We can count on Him!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  18. Caregiving is so difficult and especially when it's family. I pray for strength for you as you love your Mom and care for her even when it's hard.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you so much, Melody! Your prayers are so appreciated!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  20. It can be so challenging to care for our loved ones, especially when the roles are reversed and we are caring for someone who used to care of us! Prayers for strength, peace and comfort for you as you lovingly take care of your mom! I found your blog on the Weekend Brew linkup- we're neighbors :) Thank you for sharing your heart and using your situation to encourage others!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Michele! Thanks for popping over from Barbie's blog! And thank you for your prayers as I face this difficult waters. I know that God will guide us and I'm depending on Him!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  22. I really appreciate this today - God brought it to my attention right when I needed it. Thank you for sharing this..... I hope all goes well with your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  23. There are times when it is not easy to share our love. I realize my children find me diffiicult. I can only strive to become more lovable, but I can not make them give me their love in a particular way.

    ReplyDelete
  24. bluecottonmemoryJune 29, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    My grandmother who raised me had dementia. It's hard on the caretakers. I took care of her one weekend to give my mom a break (I live 4 hours away and had 5 school-age children). It was tough - and I know it was tougher in the long-run - but I think it's a 1)gift and 2) life lesson to be able to give back that same care that was given us. How wonderful if you can have extra help, though. My grandmother lived to be 94 - and I think that's because she lived at home with my mother. I missed my grandmother when the dementia wouldn't let her be herself. I wish I could have helped more with her care, that I could have given back to someone who gave so much for me. She might not realize now - but she did when she soared to heaven.

    Praying for you friend - that God directs your path, provides what you need in this situation - and that you find God's grace in this challenge!
    ~Maryleigh

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for your kind words, Maryleigh! I know God is with me guiding along this challenging path. Making decisions that are for the best becomes difficult when the person we are trying to help is fighting against the help! That's where trusting God and relying on Him comes in! My Mom has finally agreed to the new place as she realizes that she needs more help than her family can give. Now, the challenge is to keep her relaxed until moving day in a month (she now wants to go today!) But, God is good - all the time!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  26. Praying over this post again tonight, Joan. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you so much, Lyli! Your prayers are so appreciated! God is faithful and I am trusting in Him to see us through this!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete
  28. This must be so hard. Praying for God's strength and love to fill you to overflowing for your mother.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for your prayers, Amy. Yes, this is so hard, but I am looking to God for my strength and guidance!


    Blessings, Joan

    ReplyDelete

FLICKR IMAGES

create with flickr badge.

I'm a Member!