Sunday, April 3, 2016

Musings from Cody

These past 2+ months have been really, really hard. The previous four years with Lisa's brain tumors were difficult, but definitely manageable. These past 10 weeks have been incredibly challenging for me. Yesterday was another prime example of how tiring it is on me. Here's just a few examples of what yesterday was like, and to be honest it's become the norm. From the moment my wife wakes up, I have to help her with almost everything. I have to help her to get out of bed. Then I lead her into the bathroom where I give her all of her pills, one at a time and make sure she swallows them. Yesterday I gave her a bath. That is a difficult task. After the bath I took her downstairs and gave her breakfast. I made french toast for the family. During breakfast I had to play mediator between my wife and the kids. She has it in her mind that the kids are out to get her and often gets in fights with them about ridiculous things. Yesterday she was yelling at them because she thought they were trying to steal her breakfast. They weren't, but I had to smooth it all over anyway. The poor kids have been losing their patience and are starting to fight back with her more, so I have to really work to keep the peace in those moments.Throughout the day she tends to get bored really easily and then wanders around. I ask her what I can get her or what I can do for her and then she gets annoyed that she can't be independent and usually gives me a nonsensical answer like, "I'm just going to finish watching this game and then go to the bathroom downstairs." Well, we weren't watching a game and we were already downstairs. When I try to explain stuff like that to her, she gets irritated with me and is convinced that I'm an idiot. If I turn my back on her for a minute, she's usually getting into trouble and messing something up. Yesterday I was trying to help my son with his bike and when I came back in the house I found Lisa standing by the stove pouring the sloppy joe mix I made for dinner all over the apple pie we were going to have for desert. Unfortunately she ruined the pie. When I asked her what she was doing, she said she was just following the instructions and did exactly as she should.In the evening she felt like laying down in her bed. She gets tired really easily throughout the day. She takes a nap for a couple hours after lunch and then usually goes to bed around 8. Well she went to bed a little earlier while I was watching the priesthood session. I took her upstairs and changed her into her pajamas during one of the hymns. When I came back up after priesthood session to check on her she was standing in the corner of the room patting down the wall, like she was searching for something. She didn't have her glasses on though so was blind as a bat and couldn't see anything. I asked her where her glasses were and she said that someone came in to her room and took them. Nobody had, but she wouldn't believe me on that. After about 15 minutes of searching I found them.Then to top the day off, at 3:00 in the morning I woke up to her having another accident in bed. She had a bowel movement and I was an idiot and didn't put her in her depends last night because she had about a week straight with no incidents. So I proceeded to take her into the bathroom, strip all of her clothes and the sheets on our bed to throw them in the wash. Gave her another bath, dressed her again, and put new sheets on the bed. Sigh. It's tiring.Ok, now that you've made it through my "brief" description of a typical day in my life, let me share with you some of my thoughts I've had. I know this sounds terrible, but I am so ready for my wife to pass away. I love her like crazy and I know I'm going to ache when she is finally dead, but wow. I'm exhausted all the time. I'm tired of being tired all the time. I wrestled in junior high and high school and have been leaning heavily on some lessons I learned through those years. Wrestling is very difficult and very tiring. You learn that you can always dig deeper and that you can always give a little more. You never quit, no matter what. Well, I've been relying on those lessons lately. I have no idea how much longer my wife has to live, and many times I feel like my tank is on empty and I've reached the limit. But, I just dig a little deeper and keep on going. My prayers lately have been that the Lord will give me the strength to bare up my burdens and to endure this well.I have asked myself and the Lord many times the past few weeks why my wife is being allowed to live. Mentally she is gone. Physically she is still doing great. It's quite the curse for her at the moment to have her physical abilities yet be so limited mentally. I'm convinced that she can do much more good on the other side of the veil than she is doing here. Then I realize that the reason she is still here is probably for me because my wife is unaware of just how bad she is. In fact, she thinks she's doing great. In a way that is a blessing. I think with how independent her spirit is that she would be going crazy seeing how limited she is, but thankfully she is unaware. The Lord is probably using this as an opportunity to shape me and mold me, not her. I know it has stretched me far beyond my comfort zone. The Lord also knows that I'm not a super patient individual, and this whole situation has really, really pushed me to the limit. If I'm not physically taking care of my wife and am somewhere else like at work, then I'm constantly worrying for her. So there is a huge emotional and physical toll associated with all of this. I have been made painfully aware of my limitations. I'm not nearly as strong and awesome as I like to think I am. It turns out I'm just an average guy trying his best and falling far short. This whole situation has "compelled" me to become very humble and turn to the Lord for constant help. The hymn "I need thee every hour" is quite literal for me at this moment in time. Yesterday's talk by Elder Uchtdorf about eternal marriages really helped me and gave me some peace and comfort. My wife and I have had an amazing marriage of 13 years. She was a wonderful mother and a fantastic wife. I'm grateful for our temple covenants that both she and I made and have honored. It helps give me hope for the future one day that we can be reunited and she will have all of her mental faculties back and will have her personality back too. I already miss my wife.Anyway, I have no idea if she has one more week left, or another month left. But I have decided in the past few days that it doesn't matter anymore. I'm going to stop stressing and worrying about it. I'm going to put it in the Lord's hands and do His will to the best of my ability. I'm going to choose to be happy and positive and I am going to pray for the Lord's strength and support, and then dig a little deeper for the energy to carry on. I don't remember who said it at conference yesterday, but I heard one of them say with regards to the challenges that we face in life that there are two ways to go in this life. We can either go our own way to happiness, or we can go the way the Lord has chosen for us and gain even greater happiness. I am putting my faith in God's way, that it will be better in the long run than any path I could envision.


Sarah said...

Cody. I cannot tell you how incredibly sorry I am. This has got to be the hardest thing you will ever endure. There is no doubt you miss your wife, the old Lisa. I can't imagine watching my spouse change before my very eyes. You are incredible. I admire you so much. I think about Lisa and your family all of the time. I know you'll be able to endure as long as you need to, but I pray for Lisa's passing as well, just so she can be at peace and your family can as well. So much love for you and your family!

Linds Forrest said...

Keep holding strong, you're doing a remarkable job keeping Lisa happy, as well as your kids. I will keep you in my prayers, because I know the Lord will be there for you as you give it your all for everyone in your home. Thank you for being so candid, Lisa and your family have been on my mind constantly, and I send you all the prayers, love, and support I can. I know that's what Lisa would do for anyone and everyone else.

Lettie B. said...

Wow, Cody. This sounds so hard and heartbreaking. I remember a friend telling me that when his mom passed away from cancer it was sad, but near the end she was no longer his mom, but just a nice lady that didn't know who he was. He said that made saying good-bye easier. I'm glad Lisa doesn't know what she is going through so she can still have her dignity. Keep strong, my friend. These are some sad and stormy days for sure. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. :)