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I've never been religious. However, I have considered myself to be a spiritual person. My entire life, I've tried to do the best thing for others to give them comfort, to put a smile on their face, just to be there for them at a time when they needed something or someone.

I considered that to be a spiritual soul. I connected my spirituality to God. I never questioned that God gave my my spirit ... my soul. That's just how I thought. But today ... tonight rather, I have started to question whether there is a god.

I have been sitting, quietly tonight wondering why there are so many people in pain right now. All of those here ... Mimi, Barb, Ces, Janet, Mick, Phil, Sue, marthamary, Leighanne ... all of them. What is the reason for all of us to see the people we love most have to be sick and dying? What is it that we are supposed to learn? To do? We are trying to help. We are caring for them. We are doing everything we know how to do that is in our power. Yet, they get sicker, they die and we hurt. We hurt when we watch them struggle for a breath. We hurt when they can't eat, can't raise their head to take a sip of water, when they can no longer have a rational and reasonable thought. We get angry with ourselves for not having more patience yet we love them. We love them so much and it just plain hurts. It hurts beyond words, beyond tears. It rips at the very heart of us. I just don't understand why the people we love, those who are suffering should have to be going through all of this. I want to scream that "THERE IS NO GOD!" The god that I was taught to believe in was supposed to be a kind and loving god. A god who took care of His children. A god that would heal the sick and never let the wicked go unpunished. Yet, we see just the opposite. Our sick are suffering and the wicked are prospering. Are we all evil and being punished? Why must we sit by and watch our loved ones slowly slip from our reach?

If someone, anyone can make any sense out of any of this and give me an answer that will make sense and not just tell me to believe that god knows what he is doing, then please ... please tell me why. Tell me what else we are supposed to do when we can't get our doctors to care about their patients' needs more and give the right medications, instead of just spending a few minutes with them and giving the lastest and greatest pill that the most recent pharmaceutical salesman just pushed on them ... along with a new set of golf clubs or two tickets to the lastest Broadway play.

I keep wondering what it is going to be like when all of us who are now caring for the elderly become the elderly. There will be more of us out there. Are we going to have anyone to care for us? Or are we going to be pushed into a corner of society ... a corner that everyone knows about but no one wants to talk about. My wish is that we stop worrying about other countries and their problems and start concentrating on our own problems right here in our land. Our sick and dying and the families and friends who are trying to care for them might find hope for the future. Until that time, right now, at this very moment .... I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel


~Jane

[This message has been edited by Irish152 (edited 07-18-2005).]
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Dearest Jane,
I wish I had the answers...I've asked the same questions, over and over. The only answer I have is that we our caring for our loved ones and in doing so, show our children how to care for us when we are older. Honestly, there is no way in hell I would want my son to give up his life and care for me. The sad thing is, that is what my mom ALWAYS said, she never wanted any of her daughters to have to take care of her and yet she asked me to take her in. I know why she did it, because she was so afraid of Alzheimer's and what it was doing to her brain and I don't blame her at all. All I can say is, and I hope I don't offend anyone here, my plan is when my time comes, whether it be a physical or psychological disease, I'll take matters into my own hands....
Mimi,

I am about to leave for work but I just had to respond to what you wrote. Not all of the message although I understand exactly what you are saying because my mother said the same thing about caring for her in her old age. What I want to respond to is your last line about taking matters into your own hands. It made me smile a little because I have said the exact same thing. I will not be a burden to my daughter, nor will I allow myself to become lost in the cracks of society and go through what my parents are going through right now.

I thought I might feel differently about what I wrote last night, after a good night's sleep. But I don't. I still feel the same and I'm more convinced than ever that we really are alone in what we do. All I can do is, like you, continue to give as much time and love that I can to my parents and I may even have to reconsider terminating my job in order to accomplish. I know an answer will come to me. I just have to give it more thought.

My dad will come home from the hospital this morning. I'll pick him up. I just can't wait to see what he has to say about the fact that this place they are living in has managed to lose my mother's teeth. Guess I'll have to make an appointment with her dentist to get her a new set. Compliments of Heritage Place.

Well, it's off to work I go. Thanks Mimi for your words. I've felt for a long time that we think along the same line. I was right. Have a good day, Mimi and everyone else who reads this.

~Jane
Dear Jane,

I'm not a regular anymore. I had been caregiver to my MIL for 18 months, up until February 9th when she passed away. I've been checking in now and then and came across your post. You have presented a challenging question. I don't think even the best theologians could answer this because these are the feelings in your tender, hurting heart.

Like Mimi, I too wish the answer could be put in words for you to read and feel a resolution. But that will never be. We live in a world with forces of sickness, destruction and hatred pulling from every direction. If it weren't for all the goodness, love, support and forgiveness we receive from all those who truly love us (yes, even God) I think we would all cash in.

I know your present situation is absolutely tearing you apart. You can't fix this, you can't make this all better and you feel hopeless. The hurt you feel in your heart is unbearable. And you're right, everyone posting now or have in the past has had their heart torn apart watching their loved ones suffer.

You don't want to hear that God knows what He's doing because it feels like a betrayal that bad things do happen to good people. But hear goes - - I do believe He has a plan for us. He did give you your precious spirit and it may bend, but I pray He will not let it break. You have a special purpose in your life right now. It is not for naught. I truly hope some day that you will be able to look back and be at peace.

Years ago when my Dad was in the last stages of CHF, the daily hospital visits were almost too much for me. I was seaching everywhere for strength and my faith was as low as it could possibly be. As I was taught at a young age, I started to read passages in the Bible and came across "give thanks for every thing". How could I possibly thank God for the devastation that was taking over his body. But I did. Everyday, on my way to the hospital, I would say a silent prayer that in the midst of this tragedy, we all would be able to give thanks for the good that would transpire from this. Looking back, I would not have changed a thing. My Dad's life truly had a purpose and impacted all those who came into contact with him, especially those last two years of his life. He was always my hero, my rock, my teacher, but never as powerful as those last two years. Through his suffering he was an inspiration to all. Especially through his faith in God.

Oh, I know this is so long, but I guess I'm trying to fill up you heart. I don't want you to feel despondent. I know I can't change your feelings. They are yours to embrace and I honor that. But, I will be praying for you Jane. That is one thing I can do. I pray that some day you will see that light at the end of the tunnel.

Chris
Chris,
How good of you to write to Jane and try to give her some inspiration. I truly hope that what you've written will help her.
Chris, maybe because I am not a very religious person, although I have a strong belief in God, I don't understand some of what you wrote. "My Dad's life truly had a purpose and impacted all those who came into contact with him, especially those last two years of his life. He was always my hero, my rock, my teacher, but never as powerful as those last two years. Through his suffering he was an inspiration to all. Especially through his faith in God." In my mind (and heart) it saddens me so deeply to watch my mom slip away. I guess I just don't understand how her having to endure this disease will be an inspiration to me. Again, maybe because I am not a religious person...I just don't understand...be well, Mimi
Dear Jane,
We have much in common and that warms my heart and makes me feel less alone.
I know that I will probably shock some people by what I wrote, but I do feel very strongly about not becoming a burden to my son, or being left in a facility to just wait to die. My son is always on me to be more proactive, to not be the victim, to take control of my life...for this, I will take his advice.
I hope today goes well for you Jane with your dad...so much is going on now and it is very stressful for you. If you are as much like me as I think you are, then you will have the strength and courage to get through this...after all, we have to, right?
I will keep you in my thoughts today and hope that some happiness brightens your day and lifts your spirits....be well, my friend...and take care, Mimi
Jane:

I had to respond to your post - I don't have the energy for much these days as I "allow" myself to sink deeper into depression - but I felt that I needed to put in my 2 cents.

I hear absolutely EVERYTHING that you are saying. I have always "believed" - but not with the passion that some believe. I would never pray and ask God for too much - cause I never wanted to be "selfish" - My only prayer was health for me - my daughter - Father and Mother. When my Father was given the terminal diagnosis - for some reason I "accepted" that - and NEVER once prayed for him to get better - only for him not to suffer and for him to last longer than the week they gave him - and all that pretty much came true.

I always believed it was "how you lived your life" and not how often you went to church or prayed to God. But my Father's passing - has bought me closer to God than I have ever thought possible. I have NEVER been so depressed - distraught or hopeless in my entire life - than I am today - but I think what is giving me the ability to survive each day is the fact that I KNOW there is something more and better out there.

I am reading several books right now - the one is A Purpose Driven Life - it is very interesting - and pretty much says - that it is really not about YOU - or YOUR FAMILY - odd isn't it - cause that is the way most people think - myself well included in that. I certainly KNOW what all my flaws are - and can I change them - hmmmmm well I am not sure I want to change them all. I still like to be materalistic and buy a COACH handbag LOL!!!! Can I stop from feeling angry - hmmmmm haven't been able to do that either.

I take a slight comfort in the fact that my Father is at peace - that he is happy - and he is reunited with the loved ones that went before him. For the 1st time in my life I feel that someone is up there (besides God) watching over me - and although there are days I can barely do a load of laundry - I know some how I will get thru this (I hope) -

I find that in today's soceity - it is such a me me me generation. People do NOT care about people the way they used to - they are more into job titles - fancy cars - fancy electronics - big houses - exotic vacations. But there are some VERY caring people out there - I think this group is just a BIG example of it. I believe God does have a plan for all of us - heck if I know what it is - cause in my opinion my plan sucks LOL!!! But I have the power to change all that if I so want.

In my book it says how sometimes you feel that God has abandoned you - but he hasn't. I suggest if I may that you read this book - it is uplifting and makes you think of things in a different manner. The one question I keep coming back to (a question that NEVER entered my mind before) - if heaven is so wonderful and enternal - why do we even need to be in this human existance anyway?????? Why can't we just always be at peace etc - and happy. Still don't have the answer to that - but I will one day.

Jane - when my Father died (I was sleeping) - the CD player went off - woke up my daughter's friends playing Somewhere over the Rainbow - by the time I was awoken - it was already on song #3 - the CD player had been off for hours since about 10:00 ish and went on just before 4:00 am. I woke up at 4:03 am - quickly shut it off and realized he had died. The next night we were up - nothing happened - the night after that we were up again - and at 4:03 am - song #3 was blasting thru the house - we did not hear song 1 or 2 - just song 3. Again freaked out - just shut off the CD player - the following day - I thought why does this keep happening - maybe I should listen to the song - it must be a message. The cd had all kinds of songs - show tunes etc - song #3 was I Believe - a song I NEVER heard before - but I KNOW it was a MESSAGE from God & my Father. Believe me - I am not a "freak" like this by nature. I am a very fact based - visual person and have a very hard concept in blind trust and belief. I KNOW this happened - so I could grasp the whole concept of things - and have a FACT based BELIEF. The words of the song that went off for me to hear 2 times (once at this death - once 48 hours later at 4:03 am are as follows)

I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
I believe for everyone that goes astray-
someone will come to show the way
I believe. I believe.
I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word
Everytime I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe

There were 25 other songs I could have heard on this CD - actually - there is NO reason that CD should have went on - I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that was a message - we played this song at his funeral and I had it put on his grave marker.

This is just my STRONG belief - but 46 days ago - I WOULD HAVE NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS - THOUGHT THIS ..........

Love,

Janet
Jane (and Mimi, Chris, Janet, et al)

It's sometimes very hard when we are suffering, or watching those we love suffer, to understand why. I, myself, use the Serenity Prayer:

GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen (Reinhold Neibuhr-1926)

Yeah, I confess, I just did a copy/paste from another site.

I also find comfort in the song Janet posted. :-)

In my situation, I figure that dealing with my Mom is a dress rehearsal for when hubby's condition gets worse, or dealing with my bachelor brothers as we all age. I was never fortunate enough to have children of my own - so my caretaker role is a substitute for being a parent.

I'm not religious per se - but I do feel spiritual about things - that things happen for a reason - that everyone has a purpose - that if one looks hard enough, there is beauty in all things. Some days are just harder than others, and sometimes the hard days are strung together until it's sometimes difficult to remember what a good day is like. So I've learned to find blessings in small things and give thanks for all that I have. At least I don't live in Darfur.

I suffered from clinical depression when I was 21. I spent several weeks in a hospital, where I learned that as bad as things were for me, I didn't have to look far to find someone worse off. I also started then to "accept the things I cannot change" and "change the things I can."

So, I don't know, dear Jane, if what I've said has been any help. I do believe in the power of prayer... mine are for you tonite.

Hugs,
Barb
Mimi, Chris, Janet and Barb,

Thanks to all for your kindness. I have read each of your messages and have taken the words to heart.

In recent months it does feel just as what Barb wrote, "Some days are just harder than others, and sometimes the hard days are strung together until it's sometimes difficult to remember what a good day is like." You really hit the nail on the head with that one, Barb. And here you are, dealing with your caregiving role and trying to survive yet another hurricane.

And Mimi ... you are caring for your mother who is in the same boat as mine. Feeling the strain of it, too. I do find it interesting that we share common thoughts about many things. I do believe that if we were neighbors, we'd also be the best of friends.

And Janet, here you are ... taking care of your mother and still trying to overcome the grief of losing your dad just a short time ago.

And Chris, taking the time to share with all of us even after your mother-in-law passed away in February.

It means a lot that all of you took a moment to respond to my post. I know that Christians who read it might be offended by my accusations that there is no god. I would never want to offend anyone on this site. So if I have, I humbly apologize. I won't say that I have changed my mind about it.

I will continue to try to be there for my parents and do what I can. I will work on a viable solution to this horrible dilemma. Plans made may have to be changed. If so, I am prepared to change them.

As for the rest of it? Well, I just feel what I feel.

Be well.

~Jane



[This message has been edited by Irish152 (edited 07-19-2005).]
I sometimes womder myself why some people suffer so much before they pass away. I am a chrisitian and my faith is sorely tested at times. I have even gotten mad at God and refused to discuss faith or anything related to it. At times I simply do not want to hear about God. But I always return to him because It gives me peace when I can find peace no where else. I was at my father's bedside when he passed away, The family had been sitting by his bedside all day as he struggled to live. At one point everyone had left the room but me. I sat on the edge of my father's bed, looked into his face and prayed for God to take him before 5:00 pm. He died at 4:55 pm. I was terrible to see him as he took his last breath, but even worse to watch him suffer. sometimes when I think myself or loved ones are suffering, I remember how Jesus died on the cross.I saw the film The Passion and although Mel Gibson was critized for the graphic portrayl of Jesus's crucifixtion it was probably pretty accurate. Although this does not make it easier for us to watch our loved ones die. Jesus had relatives who loved him too.
That's my thoughts for what they are worth.

Dianna

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