To Quote My Dad

It’s been five days since my dad went under for laparoscopic surgery to correct a hiatal hernia.  We knew that the surgery would probably be minor, but the anesthesia concerned us from right out of the gate. My dad has struggled with memory loss for several years now. In recent months his confusion has grown, and we have found his connection with reality to sometimes lapse. It’s all been manageable, though stressful, certainly for my mom.

As expected, the surgery was minor, but the anesthesia was not. Daddy has been horribly confused in the hospital as the medication leaves his system. Because of this, we’ve tried to be with him as much as possible to ease his confusion and disquiet. Much of the burden has fallen to my dear mom, even through two long nights when the nurses struggled to reign Dad in.

Hard as it is to be the one who is always there, I have found it is also hard to be the one who cannot be there. I am almost 30 weeks pregnant, raising two young children, working part time, and volunteering for my church. I live almost two hours away from my parents. I’ve not been able to be there for the day to day care, not like I’d like to be. So I’ve fretted and stressed, cried and prayed, and I’ve gone home for several long days to provide some respite for Mom.

We thought that Dad would be discharged today to a care facility, which would dramatically reduce Mom’s need to be constantly present with him, but a last minute change in facilities to one better equipped to handle memory care has left us waiting still for him to leave the hospital. This means more long days ahead for mom.

This news came to me around supper time, as I was trying to finish making dinner and trying to unearth the table from all the junk collecting there so that we could eat. I was feeling frayed and frazzled. And then my pie crust wouldn’t unroll for the chicken pot pie. It fought me like a stubborn child! Ugliest pot pie I’ve ever made. And as the children and I worked to clear off the table, I spilled a large container full of (delightful!) water beads, all over my table, and of course, my dirty floor. And then, of course, you know it’s coming, I started to cry. Yes, the ugly pot pie and the spilled beads were the last straw on this camel’s back.

I collected myself as best I could, of course right as my husband is walking in the door, wide-eyed, wondering what is happening with his poor frazzled wife. We had our dinner. I refocused my mind on other things. And then I got a piece of chocolate out for something sweet for dessert. (My mother and I share the same weakness for Dove dark chocolates.) I rarely read the “promises” that are inscribed on the inside of each wrapper. I probably haven’t read one in over a year. But tonight I smoothed out the paper, and I read the words:

“Quote your dad.”

Thankfully, I was mostly cried out by that point. But I smoothed that wrapper out, and I hung it on my fridge. Dad has said a lot of really amusing things in his confusion the past few days, but over his 80 years, he’s also said a lot of really wise things. And so I pondered, what would Dad say to me in the midst of this trial if he understood what all was going on? It didn’t take long for the answer to come to me:

“We’ll take what the Lord gives us.”

Daddy has said theses words to me countless time over the years. No matter the circumstances, his faith-filled choice has been to take what the Lord gives. And so we will follow what he has faithfully taught us and lived out for his 80 years. We will take what the Lord gives us in this season.

Right now we are in the wilderness. Like David, like the Israelites, like Jesus himself. God has led us into the wilderness, for a purpose, and we will wait until he leads us out of it. We know that he alone sustains us. We know he has a purpose for our wilderness. And so we’ll take what the Lord gives us.

4 Comments

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4 Responses to To Quote My Dad

  1. Cherrie

    Oh Catherine, I admit to sobbing . When I read your quote from your sweet Daddy. We have know and been blessed by him in these past 40 years. We are praying for each of you and asking for God’s sustaining grace 💕

  2. Anita Hickinbotham

    A provision in a time of need! I am amazed that even though our difficult days are not always removed, He meets us in the middle of them (or by the end)! Blessings as you continue to walk, trusting and praying for wisdom. He is with you. Prayers are with you. I will be checking in with your momma!

  3. Prayers for all your family for relief and comfort in your hearts in the overwhelming care-giving position, especially my friend, your mom. <3

  4. Bonnie

    Finally had a chance to read this today, Catherine, and sat here bawling. First when I read how God amazingly gave you special quote inside the wrapper and then when I read the quote from your Daddy. I am presently dealing with some major vision/eye problems and have not really been very willing to “take what the Lord has given.” It takes such faith to receive the hard stuff with such open hands. Your Daddy has that kind of faith, and as I read your quote I have been spurred on to further pursue that kind of faith myself. I also can so relate to what you said about how it is also hard to NOT be able to be there for your loved ones. I have this same struggle with not being able to be there for my mom who is 85 and on her own since my daddy died. Fortunately my brothers and their wives live nearby her, but I am the only daughter and my physical limitations have made it so impossible for me to do what I want to, to care for her the way she deserves. In this area I have fretted and stressed often and have not done very well at “taking what the Lord has given.” Obviously, your piece spoke to me on so many levels. My heart is aching for you and your family, and I also wish there was more I could do to help your poor, dear momma in the midst of all this. But “all” I can do is pray. That rarely feels like enough, though. (Guess I also don’t have enough faith in the power of prayer, at least my own. 🙁 ) But please know that we are praying for all of you, especially your sweet momma during this time. What you are walking through is so very hard. Seems like TOO hard, and yet we hang onto His truth that with Him nothing is impossible, or more difficult than what HE will be able to handle. Just wanted to add that I’m sure your pot pie tasted delicious, even though ugly. Just like the hardest things in life, often the ugly things in life turn out to be the best of all! Love you, sweetie!

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