Life with a capital L has found its way into our day to day life and has forced upon us a most difficult decision.
Decisions, decisions. Some are more difficult than others.
During this spring and summer, we have been facing some difficult choices regarding our family. Specifically, my wife's parents. Her mother is in declining health yet lives alone some three hours from where we've lived for the past few years. In point of fact, we are in Branson because of her, having moved there after her stroke and the prognosis on her not being able to live alone, resulting in my resigning from my job, then learning that she did recover enough to live alone and refusing all help we offered her. Full circle, huh. Her father lives in an assisted living facility due to his health. Both are failing to the point where they require constant care and with her being the only surviving child of the household, their care falls to her...and myself. Her father has been declining due to dementia brought on by a stroke and Alzheimer's being thrown in for good measure. A fall while in the care of a hospital resulted in a broken hip. Surgery was successful, physical therapy was not and he is wheelchair bound for life. Recent developments in his care by the facility he is currently living in has resulted in our questioning their diligence in caring for him and has resulted in our decision to move back to her home town, bring him to live with us full time and be within minutes to assist her mother.
Doing this requires my resigning from Silver Dollar City, her from her job with the school district, pulling our youngest out of his school and moving three hours away to another town. What do we do? Ignore their health and let them continue to fade away until they die? Her mother lives alone and it could literally result in her falling in her home, severely injuring herself and dying on the floor of her home. Can we have that on our conscience for the rest of our lives?
No, no we cannot.
And so, we decide.
In all reality, it isn't a hard decision. Because we have a heart, because we care, because we walk the walk as we talk the talk, we decide the best thing to do is to move away from Branson. This forces me to resign from Silver Dollar City, leaving behind a multitude of friends, yet taking a vast store of memories from my time there. Capping my work at SDC has been the best summer of work I have ever enjoyed, due in no small part to my being able to enjoy over a hundred shows of Southern Raised, that bluegrass/Christian band from just up the road from Branson. Without a doubt this sibling band is one of the sweetest, nicest and most talented group of people I have ever had the privilege of being around. I will miss them.
My wife will be leaving her job of two years, friendships made both with coworkers and those she has cared for in the school. Our son loses friendships as well, although some will continue due to that miracle of online gaming.
But leave we must and to do so requires hard work. And, not a little faith. With both of us forced to quit our jobs, moving to our new hometown will require finding new jobs. But because we will be caring full time for her father, what will we do for income? What kind of job will we be able to get there, that allows us to be available to do what needs done on a daily basis? Jobs are scarce, good paying jobs even more so and ones that will fit the schedule we will have scarcer than hens teeth. Plus uprooting our teen-aged son and putting him into another high school will be traumatic as well. Are we crazy?
I find a job, we find a house and the real work begins.
In what will be the first of many miracles needed, I find a possible job. And we find a house. Now, bear with me here. In the past two years we have searched long and hard for a house to purchase in the Branson area. Living in a condo overlooking the lake has its moments, and the three minute commute to work a breeze but condo life ain't for us. Someone above, below, beside leads to someone, sometime walking heavy, smoking, partying, taking up extra parking places, forcing me to come in after midnight at times and park a long, long ways away and walk down the hill to where we live. It can be maddening. In looking for houses to buy we entered into a contract to purchase no less than five times, and came away without anything to show for it every single time. Whether it was not enough time on the job (me), too many houses on a well for the type of loan we tried to get, no one knowing who owns the road in front of the house (stupid, but true), taking to long to fix the issues found by the inspector, or termites, we came up empty every time. We were to the point of tears. So when we found a house in our new town, I was worried as to what would go wrong this time. Throw in the time crunch we were in regarding getting our son into his new school on time and we were doubly worried. The schedule for my job to start, him to enter school, and us to close on the house was literally a span of three days. Close on Tuesday, move in on Wednesday, him start on Thursday with me starting that same day. If the house fell through we were dead in the water.
Then, a prayer came true.
Oh ye of little faith.
Due to our record of failures regarding buying a house over the last two years, I was extremely concerned to say the least. A song of Southern Raised's kept going through my mind as I asked for help from above. Entitled "Letting Go", it tells us to put our faith in His hands and let go of our worries. Over and over I listened to this song, letting its meaning envelope me and ease my mind. And amazingly, the house closing came and went as smooth as anything I have ever desired. We closed, moved in, enrolled our son, and began to ready the house for my father-in-law.
Tomorrow we go to get him and bring him home. I have built a wheelchair ramp in the house to get him from his bedroom to the rest of the house, a ramp to get him into the house, and a 30' boardwalk along the house to get him over the soft wet ground that exists there. We have fixed the front walk to remove the pooling area that results when it rains, purchased a wheelchair, bed and bedding, TV, items required to get him into and out of the bathroom.
We will begin assisting her mother the following day, going over to mow her one acre of grass and begin doing the many tasks associated with her home, things which have fallen by the wayside over the past few years. We have only just learned many of them and it will be a chore to fix and repair the many items on the list but do them we shall.
There is no one else to help. Only we two.
And so begins our latest journey...
In this thing we call Life. Challenges arise, are met head on (albeit with no small amount of tears, frustrations, fear and worry at times) and we continue to journey. We trust that He has put us where He wants us to be, at the precise time we need to be here, and with the tools required to succeed.
We have moved her father in with us and will do our best to care for him in his declining years. We will also assist her mother in caring for her property, and will be there when it becomes too much for her to continue to care for. We will care for our youngest son, doing everything possible to make his final years in high school the best ever, and make sure his feet are on the correct path for a bright future.
And we will care for one another, be there and support for each other at all times, display the patience needed to make sure the other person in this relationship can count on the love and support that will be needed to get through this challenge.
I will also begin a series of articles detailing life caring for a parent who is an invalid and has this disease which so alters their being and health. Hopefully, it will be beneficial to someone who might be going through the same thing or even help to create an idea of what to do with their parents (or themselves at some point) when the time comes to make that difficult decision of where they will spend their final years on this planet.
© 2019 Mr Archer
Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on September 09, 2019:
Liz, Bill, Doris, Dr William and Cheyenne (Shauna), my friends from around the world I and my family thank you for your thoughts and prayers in this endeavor. We truly appreciate them. This has been the toughest time frame I have experienced in my life and only with His help am I still sane. What we are learning daily and putting into practice is amazing even as it is humbling to know that we will possibly end up in the same situation in the not too distant future (hell, I turn 60 shortly!).
I pray that what we learn, through trial and error mostly, will benefit someone at some point as they read what I will be posting here. Much like my Labrador Hub, I hope the coming articles get a life of their own and become something others can find and read in order to prepare them for what might be, or help when they need it most.
Take care friends. I love you all. May God bless each of you.
And you too Marie; your personal email was most appreciated.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 09, 2019:
Mike, you're an awesome person. You put your family first. For that, the Red Sea parted and cleared the path to those who need you most. I know your father-in-law and mother-in-law will appreciate it, even if your FIL isn't completely aware of what's going on.
You're a wonderful role model for your son. The next to last paragraph of this post says it all. Love will be your strength and guidance.
God bless you, my friend.
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on September 08, 2019:
Thank you for sharing your story. So well written. Each of it who reads it benefits from your struggles, but gains strength to meet our own. Looking forward to what you can share in the future. Best wishes!
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 08, 2019:
You sound like a loving family man, so my best wishes go out to you and your family. There comes a time when many people are faced with situations such as yours. But such sacrifices sometimes have to be made. I'll be watching for your reports of progress.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 08, 2019:
Best wishes to you in this latest chapter of your life. With love all things are possible. I have no doubt your family will be fine.
Liz Westwood from UK on September 07, 2019:
Thanks for sharing this moving account of your life experiences recently. The house move, job and school start in such a short space of time was amazing to read. I admire your dedication to your family and hope that you will be given all the energy and support you require over the coming months. I am sure that, as you write of your experiences, you will be an encouragement to others in similar situations.