A Celebration and a Sadness

Today we celebrated Emma’s 10th birthday at the PlayStation, a chaotic place, but an extremely easy place to host a party.  I was really proud of her in the way that she interacted and its fun to see her maturity show in such neat ways.  During present opening, she pulled her 3 year old cousin up onto her lap and asked her if she wanted to help her open the gifts.  There are very few even 10 year olds who would be able to do something like that on their own initiative.  But, the kids had fun, and we had fun watching them.

We went from the party to my parents’ house to spend some time with my family and Rebekah, before she leaves to go back to DC.  She will fly out in the morning and it will be a few weeks before she’ll be back again.  Her next trip will be to attend the benefit concert that Wendy Jans is doing at Java Creek.

Today, at the party, it just broke my heart to see my dad.  At one point, Garmai was wanting to go cash in her tickets for a toy and I told her to get someone to go up with her.  She walked past my dad and he tried to talk to her but couldn’t get the words out.  He even patted his chest, as if to say, “I could go with you,” but he couldn’t put that into words either, and she walked right past.  I called her name and said, “Garmai, I think Grandpa was wanting to say something to you.”  He got up from his chair and she figured out he was going to go with her.  So, they started walking toward the front.  I went with, just in case he needed help, and I wanted to take some pictures of my dad at different events with the girls.  He stood up by the counter with her as they waited to be helped.  He couldn’t really talk to her and all the signs with different numbers of tickets was too confusing for him, so he didn’t know what to do.  I stepped in and helped her pick her things, and once she got her toys we walked back and I told him “Thank you for going with her.”  I could see that he felt badly for being useless in the task, and there is little that can comfort him at a time like that, but it is his desire to be there with her that shows his heart, not the amount he is able to do.  He loves her, chose to be with her, even though it was painful for him.  It was her that mattered to him.

On one hand, it breaks my heart to watch Garmai be so unresponsive to my dad, as the pain of losing him has caused her to just totally disconnect from him.  Loss is so hard for each of our girls, in very different ways, but Garmai especially is just shutting him out of her heart, barely communicating with him at all.  She had almost a whole year with him, being his only grandchild, and he was so good with her.  Its hard to watch the girls experience such a pivatol loss so soon after establishing bonds and connections. 

But it also broke my heart to watch my dad, who is really out of his comfort zone in a party of lots of people, where he gets confused and can’t communicate.  And still he sees Garmai’s need for a companion, wants to give to her, and takes the risk, even amidst the ever growing difficulties he has.  I was just telling my husband that its like he is losing his ability to have any impact on the world around him and the people he loves.  He has been such a natural giver and do-er, but now there is little he can give or do that gives him a sense of purpose or impact.  He’s so trapped in his internal world that he can’t express, and increasingly can’t understand.  Tonight was one of those moments where I could see the “dad” I’ve always known come through.  I want so badly to be an encouragement to him right now, especially when he tries and can’t do things, but more than anything it just sinks in how deeply I will miss him once he’s gone. 

For so long he has been wrestling with accepting his illness and diagnosis, and all that comes with it.  But now it appears that he has really accepted this new truth that is his life.  He seems calmer internally.  Most of his day is spent watching tv and resting.  His fatigue is growing and he is going to bed quite early these days.  He and my mom do their daily outing of going to the post office, the bank, and any other quick errands they need to do, but he can’t be out long or he gets too tired.  They try to go for short walks, to get out, and at times he will help her work on setting up her home decor sales, although there is not a lot that he can do and again, his stamina does not last long.  He’s getting a little more unsteady on his feet and looking quite thin, although we try to encourage him to eat, and eat on time, so he doesn’t lose strength or put too much stress on his body in that way. 

Over Thanksgiving we are going to visit the North Shore one more time.  We are hoping that my dad feels up to going, as the thought of not being able to go was very disappointing to him.  Please be praying we are able to make this happen.  We are expecting this to be his last opportunity to go.

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One thought on “A Celebration and a Sadness

  1. Naomie,
    Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts. What a sensitive and generous gift for your Dad to reach out to Garmai that way. He hasn’t given up on giving love. I feel for you and your family. And I pray for God’s supernatural peace and love to enfold each of you, for that Balm of Gilead to warmly flow into each area of hurt and disappointment. I don’t know why you have to walk through this valley of the shadow, but I know He is with you and in you.

    With love and prayers,

    Marilyn

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