I Get Knocked Down

The year 2020 continues to blow.

Seven weeks was the length of time I stepped away from regular pandemic life in order to enter chaotic pandemic life. Yet in times like these, I find comfort in the immortal words of Chumbawamba: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.”

There’s also that part in the song that talks about the whiskey drink, the Vodka drink, the lager drink, and the cider drink that sounded intriguing at the time. But that’s another post for another day.

I received a call in mid-June that Mama had broken her wrist when she tried to catch Daddy from falling. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room, followed by surgery. Erring on the side of caution, we decided to separate Daddy and Mama for corona reasons, especially since they are in the high-risk category. That’s when everything began to unravel.

Dementia is a horrible disease that robs a person from their speech, their mobility, and basic functions that we all take for granted. My dad was diagnosed in early 2018 and we’ve watched him slowly slip away from us with each passing year. But until this latest fall, I didn’t realize how much pressure my mom was under as Daddy’s primary caregiver.

For anyone who is loving someone through any type of memory care issue, I salute you. Expect extra jewels in your crown, my friend.

The decision to place him in a memory care facility was gut-wrenching. Everything about it seemed wrong and the timing of it all seemed cruel. But when you’re faced with extenuating circumstances, you have to make important life decisions that will inevitably end up in the “THIS SUCKS” category of life.

I surrendered this awful time over to the Lord. I know my earthly father belongs to my heavenly Father and trust that God will do immeasurably more than what I can ask or imagine. I’m still waiting for the day when my emotions catch up to that truth.

I asked the Lord for a lot of help. Patience was a big priority in the beginning. Healing for mom’s wrist was another request. Wisdom to choose a reputable memory care facility. Prayers for anything resembling sleep. Strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. 

But praying for the Lord to grant me a peace that transcended all understanding was a minute-by-minute request. It rolled through my head on a loop. Over and over and over again. 

I wanted Daddy’s mind to be peaceful. I wanted Mama to find peace with this decision. I wanted peace regarding Covid. I wanted peace to calm my anxious heart.

And the Lord provided. 

Daddy understood that he was going to a place to help him stay safe and feel better. We loaded him into the car, pulled into the driveway of the facility, and braced ourselves for whatever came next. He took his walker and marched right into that building, without looking back, as my sister shouted, “YOU GOT THIS DADDY!”

It was surreal. 

My hope is that Daddy does not feel abandoned or alone. It’s a tough emotion to struggle through. What’s weird is the void he left behind. I expect to see him. I anticipate his needs and then realize he’s not there. It feels wrong, to be honest. The house without Daddy is strange. If you focus on it too long, you go down dark paths involving the unknown.

So in times like these, I focus on what I do know. God is sovereign. He is good. He will rejoice over Daddy with singing. 

I wanted to thank each one of you for your prayers, your texts, your phone calls, and your sweet notes during the last forty-nine days. I felt extremely loved. I didn’t feel alone.

It’s good to know that when I got knocked down, y’all will help me get up again. And I will forever be grateful. My cup runneth over.

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August 11, 2020 5:43 pm

Some of my best childhood memories involve your Mom and Dad. Catfish (Johnny Ray marvelled at how much shrimp my big brother could eat when he was a little boy), “Computer Concepts” in 8th grade (the cartoon she helped me make on that floppy disk was of two stick figures boxing) They have always seemed like the perfectly matched couple. God bless all of you. My family will pray for you.

August 11, 2020 7:26 pm

Lincee, you are such a beautiful writer (with a lot of hard work thrown in). While it’s not the same situation, my dad is dealing with this with his own father, and it has been such a difficult time. Your words helped encourage me at a time when I am heartbroken. You reminded me to pray for peace that only the Lord can provide. Prayers for you and your family.

August 11, 2020 11:20 pm

Lincee, we started on a parallel journey twelve years ago. My mother was in early stages of Dementia and my dad had a degenerative muscle disease. Between them, they managed to handle life quite well. We had just moved them to a lovely senior housing development when Dad choked on food while he and Mom were out for dinner. He went without oxygen for too long and we had to make the difficult decision to remove him from life support. We quickly discovered how much Dad had covered for Mom as she was unable to manage finances, follow medication protocol, or deal with uncertainties. Over the next 11 years, she was moved to a memory support unit then to assisted living and, finally, to a nursing home. In the last three years of her life, she didn’t recognize any of us and couldn’t communicate her needs. Her physical changes were devastating as my always coordinated, fashion conscious mother needed diapers and clothing which was easy for someone to slip on her uncooperative body. As difficult as it was to lose my dad in a heartbeat, it was far more difficult to lose my mother as she slipped further and further away from us and from reality. When she finally died last September, I found myself thanking God for her release rather than grieving as I had lost my mom years ago. This is a cruel journey, and you’re still in the beginning stages. My words of wisdom to share with you are to lean on the Lord in the knowledge that your dad and mom are his children and to lean on your family and friends to support you as you walk through these stages. I hold to the promise in Heidelburg Catechism question and answer number one: What is your only comfort in life? That I am not my own but belong to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. May you feel that comfort as well.

August 20, 2020 3:29 pm

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Hugs and lots of prayers for you and your family.

August 24, 2020 4:08 pm

Lincee, I am so sorry to hear this but glad you were able to find some peace with the decision. Prayers to you and all of your family!

August 24, 2020 5:15 pm

Lincee, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have not walked the journey of caring for someone with dementia aside from helping with an associated ministry called the Gathering Place Social (GPS). I can relate to grief. Our family said goodbye to my brother two years ago after a 23 year battle with a brain disorder. I was sad for the friend I lost all those years ago, that fun, popular 22 year old with his whole life ahead of him. I didn’t know how much I missed him; we had so been busy attempting to manage a mostly unmanageable situation (my parents more so than me). He reconnected with Jesus before he passed away. He was literally facing the door with a smile on his face, peaceful when Mom found him. I wish his adult life had been better and some questions remain unanswered at least for now. But God was with us every step, every frustration, every tear. Thankful that he cares and wish you the best in your situation.

Evangeline East
Evangeline East
August 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Lincee, I feel like you are my friend! My prayers are with you and your family!
I lost my dad on May 18.
I was home with my parents because of Covid, and that was a hidden blessing of this horrible pandemic!
I was able to be with my mom while my dad was in the hospital for three weeks because I was able to teach my classes online.
I was also able to be with my dad when he passed, that was a great God given gift because he came home from the hospital and died next to my mom in their bedroom, within hours of when he came home, he didn’t have to die alone in a hospital where we couldn’t see him, because of covid!!

September 5, 2020 5:34 pm

Your writing may be to heal you, but it’s touch heals us. I have kept your words on the sufferings of Job that you wrote several years ago. Those words have comforted me, and those friends to whom I have sent them. Thank you

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