What’s It All About Alfie?

So many times watching movies or seeing couples together in public that seem happy and have a closeness, I become somewhat envious, to be honest. Recently, seeing a couple together, him sweeping her up in his arms and so happy she will be his wife. What would that be or feel like?

Marriage is love between two people but that love can die due to situations never expected. A death of a marriage and then the shock of it happening is not what was expected. What happened? There was to be a happily ever after. Whether male or female, we want our relationships to grow and be happy. To know one another so well that you know their next move or what will be said or thinking. They are to become one.

Sadly, some in marriages do just that, become one. The spouse is no longer engaged either by choice or by circumstance.

So many times I wonder what it would be like to be a happily married couple. A loss I will never gain, once a grieving but soon it becomes reality.

What’s it like? A day, in the life of a happy couple. Morning has broken and the day begins while both get ready, and soon a quick kiss and an I Love You as each go their separate ways out the door. The day is preoccupied with work or tasks but even so, thoughts of your love one crosses your mind or perhaps a call or a text of I miss you. The joy of pulling in your driveway and being home in the evening to share a hug and a kiss when walking through the door, eat a meal and discuss the day, perhaps the yesterdays or make plans for the future. There is a closeness of wanting to share and express life whether in talk, some tears shed perhaps or laughter with each another, your best friend. The one loves the other and there is a safety net with each other. As the night closes, the closeness of each other lying in bed next to each other feeling their warmth and of resting in their love only to repeat the next day again and again. Yes, I mentioned no sex. Now you know that will happen, in a happily married couple, how could it not. There’s love. Right? What would that be like, to feel loved and be desired? I forgot.

Now to others, it is not the fairytale marriage one expected in life. Instead of Good Morning, it usually is a grunt or a sad sounding hello as each other pass in the hallway while getting ready for the day and off they go. No kiss or even I will miss you. The day goes by and maybe a text or something, probably about an issue but not at all exciting to receive. Now, only to return after a long day to also go their separate ways within a home under the same roof. No connection. The bedtime is either together or perhaps in separate rooms and either way, the possibility of any sparks flying are diminished. Just go to sleep and repeat day after day. Where is the love? Is this what marriage is to be like?

As I observe and know of others and know my own situation, there has to be more to life. Sadly, I am not alone feeling the same. Many are in the same boat. Reluctant to rock that boat to move on due to one reason or another and just sail along as best as you can and just survive, basically exist. Is that happiness? No. It might be the best option at the moment though. Hopefully, taking care of oneself and preparing to gain strength from the worthlessness felt and to find the happiness lost and joy within. It takes two to make a relationship work but it also takes two to give up and to not even try or care anymore. The one may feel hopeless and just tired of even trying while the other exists and no desire to do anything about the situation.

If this is you and your situation, please take care of you. If this is a couple or someone you know that is going through such pain and being unsure about life itself, just listen and support. Nobody really knows what goes on behind their closed doors but them. The Lord knows and maybe a counselor, and both I recommend.

I feel almost positive that there are many married couples that appear happy and in love, engaged in one another only while in public and especially in church, sad to say. Behind those closed doors, in the privacy of their own home, lives two strangers under one roof. Leaving the home to go out, the mask is placed and adjusted for another show of a happily married couple. This becomes exhausting. There is no happiness or love and this is not okay. It’s time to look in the mirror and put the mask down.

I know of each of these scenarios myself and it is sad to admit but truth. I am not the only one. That would be truth, too. So many times I have felt seasick on the boat of life, but I have finally tossed the mask. Even though, I often think or say, ‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’

Of course, after that quick question and cute song title of ‘What’s it all about Alfie?’ I say or cry out in a sad, pitiful voice, ‘There has to be more, Lord!’

I know in time, the boat will dock and I will get off. I see the shoreline and that gives me hope. Faster, faster! I know His timing is perfect. I wait

While I have been blessed in many ways, I also know of the pain and heartache endured. One day, as I stand knowing I am free to live with no mask again to wear, sadness and loneliness of a dead relationship gone, I will look all around me with a joyful heart, finding myself in an unknown territory asking, ‘What’s it all about Alfie?’

There has to be more in life, Lord, and I want it. I do not want to die this way. There is happiness beyond our sadness.

https://leslievernick.com/tag/divorce/

https://www.proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2020/09/24/healing-for-the-heartbroken

HOPE

We all need HOPE, nowadays more than ever. Last night, as I was going through my jewelry, I found a ring that says HOPE on it and my mind went back to the night I found it. Memories, good and bad, will surface at the oddest times from years ago, just like it was yesterday.

My mind went back to when I went to a large arena, I am unsure if it was a sports or a music event and I am unsure of those I was with, but I was not alone. I say that because I know I went for a reason and with others but even in the huge, dark building filled with thousands of people all around me, I felt alone.

It is hard to even think so far back of that time, reliving this moment, it is just as real and allowing the pain I felt deep within my soul. It seemed as though everything around me in life was like a huge, dark cloud that I was living in. It was lowest time of my life due to situations. I had nobody to tell or to trust of what I was experiencing, I felt hopeless. I did keep a lot to myself. In that, depression enters and you survive another day, at times making one foot go in front of the other, just to move forward.

I experienced that period of deep depression, but I wonder how many others share the same sense of hopelessness, the heartache within, wearing a mask that all is well. It doesn’t matter if in your circle of friends, family, passing others in public and sadly enough, sitting on the same pew at church with you. Life sometimes does not go well. Odds are, they are there among you, among all of us. We are all going through something.

As I sat in my seat at the arena, for whatever reason I was looking around, probably at an intermission time, and I saw something shiny in the corner under a seat. Since I was alone and the seat was empty, I hesitated but then reached for that shiny object. It intrigued me so why not. As a I pulled it out of the muck that can build under seats, I wiped it off. I knew it was round and a ring and knowing such items are lost at times. Wiping it off to look at, I could have bursted out crying. It had HOPE stamped on it all around the band.

It’s in the dark places that you grow, even if you feel stomped on and near death. We may not understand the dark valleys we walk through and may question God, why? He is with us, He was with me as I held that dirty ring of HOPE. I was reminded of His Love and to hold on, for I was not alone after all.

You cannot tell me that God does not see us and knows where we are. I walked in with no hope and walked out with HOPE.

Knowing it was not an expensive ring, I knew someone had lost it. As we were exiting, there was nowhere to return it to lost and found. Odds are the person who lost it will never come back to claim it or even look for it under the dirty seats. So I made the decision to keep it, as I needed HOPE and it did indeed give me just that. I cleaned the ring better at home and it was on my finger.

Not to forget through this, somebody lost that ring and at some point needed hope, too, and I do hope and pray they are doing well in life. I would like to think that they, too, hope and pray for the one that perhaps finds the ring, me.

In life, there are times we walk through and feel stuck in the muck and nasty stuff, just like this ring. Still through the mess, the ring was shining through as a fleck for me to see. We each are blessed with gifts and talents, which may seem dim and useless to us, or to even put forth an effort trying, feeling so worthless. He has to remind us, even in such simple things as this ring. He cleans us off and makes us shine so that we can share His Love with others and provide HOPE when there seems to be none.

There is HOPE!

https://formerheathen.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/blessed-in-the-dark-places/

“And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.” Job 11:18

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5

“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” Psalm 72:14

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his wordI hope;” Psalm 130:5

“More than that, we rejoice in out sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces, hope,” Romans 5:3-4

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans’ 12:12

The Bible is full of HOPE, as He knew we would need such in our lives to pull strength from, to live on this earth day by day. “My soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

A Shell of a Woman

The reversal of roles between parents and children is such an odd place to be, but required. Knowing full well that while I am still the parent to my children, years and hopefully many years from now, they will be caring for me and making good decisions on my behalf.

I try to remember this today for the tomorrow. The situation we are being faced with is of my in-laws. Watching the gradual decline over the years, which seems to have increased this past year, even the past two months. As with the world, we have all had to limit contact with others due to Covid19. Even though, through the pandemic, we had to limit our time, we have always had to limit our contact and basically make an appointment to visit through the years that I have been in this family.

It’s the oddest thing. My father-in-law is a stubborn, old man and is and has been controlling with his attitude as well as being verbally abusive, if not emotionally abusive to my mother-in-law. I have often asked her when we get a few minutes without him hovering over her if he is ever physically abusive, which is always no, thankfully. I just hope. Through it all, she covers for him, also lives in denial about a lot within the family and is an enabler to him. If he is giving her a hard time or is being a grouch, she will say it is not a good day to visit, when we call, but thanks for calling. Goodbye.

If we do get the green light to visit, we ring the door bell and wait for their surprised masked faces we came to visit. They are just fine, nothing is wrong and so happy to see us. I have learned that having Aspergers, which runs in their family, the mask can only be on for so long. With her tied to this man, she has also learned the traits and follows along to keep him calm.

Around Christmas, I visited, a surprise visit. I was at the grocery store near their house, calling to test the waters but to see if they needed anything. In her happy, jovial voice saying come on over, I knew it was a good day. As I am in the grocery store, my cell phone rings and it is her, as she did need some things. How about that. Almost ready to check out, she calls again, he wants peppermint candy. Now the visit, to spy out the land and knowing it should be a short, nice visit.

Something had surely changed. Things were not as clean and neither were they. As I helped her put away what groceries she requested with some added treats, I knew they enjoyed, I was somewhat taken aback by it all. This is not good, not good at all. Apparently, not bathing is normal with age, dementia or Alzheimer’s or whatever we are facing. There is no need to even mention a doctor’s visit or anything outside of their four walls, as he would not approve, so she suffers, too.

Recently, since we were expecting a bad snow storm this past week, their son (my husband) and I both made a surprise visit, if allowed, only giving them about forty-five minutes to clean up their act, appearance, etc., which not happen. In just two months, they both have deteriorated and while her hair looked cleaner, it was matted down. How can that be? He was looking like a mad man sitting there, now with long hair and a beard commenting he cannot see. I had never seen this man with a beard or looking so disheveled. The house was not clean but it was not nasty, yet. Things are slipping.

Again, no need to mention an eye appointment or a hair appointment, it’s not worth getting him all riled up and kicking us out, which has happened with the older son.

Their son, my husband, was just over there two nights before because they were not answering their phone. The mind can only think the worst in that situation. The phone was unplugged and neither had a clue how that happened. Plus, forgetting he was over.

Also, the toilet was clogged the day we both stopped in, so he fixes it while I am listening to both of them blame the other for that problem. In my mind, I’m thinking it had to be one of you, while quietly laughing to myself as this played out. You did it! No, you did it! At least through all the chaos around me while visiting, it was entertaining, even though so sad.

With the groceries and a hot pizza we brought, I again helped her put things away but then I stood back and watched her again. The lady was lost. Not even knowing what to do with paper towels or what to put the pizza on to serve him. I hesitated while watching her stand in the unknown of her mind and I said, a plate. Immediately, she looks at me and smiles with a wink and says, yes a paper plate. For a moment, with the smile and a wink, she returned, as that was my sweet mother-in-law. Gone again within minutes, staring at the pizza.

I mentioned her sister, the church, the pastor and various topics in our time together with nothing to follow, just a look. I really don’t think she remembers any of them. Repeating often of the weather and snow storm, as that was of interest to him. Many times, she would chime in with, “Are we going to get snow?” The repeating did not bother me, as I went through this with my own mom. It’s the fact of how far she had gone downhill, so quickly, in two months.

While I don’t do this out of disrespect but of record, as I did with my aunt while in the nursing home, I put my cellphone on silent and snap pics, in an indiscreet way, they never knew. I feel more than ever, it is time to keep track of their health and well-being. This year will be one of decisions for their three sons to make, although it will all fall upon my husband, their middle son, and myself. Knowing he will put it on me. I need to be ready to state my case when it comes to some immediate things, like taking the car keys away from her, hiding her keys or letting air out of a tire or disconnect the car battery. Yes, she still drives, but only to the grocery store, which is near. Still, that’s dangerous now, with the thought of seeing their photo on the local news as a missing couple.

The sons think they are fine, just getting older. True! They did years ago, when trying to convince them, we have a problem developing. I think the whole family lives in denial.

When leaving, I am holding my phone in a direction to snap a pic of her while talking about the snow storm again. Even in the freezing temperature, she walks out on the porch to say goodbye. She does that because she knows that task still. My pic of her when I got home and look at it, she is lost. There is nothing alert in her facial appearance standing before me, the eyes are dim, somewhat fixed, as nobody’s home. A total hopelessness over the years have taken her over. Now what do we do? How do I direct their son(s) in the next phase?

The lady in this pic has more life in her eyes than what I saw in my mother-in-law. The strong one caring for her husband is becoming non-existent. I could and can deal with her, I don’t know if I can deal with my father-in-law. Help me Jesus!

Sitting at the kitchen table, I see bills and their checkbook, wondering if she is even capable of continuing this task. Nothing has been set up for a son or sons to be in charge of such financial business for household or medical circumstances, unsure of benefits when they pass or what are we are up against. They are and have always been private, his control and being so stubborn. It was hopeful to ask her but now that is gone, we lost the window of opportunity. When the inevitable happens or even a medical emergency, we will be scrambling to locate paperwork. It is coming, too fast and too soon.

His mom is an empty shell. So sad, as the words she spoke to me just ten years ago, after her retirement; soon after being held as a prisoner in her own home by him, saying, “This was not what I was expecting.” She felt hopeless back then and in all of those years, now hopelessness is so visible, she has given up as she is just a shell of a woman.

Parenting Your Aging Parents When They Don’t Want Help

https://khn.org/news/parenting-your-aging-parents-when-they-dont-want-help/embed/#?secret=SJzqRkegVh

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-handle-an-elderly-parents-bad-behavior-138673.htm

Why Won’t Your Alzheimers or Dementia Parent Take Showers

https://artsyfartsylife.com/why-wont-your-alzheimers-or-dementia-parent-take-showers/embed/#?secret=PtizhOFio0

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.seniorlink.com/blog/tips-for-dealing-with-stubborn-elderly-parents-with-dementia-50-expert-tips-for-communicating-gaining-cooperation-understanding-behavior-and-more%3Fhs_amp%3Dtrue

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/taking-over-parents-finances-what-you-need-to-know-143865.htm

Thanks for reading. Any input is welcome if you have experience in a situation, as such. ML

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. … Instead, we have to trust in God. But the point is clear: as parents got older and are no longer able to provide or care for themselves, the responsibility is passed to the children.