Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Bittersweet Trip

In preparation for her mission, Daughter needed to attend the temple before her report date.  I cannot attend with her, as I'm not a member in good standing anymore.  That left my mother to go with her.

My dad had wanted to go, too, but he's no longer strong enough to do so.  He actually can hardly make it from one room to another now.  So, it was decided that Mom would to Salt Lake City with us for one night.

She was nervous about being away from him. We went through all kinds of scenarios of people who could help him while she was gone.  Finally, Son asked, "Why can't I do it?"

We were a little stunned.  We didn't know he was so inclined. I mean, this isn't easy stuff, to care for someone in such a state of decline.  But Son really wanted to do it, to be helpful to the man who has been his father figure for most of his life.

So, to Salt Lake we went.

While Daughter and Mom went to the temple, I wandered Temple Square and admired the buildings and gardens in the bright Utah sun.  See?

Assembly Hall
Assembly Hall grounds

Flower Bed in Temple Square

Salt Lake City Temple

SLC Temple up close

Lion House with gardens
Temple Square has a very strong spiritual feeling for me.  My ancestors helped build that temple. When I'm there, I'm walking in their footsteps.

But my relationship with God is challenged lately.  I have many questions for him about why he does the things he does to me, and why he's doing what he's doing to my dad.  My dad has always been the most faithful man. My mother wonders and questions, but he never does.  He is steadfast and strong. The power of the Spirit just emanates from him.

To see him suffering like this, slowly being robbed of bits of himself....that's hard to take.

When Mom and Daughter were finished, we had lunch and then went to the LDS bookstore nearby.  They also sell temple clothing there, which is all white and meets a certain dress code.

Mom bought Dad's burial clothes.  That was hard to take, too.

She returned home, to find that Son had done an excellent job of caring for his grandpa.  I'm proud of him for that.  I know it's not easy, to do or to deal with mentally. The decline is really drastic.

Daughter and I remained in Salt Lake for a couple of days longer, spending time with one another and visiting our favorite sites.  We spent quite a lot of time at the Visitor Centers at Temple Square. She particularly wanted to see this:

The Christus
This statue is simply breathtaking. It's a spiritual place, I tell ya.  And for my spiritual daughter, it's a magical place, as well.  We sat quietly in the presence of this statue and let the moment soak in.

I'm sure her thoughts differed from mine.  She feels the love and comfort of her Heavenly Father and her "big brother," Jesus Christ.  I turn to them with my questions....

"Why do you forsake me?"
"Why do you want me to be so alone?"
"Why do you take and take and take from me?"
"Why do you not love me?"
"Why do you hurt the people I love?"
"Why can't I catch a break from all the crap?"

I want so much to believe that I have the love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but I'm not feeling it.  I feel abandoned.  I feel battered.  I ache so deeply.  My heart is so broken.

I keep it to myself, though.  My family certainly doesn't want to hear ir, and I'm so proud of the path my daughter walks.  I wouldn't want to undermine that for her.  Her faith sees her through so much.  I would never say or do anything that might take that from her.

The next time I'm in Salt Lake, I'll be delivering her to report for her mission.  She's so excited about it, and I smile and hug and love and support her.  But I don't know how I'll make it thorough the next year and a half.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Update on "Six Months"

My dad saw his local oncologist yesterday.  He has deteriorated rapidly and is now so weak that he can barely get around.  The doctor said he thinks the six months estimate is wrong. He thinks Dad has three to four weeks.

They did get their hands on an experimental drug, and it's the last chance to shrink the tumor.  This isn't  cure, but might buy him a little time and relieve some pain.  That starts this week, so we'll see how it goes.

At this point, after being through so many disappointments, it's hard to be hopeful.

He is a shadow of the man he used to be, of the man who raised me.  He was always a large presence, an imposing figure.  Now, he is thin, frail, worn out.  A couple of weeks ago, he was able to do a few things in the yard, putter around the house.  Now, he can barely walk.

It's all happening so fast.  He's being taken a piece at a time, and it's so hard to watch. He deserved better than this.