things good for the heart

It took me being a parenthood to truly appreciate all the things my parents did for me, and continue to do for me. I did not realize how much time and energy it takes to raise a child…and it’s a good day if I can be fully present most of the time. I wish I had the energy of a 4 year old.

My daughter and I are on vacation in NC, and hanging out with my parents. We are taking little day trips from their house. We are eating like Kings and Queens. My father has lovingly mapped out our meals for the whole week.

I am so grateful that I can bring share these moments of joy with my parents. My father’s recent health scare made it very clear in a real and experiential way that our time together is limited, so I hope we can all enjoy these precious moments together the best we can.

My heart goes out to other families and folks, who are care givers to elderly parents having health problems or going through cognitive change. My dad’s challenges are more physical with the decline of his kidney function, but I’d be happy to engage in conversations or offer support in any way.

I work in the field of dementia care, and I also have experience as a chaplain walking with people and families through the journey of end-of-life. Thanks for reading. May a Loving Creator watch over you and your loved ones, and remind you that you are not alone.

Borrowed Time

I guess we are all living on borrowed time. We never know how much time we have on this earth. My father would not listen to my words, but he did listen to his doctors saying that if he did not do dialysis that he would have less than three months. I am grateful that doctors, nurses, and staff at High Point Regional hospital took good care of my dad.

It’s been a month, since my father started doing dialysis at his local dialysis center, and the funny thing is that he likes going there. Life is strange and comical sometimes.

In the mean time, I am reflecting on life and death, hanging out with my four year old daughter, and trying to support my mom and dad. I have been trying to keep my older brother in the loop.

I am currently at my parents’ house for a one week vacation. I am slowly softening and being more gentle with my father, even with his usual O.C.D. and crazy questions about future planning…breathe… and practice patience, love and  tolerance. 🙂

End of Life

In the last few  years, I have walked with lots of people and their families through the journey of grief and loss as a chaplain. Death like birth can be a painful yet a very sacred moment.

I am currently home visiting my parents, and now I get to journey with my father as he journeys towards death. In the past year, my father discovered his kidneys have significantly being effected by his blood pressure medicine. In April of this year, my father’s kidney function was at 15% and he had a tremendous health scare before seeing a specialist at Duke hospital. Despite some critical changes to his meds, my father’s kidneys have continued to deteriorate: November it was at 12% and currently, my father’s kidneys are at 9% function.

The sadness is intensified by the fact that my father has chosen not to pursue medical measures like dialysis or seeking to get a kidney transplant. My father is a minister and he has told me that he is ready if it be God’s will. I respect my father’s choice and decision, but it still makes me deeply sad. I am not quite ready to let my father go…but it’s out of my control.

I have chosen to be with my parents the best I can and try to support my mom and dad. It feels different to navigate hospice as a son, even though I have helped many others navigate through the process of dying as a chaplain.

I usually have not been this vulnerable and personal on this blog, but I think I will continue to share my journey with accompanying my father through end of life and journeying with my mother as she goes through the process of grief. I don’t know if anyone is reading, but I need to write so the sadness does not swallow me whole.

I offer this prayer for both my family and all those journeying with someone as they approach end of life, and as they journey through the pain of it all:

Divine Creator,

May you bless this moment with all its pain, sadness, laughter and joy.

May we remember that each moment is sacred. May Your loving hold each one of us as we journey together to the unknown. Help us to walk with our loved one, and may You hold us in Your Light as we say goodbye and they journey home to You.

Thank you for the gift of Your love, the gift of family, and the gift of this very moment.

Why do I write?

I wanted to write a little manifesto for my readers and for myself to encourage myself and others to keep writing.

Reasons For Writing:

  1. I write to participate in an act of creating.
  2. I write to share my experiences with hopes that it might be helpful to someone else.
  3. I write poetry to put words to feelings I can’t always express in other ways.
  4. I write to reflect, and to grow.
  5. I write so I can remember where I have been, where I am going, but especially so I can open up to the now.

This is just a short list of why I write. Why do you write? I would love to hear your reasons why you write and create. Thanks for reading.