Friday, March 21, 2014

the man he was...

Some of you may know that my father-in-law, Caroline's "Papa," has been struggling with a progressing dementia for the past several years after he experienced a series of mini stokes.  He was already blind, and as you can imagine, that has only aggravated his confusion.  

As Papa has become more and more disoriented, he now slips in and out of lucidity.  

Sometimes he's there.  Many times he's not.

The last trip Papa made to our house a year & a half ago

There are not enough words to describe the agony and heartbreak of watching a loved one gradually slip away.  

A husband.  A father.  A grandfather.  

It breaks our heart to see Papa's "thinker broken."  

Who he is now is not who he is.  It's important that we remember Papa for the man he was.  

My mother-in-law (aka "Nanny" as you all have known her through the years) just wrote down these heartfelt words to do just that.  

The Man He Was
(by Shirley T. Corbett)

I once knew this man
Lying here close by my side.
During all these years, he has taken me for a ride.

He’s been strong and wise in so many ways.
He’s been here for his family through all these days.

He is not quite as clear as he used to be.
Now all I have is what I was once able to see.

I miss him! this man that he was,
His words and his confidence, as he worked so hard.
Always knowing exactly what to do, 
Leading his family through the good and the bad,
Always aware of what he had.

He was there for me through the thick and the thin.
Able to survive from without and within.

Now I feed and clothe him and see that he’s clean.
I make decisions about his every need.

He’s there somewhere, the man he was.
Sometimes I hear him by what he says.
He laughs that laugh he’s always had,
And says “I love you, did you know that”?

Most of the time he’s talking to someone else.
He thinks it’s mama, or Linda, or Sharon.
I’m always gone to take care of things.
I’m never around according to him.

Our lives have been good,
God has blessed us so much.
He’s been with us these 60 years, we can feel His touch.
He gave us three children with their husband and wives,
Eleven grandchildren, and two great grands to complete our lives.

He may not understand all that goes on in this life.
But one day, at the end of all this strife,
He will  be able to see, and to think once more,
As we meet anew on that heavenly shore.
Until that day comes, I will continue to strive,
To make life for him a good way to survive.

One day soon, I will understand God’s will, 
When He takes him home to be with Him.
Until that day, God will give me grace,
As I continue to run this human race.

I thank you, Lord for the strength You give,
And the grace you provide each day as we live.
The blessings we have are more than enough
Even though the path may be awfully tough.

I can never thank you for all that you do,
As you not only provide for our every need,
but You bless us in so many other ways too.
I’ll live my life to bring glory to Your name,
Until I end this race inYour eternal Hall of Fame. 

Papa's first time meeting our baby Caroline

Papa's first time meeting little Jameson

We know that one day we'll see Papa dance again.
We will always remember the man he was.

Our Father, would you be most merciful to Papa
Grant him peace in his mind
Bring calmness to his fearful, restless heart
Provide to Nanny the unending strength, wisdom, and patience
that she requires to sustain herself through each day
Surround them both with the support they need-
those functioning as Your hands, as Your arms,
embracing them and caring for them through these days of challenge
Cause them to trust in You more deeply, more fully
And allow them to feel Your continued presence
that You promise us in the dark valley of death.
Draw their eyes and their hearts toward the Resurrection Day,
when at last, these weights and ills will be no more.
In Christ's saving name,

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