“ Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
Blessed John Paul II
In no way are the decisions I've made the right decisions for everyone. God will guide each of us to make the decisions that are best for us and for our loved ones...at that moment. Please turn to Him for ultimate guidance. What I share is based on my experience. God loves you and your loved one. He alone knows what is best in your unique situation.
I remember the day Boo had his second stroke. That was the day our lives changed irrevocably. We'd been married less than two months and our commitment to each other and our marriage was tested.
I knew that my responsibility was taking the best care of Boo that I could. At the time, I really didn't know just what that would look like. I was sure that after Boo had a brief rehabilitation at home, I'd be able to return to work and our lives would return to normal.
That was my plan.
That was not what happened.
It became apparent to Boo's doctor, his therapists and to me that he simply wouldn't be able to handle eight to nine hours alone so that I could return to work full time. In fact, he couldn't handle three or four hours alone.
This time my resolve to stay home with Boo and care for him was stronger. I wasn't sure just how we were going to make our limited budget stretch to meet our basic needs. I did know that was a minor consideration and one that we'd manage somehow.
The larger consideration was my commitment and my willingness to learn ways to care for Boo that were supportive and that would not diminish his sense of self worth. This was and remains a learning experience for me.
All along the way, there have been choices. Do I want to continue to care for Boo at home? Absolutely and resoundingly, I do. Is being cared for at home best for Boo? This decision I make with input from Boo's doctors, therapists and from friends who see and interact with both of us frequently. Currently, the answer is yes...with some reservations from one of his current doctors because she feels that I am too young to “be trapped at home with an invalid.” (She also believes that dementia patients are always best cared for in an institutional setting.)
For Boo, for me, for now...being at home is the best option.
Our future is in God's Hands. Only He knows what lies ahead.
I choose to look forward not at the past. I cannot dwell on the I-wish and the we-planned themes. I choose to focus on what I believe God wants me to do...today.
Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don't.
Thankfully I serve a forgiving God...Who loves me as I am, where I am. And Who prods me to go forward.
How do you make decisions about what is best for your loved one?
Pray...first and foremost...and continually.
Talk to your loved one. Involve him or her in the decision making process as much as possible.
Ask for advice from your loved one's medical providers and from those who know you well.
Find and use the resources in your community.
Find or create a support group for yourself and for your loved one.
Make the necessary decisions...knowing that no decision is final. If what you try first doesn't work, modify your plan.
If your loved one is not yet at a point that these decisions are immediate, start talking. Start looking at options. Start making tentative plans. It is far easier to make these plans together now than to try to do so when you are emotionally distraught.
It is my prayer that the God Who loves us,
Who forgives us,
Who catches us when we fall,
Who carries us when we can walk no longer,
will guide each of us
as we struggle to find His best for us and for our loved one.