Marvin is on the left, he’s 95 and Jim is on the right, just in case you don’t remember. Marvin is Jim’s father and he is in the hospital right now 03-09-15, been there since 3-6-15 and needs your prayers. He’s got pneumonia, was just diagnosed with C-Diff, and a bad case of stubbornness. “Don’t get old” he says every time he sees us. It’s hard for him to swallow the fact that he is old, but he is starting to acknowledge, begrudgingly!
This is Marvin’s wife, Wilma and Judy. My dad and Wilma have been married 26 years. She is 98. Neither Marvin or Wilma are happy campers as they feel like they were forced to move out of their home and into an assisted living facility. Marvin had been her 24/7 care-giver and just wasn’t doing it well enough and neither would accept outside help. Its a very nice facility where they are well taken care of. Marvin’s driving privilege was taken from him against his will around the same time. He readily reminds me of that he doesn’t have a car and can’t go anywhere. They both have dementia and it is progressing all too quickly.
Recently, two weeks ago, Marvin had to be removed from their facility and placed in a different one, because he can no longer control his temper around Wilma and her physical safety was of concern. Neither of them can understand why they can’t be together. He is repentant so why can’t he come back, is their question. They are both nearly deaf and on the phone they can barely communicate; except to clearly remind each other how much they love and miss each other. When they do get together, its very difficult, because Wilma is crying about them having to be separated. She also feels guilty for divulging the way he treats her. She knows that is why they are separated. They are both miserable and desperately miss each other. Misery piled on top of misery. It’s just miserably difficult right now for all of us.
In African and many other cultures, caring for aging parents is just a given responsibility of the children. They move in with one of their kids or if they haven’t any they move in with another sibling. It’s the norm. In the US we put them in a home so we can continue on with our lives feeling we are taking care of them. I’m afraid that is our situation and we are feeling more and more that it shouldn’t be like this. We really desire to see this couple enjoy their final days here “together” rather than separated but under the circumstances we don’t know how to make that happen. We feel un-trained to care for them and feel it is better for them in a facility. But…we also feel it is our responsibility to be more involved and helpful and are not sure how to make that happen unless we move here. Neither we nor Wilma’s daughter are in a position to retire right now and assist them full time. So, for now we will be around while Dad is in the hospital. After that we don’t know yet. What to do, what to do???
We are very thankful for Bev, Wilma’s daughter, and her husband Jim who live here and are doing an excellent job of managing their care. We trust them implicitly. Being here this time, we can see what a difficult job this has become. Answers are not clear, solutions are not easy. We are reminded of Proverbs 15:22- Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Advice, counsel, and many prayers will be greatly appreciated.
Jim, Judy and the family