Saturday, June 27, 2015

A loving vine-dresser

Today we read together the Common Prayer for June 27 and were awed by words so appropriate to our present circumstances.

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time. Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser.”  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Today is a  last-day-before-your-life-changes day. Tomorrow our teenage granddaughter arrives to make her home with us until whatever time she is ready to launch into the world. She has one year of high school left. Her life is full of change and unknowns. So is ours.

We are excited and a little nervous. So is she. We have talked a lot about what this could look like, but do we really know? No. What we do know is that she wants to be with us. We love her and she loves us even if I can’t listen to her music that vibrates my ribs and stuns my ears. Yeah. I used to, but those days are gone along with some of my hearing. Give me a little Mozart adagio and I’m happy. There are a lot of details to look forward to. Like Dr. Who episodes and driver’s education and a part-time job and new paint for her room. My only stipulation was – sorry, not black. It’s too hard to cover if you want to change it some day.

This isn’t what we imagined for this stage of life. But isn’t that often how things turn out or don’t turn out? And don’t we wonder if only we could skip the hard parts and fast forward to the place where outcomes are certain and wouldn’t that be just be so sweet? We believe there will be sweetness in ways we don’t know. That in adding to our family – we are doing exactly what God has in mind for us. And for her. And that his work in our lives is a long, slow process. At least that’s how it’s been for me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

New Normal

Today is packing-the-car day. Tomorrow we head to Tennessee to see our children and grandchildren. More than ever we want to be with them. There is a story unfolding. Here is a piece of it.

Costco Delivery!

Last December the LaRose family all came down with a stomach virus and were sick as dogs right around Christmas. Everyone recovered in about four days. Except for our daughter, Sember, hers hung on for days. A month passed and she was still unable to get out of bed for a full day at a time. More weeks passed until finally she went to the doctor to see if they could find figure out what was going on.
It’s a long story, but she ended up at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale where she was seen by a friend of ours who is pretty much a medical genius at sleuthing and he diagnosed her with Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS disease). POTS sometimes occurs after a virus attack or some other trauma to the body. Here is a link that gives some idea of what life is like for a patient. With one caveat. Young people have a much better chance of recovery. For older adults there is no cure. Dr. Bergstrom compared the quality of life as that of a person having congestive heart failure or kidney failure with dialysis.

The prospect of having another life-long, chronic illness (along with CFS) has precipitated a time of grieving for everyone, but especially for Sember. She feels like she’s on the steepest learning curve of her life as she figures out how to live with her new normal. There are days when she can’t get out of bed because of overwhelming body pain and wicked exhaustion. (In the midst of it she somehow maintains a spirit of kindness and humor.) Parenting, keeping a home, feeding the family and so many other things are now difficult if not impossible.

Their community and church has rallied around them in wonderful and unusual ways. One way was figuring out how to help with meals. It is one thing to deliver a meal or two to someone who has had a baby or has been in the hospital, but to help someone who has an on-going chronic illness? Finding ways to help without burning out is definitely a need? A friend devised a solution by inviting people to contribute to a fund that would hire a person who cooks:

Anne wrote to friends and family: “I have a friend who is a private chef. She cooked for us for a while when we were uber busy, and she is amazing! I would shop for proteins, starches, and vegetables, and then in four hours, she would put it all together and make enough food for several days. She likes to make healthy food and is very knowledgeable when it comes to cooking for people with food issues such as gluten or dairy allergies. Better yet, her food is yummy.”

After figuring what it would cost to hire Cassie for four hours a week, there was enough money donated to make it happen through the next three months! (If there is anyone out there who would still like to contribute – let me know.)

This was such an amazing gift. Who would have thought? I am deeply moved because if it were possible, we would personally remove this thorn from their lives. Impossible, of course. So this solution is a great comfort to everyone who loves them.

All this has meant that parenting five children will be a big challenge for both Sember and Shaun. Our own lives will be changing along with theirs because we have invited our 17-year-old granddaughter to live with us and she will be coming at the end of June. We love her and I think it is safe to say she loves us and is looking forward to life here in Minnesota. 

We didn’t know we’d be joining the ranks of grandparents who have grandchildren living with them. But this could be a very good thing for all of us. In a way it will mean that we, too, will be finding our new “normal.” We look forward to seeing what God will do as we step into the unknown.

If you are the praying sort, we would definitely appreciate prayer. What this will mean for me, I’m not certain. For some reason, as you could perhaps tell by my long absence from this blog, I haven’t been able to write for awhile. But today, I felt compelled to at least put this out there before we leave tomorrow morning.  Thank you for stopping by.