A Change of Direction

By Kathleen Brown—

Where were you when your new purpose hit you?

“Hit”? Well, yes. At first that’s how I felt when I found mine. Let me explain.

One day I woke up and realized I was selling software. If you knew me, you’d realize how far afield I had drifted to end up in software sales. Nothing wrong with the job, of course, but God’s known me like, forever, so I’m sure He smiled the day I applied for it and then laughed out loud when I was hired.

Though I disliked the work, I stayed long enough to learn lessons I could carry forward. And then the Lord delivered me. With a pink slip. To celebrate my escape, I decided to take a trip before I looked for another job. My husband couldn’t come, so my parents joined me on a visit to my son in Colorado.

My new purpose began taking shape in the middle of that September trip from Texas to Colorado. As we drove west, Mom’s behavior became more and more bizarre. I lived only twenty minutes from my parents and saw them every weekend, but I’d never seen Mom so agitated. The first night she wanted to take everything out of the car to keep it safe in the motel room. Not just luggage, but battery cables, floor mats, everything. The next morning, she couldn’t remember where we were. Couldn’t find the bathroom. Couldn’t decide what to wear.

I wanted to believe Dad when he said she was just tired, but I knew I was seeing more than fatigue. Our arrival at my son’s apartment confirmed my fears. Mom was determined to leave. Alone. Barefoot. As I stood between her and the door, she stared at me with wild eyes and shouted, “I will go! I will go!” She kicked my shins and beat on my chest, fighting to reach the door knob. She had me trapped until Dad rescued me.

Although I didn’t realize it until weeks later, I had joined my parents on a journey they’d begun about five years earlier: the journey through the wilderness of Alzheimer’s disease. Because he kept Mom’s odd behavior secret for as long as possible, Dad traveled alone those first five years. We traveled together for the last five.

Well, somewhat together. We moved in the same direction and with the same intention: to protect Mom and help her enjoy life. But when it came to methods, our paths parted. My plan was to bring in a professional, part-time at least, to guide us into caregiving. Dad’s itinerary called for a private trip: no assistance from strangers, few stops to ask for directions.

In the beginning it was like I’d been sucked into a black hole, with Mom far ahead of me, plunging into the bottomless void. I imagined Dad falling beside her, close enough to touch her hand but not able to grasp it. I saw myself following them down, fast and straight, unable to help but unwilling to let them fall alone.

In real life, though, miracles broke our fall. Miracles put earth back under our feet and turned the chaos of Alzheimer’s into a path we could walk, stumbling, but together.  Around us the land was a dark unknown, but it was not a void. And it was not black.  Miracles lit our path through the wilderness of Alzheimer’s.

In the beginning, I thought my new purpose was to care for my parents. But of course the Lord’s plans were bigger than I could envision. My whole life changed the day I got that pink slip. Today it’s more productive, spacious, joyful. It’s all about miracles.

Caring for Mom, then Dad, I saw miracles every day. Part of my purpose now is to share them with others.  Whether you’re a caregiver or not, meet me here and I’ll show you how to see the miracles the Lord sends you every day.

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble….May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose (Ps. 20:1,4  NKJV).”

Thank you for being part of my purpose now and for letting me be part of yours.

 

 

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KathleenKathleen Brown—Texas is home, but I also spend a lot of time in a little town in the mountains, Buena Vista, Colorado. My husband of 43 years is a retired police officer. Together we raised three amazing sons who have given us five delicious grandchildren. When I earned a Master’s degree in Humanities at age 40, my only plans were to frame the diploma and hang it over the washing machine. With that task completed, I looked around. I took a clerical job at a university, then became a trademark paralegal, and finally sold computer software. About the time that last job got the best of me, I discovered my mom had Alzheimer’s and my dad was going blind. So I became a caregiver. And finally found my Caregiver. Not long ago, the Lord reminded me He made me a writer. My purpose now is to honor Him and bring comfort and joy to His people through writing and speaking. Contact: kbrown.writer@gmail.com or www.alzheimershopeandhelp.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. 4-2-2013

    Kathleen you painted a beautiful picture of a time that must have been terrifying for you. Welcome to MPN, I am sure you will help guide many down the path of caregiving.

  2. 4-2-2013

    Kathleen – your story will resonate with many readers, I’m sure. Having taken a similar journey, I know firsthand how difficult it can be. Looking forward to more from you. Thank you for your transparency.

  3. 4-2-2013

    Kathleen, what a blessing to have you as a part of MPN. I consider it a sacred privilege to be a so-journer alongside you as you pen the plunder from the battles fought on this side of Heaven. Of this I am sure. Bless you, dear one. You are welcome in this place.

  4. 4-2-2013

    Kathleen, welcome to MPN. I also cared for my mother with Alzheimer’s. The challenge, the joys, and the laughter are precious memories. It changes your life much like having your first child I think. I look forward to reading more about what you discovered. Thank you for sharing with all of us. God bless,

  5. 4-3-2013

    Hi Kathleen,
    We never know what our journey or miracles will be with our Lord. It’s our job to look for and notice them isn’t it.

    Thanks for sharing the “miracles” and positives that God has walked you through with your elderly parents. My mom’s 89 years old and still has her where about s, but signs of forgetfulness are beginning to show. I’m so thankful for the summer trips, daily phone conversations, and sweet visits with her since my daddy’s passing 11 years ago.

    Such a wonderful “purpose” God has given us as children and neighbors to the elderly. So grateful for the opportunity!
    Welcome to the MPN team of writers. May the Lord use you miraculously with your recently found “purpose!”

    Lovingly, Melody F. Heal

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