Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coping Through The Tough Times

This is Sandra and after all of these powerful blogs to hang in there, push through the roadblocks and just do it, I'm going to give myself permission to NOT.

My ninety year old dad is having a tough time right now. He's been in the hospital three times in the last month and just last week overcame double pneumonia.

A strong dude.

He sure is.

He has had a lot of changes this past year. He valiantly stood by his wife as she battled Alzheimers and very painful arthritis. She passed last spring. Then he (on his own) decided not to drive anymore so gave up his car. Now he is making the decision to move to assisted living. He is still independent and as sharp as a tack mentally, but he was in the healthcare rehab after his last hospital visit and realized he liked all that reassuring attention.

I am so proud of him and amazed at all he has gone through with such grace, humor and determination. What a role model and example he has set for his children.

A true hero.

And because he is my only living parent left, I am spending my time with him and helping him downsize his treasures and pack. Truthfully I'm not getting any writing done.

My characters are not talking in my head. Very strange, but other demands are insisting on being heard.

I am thanking God right now that I don't have a deadline. I have two requests from editors, but to be honest, those pale in comparison to my time with Dad. I am sure those editors understand my priorities and since I am not contracted, it doesn't really impact them.

I know there are many of you out there including my Seeker sisters who have managed to write through tough situations. God gave you the strength. He promises not to give us more than we can handle and in my case, this is it. And I have had many signs and reassurances that this is okay. For me.

I was going to ask the Teenster to pull up an archive for me today, but time slipped by and maybe that is for the best. Because it is important to know that sometimes circumstances put a roadblock in front of our goals. Sometimes these are self imposed and excuses, but when the circumstance stands up to scripture (honor thy parents) I'm sure I'm doing what is right for me.

Since I'm staying overnight with him and he doesn't have Internet, my responses might be spotty today. But please feel free to share how you've plowed through these kinds of circumstances and what helped you. I know from past comments on our blogs that some of you are dealing with tough situations now. It is comforting to know that friends are out there praying. Glynna Kaye is a sweetheart because she keeps me posted on what's happening in our writing world when I'm out of commission.
And speaking of Glynna Kaye, her new book is out. I will be drawing a winner from comments today for a copy of

I'll also toss in a copy of my latest children's book God's Spirit Calls Me .

Helen, I'm betting you put the coffee on already.

And Ruthy will hopefully show up with some delightful goodies to feast on.

Thanks for understanding. I look forward to your comments because I'm sure we will all glean some helpful hints on how to cope and press on.


authorkathyeberly said...

Sandra, thank you so much for your candid post! Sometimes all a person can do is cope with what is before them at the time. It's the choice between the Urgent and the important and I think you have chosen well! I will be praying for your family as you go through this time!

Helen Gray said...

Coffee's on!

Sandra, I empathize. I lost my mother a few months ago after a 4.5 year nursing home stay. A massive stroke left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak. I made that 120mile drive so many times my car knew the way on its own. I have no parents now. It's a feeling you can only understand when you get there.

Will remember you in prayer.


cynthia said...

It is during our tough times that we draw closest to God--for when else will we rely on Him in total desperate abandon. Those times are not easy, but when we've gotten through it we see how much closer we are to Him and how much more of His strength we have. I pray God gives you His strength and peace in this time.
cynthiakchow (at)earthlink (dot) net

Renee Ann said...

I can relate! My sisters and I moved my mom in with me last March, and since then, she's deteriorated to the point of needing oxygen, help with meds, personal care, etc. I'm always impressed with the folks who are so talented that they can keep on writing while still meeting all their other obligations. I tend to second-guess my desire to closet myself away and work on a project as selfish and struggle in that area.

So glad you sensed God's clear leading in your life to put a loved one first right now, Sandra. Praying for peace and comfort as you support your father through his transition. Blessings!

KC Frantzen said...


Your post is spot on. The Lord has a perfect plan and He is never late (never early either) but is exactly on time, perfectly, every time. You HAVE chosen your priorities WELL, Faithful Servant and Daughter. :)

The photo you shared is a treasure. Thank you for sharing with us. Sounds like your precious Dad is the epitome of Grace and, as you say, an outstanding role model. Will be praying for all of you.

Cynthia - agreed. In those tough times, I am definitely close to Him. He's always close to me. I'm the one who "moves" I guess. Review of Bible Class notes and Bible reading, and lots of prayer is what sustains my soul during these times. Sounds like this is going to be one of "those" fabulous Seekerville days. This is a great community.

KC Frantzen said...

Glynna already sent Second Chance Courtship (yay!) So don't enter me, though I'd love to read your "kidlit"!!

May at maythek9spy dot com

I stopped by our locally owned donut shop. They make the best cinnamony bear claws. They're just great with Helen's coffee. (And Helen, I'm sorry for your loss...)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yay, Dad's neighbor turned his wi fi on this morning. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't.

And Dad is sleeping sound. smile

Helen, bless you for getting the coffee on and KC the bear claws really hit the spot.

I can tell already that today is going to be full of gems. Thank you all for understanding.

KATHY thanks for the prayers.

HELEN, I can so relate to the distance thing. My MIL had Alzheimers and we traveled to California often. I'm so sorry for your loss and thank you for the coffee and prayers.

CYNTHIA how true. And what a shame it takes tough times to get us that close. You're right. He's always there. We're the ones who run off doing this and that. I"m so guilty of that and then when I return I wonder why did I ever leave???

RENEE ANN Blessings and prayers for you. I KNOW what you are going through. My prayers are with you too. Don't feel guilty because you NEED those breaks. You're on a long term commitment so be sure and take time for yourself. Otherwise you won't be any good for your mom. God took a day of rest so I guess we need them too. smile

KC Thanks for the encouragement. I know already because I have been blessed.

Laney4 said...

Prayer ALWAYS helps, so you've mastered that (if there is such a thing as mastering it). Hmmm. Turn to friends and family; sounds like you've mastered that too. I guess you just "keep on keeping on", as Gladys on Ellen's show says.

When my own mom was sick many moons ago, three days a week I would drop my kids off at school, drive half an hour away to my hometown, pick up Mom's mail, pay her bills, clean up something at her house with my brother, visit her in a retirement residence, and get back home in time to pick up the kids from school. Our entire family visited her on weekends. She had cancer but we're sure it went to her brain at the end. I have never for a moment regretted "being there" for her (and reporting back to the family most nights before starting my own self-employed work when the kids went to bed).

Now my mother-in-law is the last parent with us. She has Alzheimer's, so my husband visits her "at the home" and takes her out for coffee several mornings a week. (He's on continental work shifts, so he can be available more often than most.) Routine is the key for her. Mom cries a lot, she's rude, and she has become physical (throwing her walker at family). Yet through it all we remember the sweet and giving woman that she always was, as we know this too shall pass.

God bless. Good luck. Hang in there!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Laney, You've been through it all.

And prayer does help.

I think God has given us old age so we'll be so happy when we get to heaven.

And those of us left will be happy instead of sad for those who go.

You're right to pass over the ugliness of their disease and remember the wonderful person they were. Sometimes we get treasured moments during those tough times.

My MIL who was a devout Catholic and never missed church on Sunday, wouldn't remember who I was, but when she'd get agitated, I'd start reciting the liturgy and she'd settle and recite it with me. Always amazed me. She didn't know me, but her spirit inside did.

Anonymous said...

hugs Sandra - I'm doing the one day at a time thing myself.


Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Sandra -- Looks like a lot of Friends of Seekerville can relate to where you are right now. Your family is so blessed to have you in their lives, just as I am blessed to be able to call you Friend.

Kirsten Arnold said...


I think it's wonderful what you're doing for your dad. Dad's deserve all the TLC they can get for all they've given us.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in our careers, because that seems to be what a person's measured by these days. But awhile back I realized God isn't going to ask me how many books I published, or how far up the ladder I advanced, or what my last raise was. I had a dear friend once who I honestly couldn't tell you what she did for a living, but I can tell you how she touched my life and the lives of all around her.

So keep up the good work and God bless you and your Dad!


Sandra Leesmith said...

SUSANNA, I knew you'd relate. I've been praying for you for awhile now.

GLYNNA my dear friend. You're blessed with loving family too. With dads like we have, its easy to write those heroes in our stories. We have good examples.

KIRSTEN What a great reminder. I'm really laughing at your comment. When we get to the gates will we be asked how many books we wrote? That tickled my funny bone. But I bet we will be commended for the lives we touch with our writing whether published or not.

I have to say, since I'm not that published yet, I have met so many on the road to publication that Have been a blessing to me and that I have had the opportunity to impact. So don't discount that question totally.

BK said...

I'm so in awe of your Dad. Those decisions he has made are extremely difficult ones, and naturally, they are ones that people resist. I wish I could give him a hug.

And hugs to you too. I know that you are and will always be happy that you devoted this time to him.

God bless you both.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks BK

You're right about those decisions. I think the toughest one for him was the car. Its a guy thing I guess.

He actually did quit driving about a month before he sold me his car. Then he bought a gold cart and called me up and said he needed the room in his carport. So funny.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Sandra, we are going through the downsizing with my husband's parents right now. We are also concerned about my FIL's driving abilities.
It's a tough time for everyone.

Will be praying for you and all those who are posting with the same issues.

No need to put me in the drawing. I loved Glynna's book but would love to be in for yours.

Peace and prayers, Julie

Cathy Shouse said...


In a way, this is a post in favor of "the writing life." For all the struggles, there are advantages.

Imagine how difficult it would be to have to take a leave of absence or let go of a full-time job outside the home.

I predict you'll get back to writing with new insights, when the time is right.

Lovely picture of your dad. He looks absolutely regal in that hat.
Thanks so much for sharing this.

Oh, and I'd be thrilled to win the book :)

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

Sandra I will keep you and your Dad in my prayers. You make a very good point that sometimes we have to take a step away from our goals and concentrate on other things. God doesn't give us more than we can handle and sometimes the only thing we can do is pray. We have been waiting and praying for my Dad to get a job. He has been doing some substitute teaching but it's not enough. Hopefully the job interview he has tomorrow will result in a job. Good luck and I hope your Dad finds a great assisted living home.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JULIE, Best wishes with your dad. Giving up driving is tough because it really means a loss of independence and men do have a special relationship to their cars. We'll all be praying for wisdom and courage for all of you.

CATHY You are so right about how these experiences will give us new depth to our writing. I'm thinking of Ruthy's debut novel, WINTER'S END.

LAURA We're all praying for the perfect job for your dad at the perfect time. God's timing is perfect. Always. Keep up the faith.

Debra E. Marvin said...

as you can tell, so many of us are in the position of having care issues with elderly parents. Just like those who now have young ones needing their attentions, I feel sure that God is in the timing. He blessed me when I put my writing aside for a season and made up for it in ways I could never imagine!

As the daughter of an Alzheimer's patient as well, I think it's an incredible gift that your dad's mind is so sharp. We all get the good and the bad at this time of exchanging caregiver roles, but I can't imagine going through it without faith.

Have a wonderful day with your dad!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Sandra, my heart is breaking for you right now ... but also rejoicing that God's presence is with you through this bittersweet time and that your obedience has put a smile on His face.

Laney and you said: "I think God has given us old age so we'll be so happy when we get to heaven."

Oh my, you can't imagine how many times I've thought that very thing as I walk the halls of my Aunt Julie's skilled-nursing facility!! So much heartache, pain and sadness lines those halls, but also God's grace, joy and hope when we set our lives aside to tend to those we love. Jesus said in Matthew 25: 31-46, "I Was Sick and You Visited Me, and I truly believe there is no greater thing to do ... or way to please God more ... than to love and care for others.

Laney and you also said: "You're right to pass over the ugliness of their disease and remember the wonderful person they were. Sometimes we get treasured moments during those tough times."

I have few memories of my own parents as my mom died when I was 16 and my dad, when I was 23, but my Aunt Julie has been like a mother to me and actually closest to me out of all of us 13 kids, so it's been very difficult to see her go downhill with dementia. Your advice above is SO good, and is something I have just taken to doing -- remembering all those summer days we sat on our beautiful patio and sipped coffee or wine as we reminisced or chatted about whatever came to mind, for hours and hours.

Sandra, I SO admire the priority of your dad right now, loving and caring for Him until he is safely in the arms of our God, Who will then take over as the angels rejoice. My prayers are with you, my sweet friend.

Hugs and more hugs,

Melanie Dickerson said...

This is so sweet, Sandra! And your dad sounds soooooooo precious. I regret so much that I didn't call my dad more and spend much time with him in the months and years before he died. If I had known he was going to die so soon, I would have made more time for him. But he seemed young, only 68, and I just didn't know. :-( So spend as much time with him as you can, Sandra! I know you won't regret it. God bless you and him.

Dawn Ford said...

what precious time you have with your dad right now. He sounds like an amazing man. Cherish the moments. Hold them close and memorize each one. Take no time to feel guilty over whatever else is not being tended to. This is the season for loving your father and it does honor them.

I have lost too many loved ones. What always helped me was prayer and the loving kindness of my friends. The gentleness in their reassurances for the day and the furture made all the difference. God bless you and keep you in His embrace to strengthen and refresh you.

Sandra Leesmith said...

DEBRA, Thanks for the encouragement.
As for clarity of mind being a gift, I'm not so sure the Alzheimer's folks don't get a better deal. At least they don't know what's happening toward the end and they are really peaceful. My mil was laugh and smile and her skin was gorgeous. No worry wrinkles. My mom and dad both haad and have clarity but mom suffered with cancer and would have loved not knowing that pain. My dad gets frustrated that he can't kayak and hike like he did five years ago. So who knows which is the better deal??????

JULIE Thanks for your prayers. I count on them more than you know. Your Aunt sounds so precious. I'm praying for you also.

MELANIE I'm glad you treasure the time you did spend with your dad.

You young folks out there, we never know the times. Like Julie, our parents can go when they are young. So enjoy every bit of them now as Melanie recommends.

DAWN Thank you for your words of encouragement.

Susan Anne Mason said...


Thanks for sharing your journey. As you can tell, so many people can relate to what you're going through.

I'm one of those sandwich generation, with my mom and in-laws in their late 70's and teenagers as well. SO many times I feel torn in a thousand directions between everyone demanding something of me. (I usually take it out on the cats when they're meowing constantly to be fed! They don't understand but wait patiently for the food to arrive. LOL)

Hope your dad has many more good years ahead in his new home. ANd that you can share many more good memories together.


Linnette R Mullin said...

Well, I think we all have times like that. I just recently hooked back up with a writer I met on-line years ago. She has two pre-teens and being busy with them has decided to put her writing on hold so she can focus on them. When my hubby was going through job lay-offs and I had to get an outside job, I was just learning the skills I needed to improve my writing and I didn't want to forget it. So, I started my Odyssey in Prose blog and thus the story of "Finding Beth" was born. Now, three years later, my writing skills are honed so much better than they were three years ago and I have a complete manuscript to sell with sequels perculating in my brain.

We can't always write when life gets wacky. For Beth, I limited myself to making 500 to 1000 words a month count. I wrote them and edited them and rewrote them...I worked what little time I had at learning how to write well and I think it has payed off.

Now, if I can just get an agent and editor to agree with my readers who are anxiously awaiting my book and get the think in print! :D


Please include me in the drawing! :D

Sandra Leesmith said...

SUSAN, Wow, elderly AND teens. whew. Its comments like yours that make me ashamed when I complain. LOL
Best wishes and keep hanging in there.

LINNETTE You're so right. Many of our earlier posts have focused on how to write through the tough times. And as Cathy pointed out, many with a day job don't have much choice. But when there's a will there's a way.

I'm so glad you're writing and learning as you go through them. Thanks for sharing.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Sandra, you are doing the most noble thing. We can never get time with our loved ones back. If you were writing right now, you'd look back with regret.

I took a year off from writing last year to do just what you're doing: pour myself into my family.

I think it is so important to listen to God's nudgings in hardship. Whether to press and write through it or to step back...it's so very important to listen to God.

He doesn't want any of us to get to the end of our lives and look back with regret.

I'm so glad you get this time with you dad and I pray that God blesses you with many, many more years.

I suspect when you come back, those editors will still be waiting and your stories will pour like oil and be stronger because of your obedience.

Praying for you and your precious dad!

You have no need whatsoever to apologize. You are doing the most noble thing. You are. Don't doubt it for a minute.

May God sustain you in the meantime and always and I praise Him for the goodness and wisdom of His timing and that you're between contracts. It's God's mercy, no doubt.

Delight in days with your dad! I'm so glad for you. So glad.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Sandra, off the subject...I have to admit that this is one area in my life I don't like to think about. The day I lose the parents, I just might lose my mind. Sending big hugs your way today!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

I also think that it's God's grace and mercy that He's holding your characters back from talking to you. When I took the year off, all story ideas mercifully stopped. I mean NOTHING.

It made things so much easier because normally story ideas stalk me in droves. LOL!

Hugs Sandra, to you and your precious dad.


Casey said...

May God comfort you and bless you with an amazing time with your father. May God's spirit of peace reign in you. :)

Jan Drexler said...

Sandra, thank you so much for sharing. Writing through the hard times can be productive, but so can the times when you feel God's leading to step back and give yourself to others. This time you spend with your Dad is a real blessing - enjoy it!

My Dad is going through a similar time of life - my Mom is in a care facility (she has Alzheimer's) - and he is slowly making the transition to relying on others to help him more. It's hard living so far from them, and I would love to be able to have the time with them that you have. It may feel you're making a sacrifice at times, but I don't think you'll ever regret it.

Mary Connealy said...

Sandra, I have this wonderful memory of my dad, when he was losing his battle with cancer, of sitting with him and just knowing we werent' going to have him for much longer and KNOWING that listening to him, spending time with him was right.

I can remember sitting there, my hand resting on his shoulder, praying silently and knowing the moment was to be cherish.

And now, he's been gone for nearly ten years. And I still remember those times and am so grateful I did take the time to just be there. Be in the moment, love him, listen to him.

No word count accomplishment will ever come close to holding the value of those moments of wisdom to stop life rushing past and just BE THERE, fully, unselfishly.

He's probably gonna LOVE assisted living. those places can be really nice and full of fun, all the responsibilities taken from your shoulders.

God bless you and your dad.

Joanne Sher said...

Praying for you, dear Sandra.

I've always loved writing, but for several years, my "creative outlet" was scrapbooking. I scrapbooked and scrapvbooked and scrapbooked. Then my husband got ill (a brain tumor), and I stopped. Just like that. For probably three years.

I often told people that all of my creativity went toward surviving and helping my husband and family (I was six months pregnant with my second when the tumor was discovered, by the way).

It was only after I "hit my stride" again that I found that creativity back, and God pointed me to writing. And that's where I've been since.

Do NOT feel guilty for not writing (though I don't think I really sensed that). God works in each of us differently--and differently in each situation. We've had complications since i got back to writing, and those I wrote through. God knows what you are to do in each instance. He will direct you.

Praying for you.

Andrea Strong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Strong said...


I certainly got teary-eyed reading your post and the comments. I remember you mentioning your dad's spirit and energy in an earlier post. I think he was fixin' to go on a date. I remember thinking, "Going on a date? at 90? Wow! He must be some guy!"

I'm so glad to hear that he's realizing his limits. That can be tough.

My own parents/steps/inlaws are young (six of them, anywhere from 51-64). My grandmother, and my husband's grandmother are in that same late stage of life, though neither are very accepting of the changes. They can't drive like they used to or climb ladders to clean the windows, etc. And they don't like to be told those things.

It's been harder for me with my husband's grandma. For years, she was one of my best friends. When Grandpa died (2003), she was bitter, which was understandable. They say time heals all wounds, but it hasn't done so for her, I don't think.

Then in 2007, my daughter was born, and Grandma criticized every thing I did. Not just me really, she criticized every one. But I think I took it worse than most. It hurt so bad, and I said and did things that hurt her too. My daughter is turning 4 this weekend, and God has restored the relationship some, but it's no where near as warm and loving as it was. I am learning a lot about forgiveness, and I'm very thankful to God for that.

I find myself doing as others have said, remembering what my grandmas used to be and thanking God for all the wonderful times with them. All the while hoping (sometimes even praying) that these women I love so much will recognize the love that their children and grandchildren pour out on them every day.

It sounds like your dad understands that well. That is a small blessing, maybe even a great one, in this tough time.

I thank God for giving you "permission" to let up a little professionally. Isn't it wonderful the way he "arranged" it so that you're "between committments" at this time?

I hope you'll be able fill your heart with sweet memories during this time that will last the rest of your life. Praying for you.

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

I already have Glynna's book (thanks to a previous generous giveaway) but I'd love to have yours.

Jackie S. said...

Sandra, I am praying for you....you are definitely doing the right thing! I went through it all with both parents (am only child)...so really feel for you. On the "car thing", my Dad easily gave up driving, and said "ok, but bury me with license in pocket"......we did!! Blessings on you, Sandra!!

CatMom said...

Dear Sandra, My heart goes out to you, and I truly do understand what you are going through. You are very wise and are definitely doing the right thing focusing on your precious Dad. It was 4 years ago this past Saturday that my sweet Daddy went to Heaven (Mama went one and a half years earlier) and I MISS them terribly (they were both my very best friends). So treasure every moment with your Dad---the writing can/will wait. ~ I'll keep your Dad (and you) in my prayers. ~ Sending a big hug from rainy Georgia, Patti Jo

Linnette R Mullin said...

Thanks, Sandra, for your encouraging words! And I need to take my own advice today. :D


PatriciaW said...

Sandra, my prayers are with you and your dad. You are blessed to have this time together.

There have been many such periods I've had to endure in the past ten years, so many that I've wondered at times whether I was bearing the burdens of others because my shoulders have always been broader than most. (I've never needed shoulder pads even when they were in style.)

Most recently, my sister slipped into a coma, just before this past Christmas. We dropped everything and hightailed it to GA. With no plans to be away for the holidays, we wound up being there for two weeks. I had a contracted article that I planned to get done. (Thankfully, I, for once, was working ahead. It's not due until Feb 1.) I did no writing. No research. No outlining. Nothing. My sister has since awakened, 30 days to the day she slipped into the coma, and I'm writing again. My deadline is approaching and I've got loads to do, but I'll make it.

Family, like Christ, is forever.

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I admire your dad, a sweet, wise, self-less man. His daughter is just like him and most certainly a joy in his old age.

We've lost both set of parents. This may sound selfish, but I miss their love and prayers. I wanted my parents to see my stories in print, but they never did. The blessing in that--I had my father in our home during his last weeks without the pressure of deadlines. He took care of my mom when she had Alzheimer's and I wanted to do that for him.

Love and hugs to you and your dad, Sandra. And to all of those who are going through hard times.


Sandra Leesmith said...

I guess you figured out that Dad woke up. smile. He's with the physical therapist now so I'm enjoying these touching comments.

CHERYL Thanks for sharing about the characters who stopped talking in your head also. Strange feeling isn't it? But a blessing.

I remember when you said you were going to take the year off. I was so impressed with your courage and devotion. Thanks for your prayers girlfriend.

LINNETTE, None of us like to think about it, but there is comfort in scriptures. Thanks for the hugs.

CASEY Your words gave me goose bumps. I think the spirit touched my heart. smile

JAN You're so right. I heard Robin Lee Hatcher talk one time and she said the toughest book she wrote was during one of these tough times. She said she had no idea what she was writing, she was so stressed, but it turned out to be an award winner and deemed as one of her best. Goes to show you. smile

MARY I'm so glad you had moments like that to share with your dad. Ten years. Doesn't that sound like a long time and then at times it seems like yesterday? Its been ten years that my FIL passed and so I know what you're saying.

It was two years ago today that my mom passed. I still want to grab the phone and tell her some tidbit of news. But the jokes always on me because she probably new about it before I did. LOL

JOANNE Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It helps so to hear about your trials because then we can be reassured that there is light at the end of the tunnel. smile I'm so glad you are writing. What a blessing that will be to others. Thanks for the encouragement and the prayers.

ANDREA Yep, you remembered correctly. Dad did and has been on several dates. He's quite the charmer. Very popular with the ladies. Of course they all saw how sweet and caring he was to his wife.

I've discovered one thing. Pain changes ones outlook. Grieving also does. Some go through those stages of anger a lot slower than others. So I'm glad you are remembering the good times and precious moments.

Dad's wife was very violent and abusive at the end of her life. She was in that stage of the Alzheimer's. But I would take her out to the gardens and sit her amidst the flowers and read scripture to her. When she passed my friend gave me a pot of yellow crysanthemums. Those flowers were gorgeous, but during all the prep for the funeral and taking care of things, they were totally neglected. No water. No sun. But do you know they stayed fresh and new for the whole month until we had the memorial service. Then they wilted. I felt in my heart that she was telling me that she knew what I had done and that she loved me.

JACKIE I'm loving your dad already with the "car and license" thing. How precious. Thanks for sharing that. Brightens up the day.

PATRICIA Yeah! Go Girl. What a blessing that your sister came out of it.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JANET, I didn't know that about you and your dad. How precious. I'm glad you had that time. Thanks for the prayers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well I'm going to have to get after Ruthy. She hasn't brought any goodies. Good thing KC brought those bear claws.

So how about a midafternoon snack and pick-me up? Let's get in practice for Valentine's Day which is coming up.

How about a tray of See's Candies, (my favs) Some mallo cups for Ruthy because she must be having a crisis herself to not be here yet. And some Godiva chocolates on a silver platter.

To go with that, there are ice cream sundaes loaded with chocolate sauce.

Some hot chocolate loaded with whipped cream if you're still in cold weather.

Its warm here in the desert so some chocolate milkshakes would be in order.

Is that giving any of you a rush???? woo hooooo

Angela Bell said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post. God bless you and your family!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you Angela

Jill Kemerer said...

Your priorities are where they should be. You'll have many years to keep writing, but your time with your dear father is limited. Praying for you and for him during this time.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for sharing the info about your dad. Love the pic! Such a great guy...and don't you follow in his footsteps as the faithful and faith-filled daughter.

Your blog has given us the chance to pray for him and for you. And that's a good thing.

Plus, interesting how many of us have loved ones who had or currently suffer from Alzheimer's. My MIL had it and died a number of years. Such a tragic illness. The hubby of a dear friend of mine has ALZ now. He's fairly young, and she's taking such wonderful care of him, but it's a hard struggle.

I cared for my aunt for the last 4 1/2 years of her life. When she was in the hospital, I had a medical article due, which I wrote at her bedside. Difficult and not what I wanted to do at the time. Luckily, I had completed the research earlier and just needed to pull the final copy together. I don't know how anyone could handle a book under those circumstances, yet some authors have had to do just that.

Sending lots of love and prayers your way. Keep us posted on dad's progress.


CarolM said...


Thank you for sharing. I, too, am glad that you're in a space where you CAN be there for Dad without deadlines or day jobs to deal with.

My mom is long gone. My dad is going to be 65 this year [in a family where no male has lived to see 70...] My in-laws are all in the early 60s range. I'm not looking forward to any of it :(. My M/SFIL are dealing with all of it with his parents now [not sure if it's Alzheimers but dementia of some kind for his mom]. They did come for Thanksgiving and it went fairly well. It's sad to see them though - they're both nearly 90...

Prayin' for you sweetie!

Myra Johnson said...

Sandra, I deeply admire you and so many others I know who are looking after elderly loved ones. I think one of the hardest things we have to face in life is watching our parents grow old and lose their independence. How inspiring when they do it with the grace your dad has shown!

And what a timely post! It really doesn't matter whether it's an aging parent or a teenager learning to drive or a toddler learning to walk or a daughter who's about to become a mom. Or perhaps most important, our spouse! Family should always be our #1 priority.

Which is why I expect to be taking some time off from writing when grandchild #6 arrives in a few weeks!

Pam Hillman said...

When our loved ones need care and attention, the day job, the writing dream, just STUFF loses it's importance.

A few years ago, dh almost lost his hand to blood poisoning. For about a week, I stayed at the hospital, not really caring if I still had a job or not!

I'm praising the Lord that we've had very few of those instances, but your priorities jump into sharp focus when they do.

Hugs, Sandra! I know going through your dad's stuff and downsizing is probably painful, but I know you're enjoying being with him.

Mary Connealy said...

If we are STILL in cold weather, Sandra? STILL? Like Spring had sprung somewhere? Like January isn't still deep in the vicious bone cracking jaws of winter?????

Hand me that hot chocolate!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Understand completely, Sandra. When life calls we can't help but listen, and sometimes when we don't it pulls us aside and forces on to redirect our focus.

Good for you. thanks so much for the post, it's a reminder that we all have moments that call us to invest ourselves in other places besides writing words, now we get to speak them.


Tina P

MaryC said...

Sandra, My dad would have been 82 yesterday, but he's been gone for ten years now. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him and wish I had more time with him so I heartily applaud your decision.
Your writing will be there when you have time. Dad's are for cherishing now.

You are in my prayers.

Jane said...

Some sad and amazing stories. My own father died six months ago, a very different situation to some of these touching stories. He suffered a severe stroke and even when medical staff in ICU were discussing treatment options (eg surgery), with no guarantees, Mum said Dad pulled the wires out and threw them on the floor as if to say No! - he would have hated to have been in a position of having to be looked after. He died that night but looking back I'm grateful he didn't have to endure what he would have dreaded - not being able to care for himself. I believe fervently that the prayer of my church family helped ease the grief immensely. My thoughts and prayers are with you amazing ladies and your dear parents.

Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

Thanks for the prayers Sandra

Dianna Shuford said...


I'll be praying for your dad and you. It's tough hanging in there when circumstances are out of your control. I haven't had to face dealing with the death of a parent, but I've tried to be there for my mom when her parents (my grandparents)each passed away. Not an easy thing since I live 2 states away, and I've still felt their loss as the oldest grandchild in the family.

Any tough circumstances I've faced, God has always answered my prayers and not always the way I would have liked Him to answer. Somehow, every bill always paid when funds were short. Somehow, a way to go visit family a critical times when autos were down. Somehow, His peace when I didn't think there was any to be found. Hang in there, and know you are not alone.

Amy DeTrempe said...

I'll keep you and your father in my prayers as you make this transition. And, your characters are quiet because they know their story isn't as important. As soon as things settle, they will probably all be fighting for your attention.

Walt M said...

Sandra, enjoy your time with your Dad. My prayers are with you.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Sandra, I know what you mean. It is rather selfish to want our parents to stay sharp and aware so we can enjoy them more, but my mom is happy in her head. She forgets physical pain from the prior day, and that she's in a nursing home.
For her, she's enjoying socializing with a bunch of other twenty-somethings!

Sandra Leesmith said...

So sorry not to get back to you. Dad's neighbor turned off his Internet. yikes.

Wow, so many touching comments. I'm sitting here with my box of Kleenex and thankful the Internet is back on. I'm thinking this might be someone who works and gets up early to do his Internet.

PATTY JO I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you have all those precious memories. Thanks for your prayers.

JILL Thanks for your prayers too. Things are so falling into place for Dad so I know all these prayers are being answered in such lovely ways.

DEBBY I can't imagine how people deal with this and go to a full time job and come back to handle family besides. I'm so praying for all of them. Thanks for your prayers too.

CAROL M Praying for your family too. Tough to go through. And go Dad. 65 is YOUNG don't you know? Although this week I'm feeling all those years. LOL

MYRA I hope we're going to see some photos of grandchild #6. How fun. Babies are so precious but they do create another level of stress. smiling. How wonderful that you will be there to help. And I just can't picture you as a grandmother. You're much too young.

PAM Yes, Pam, I'm enjoying my time immensely. Going through stuff like all the photos brings back so many fun memories. Dad and I are both getting some great smiles and laughs. He's actually looking forward to his move which is a miracle in itself. So no pain except the fact that I feel my age with all this work. LOL

MARY I forget you all are in the depths of winter. I'm going to fan some of this warm desert air your way. With all your traveling and booksigning you should talk your publisher into sending you to ARIZONA. Then you could warm up. And be a snowbird.

TINA P Sounds like you're speaking from experience. Blessings to you too.

MARY C Ten years. That seems like an eternity doesn't it? I'm glad you have loving memories to cherish. Thank you for your encouragement.

JANE I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thankful you had church family to bring you comfort. My Mom passed three years ago today and I know what you're saying. I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and share some good news.

DIANNA I'm so glad that you can see God's hand in the events in your life. So many times we are so focused on the problem or on the necessities of daily living that we forget to stop and see how He has been there all along. What a blessing and comfort for you.

AMY You are so right. I didn't think about how considerate they were being to leave me alone during this time. That makes me smile.

WALT Thanks for the prayers. I appreciate them so much.

DEBRA Your comment is making me chuckle. I love the idea of them all thinking of their youth. They show a lot of the old movies from the thirties and forties and get such joy from them.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks everyone. I so loved all your sharing and encouragement. Its a wonderful blessing for all of us.

piratequeen said...

I can identify not being able to write during tough times. My husband committed suicide in October I was not able to write even though people told me to write about the experience and I will soon. I have only just started back to writing though still not as much as I use to but I feel even if I just write a paragraph or two at least it is a start.

B.Schwind said...

Like Mary in the Bible -you have chosen the wisest decision. Our writing we have with us but not our parents. My mom lived with me for seven years and she also gave up all the things like driving, her home and then was happy to go to assisted living when we went away. She told me ,"If I ever forget who you are know that Ilove you." I remembered that on the days her mind was fuzzy.I have shared many fun stories of Mom and Me. She moved to heaven at 96.Enter me for kiddies bk. Bevschwind@hotmail dot com.

Elaine Cooper said...

Sandra, thank you for sharing this tough time, for you AND your Dad. I'll be praying for you both. I think most of us have had one sort of family need emerge in the midst of our writing and we have had to quietly "Shhhh" the usual inhabitants of our imaginations. But those voices will emerge again when Dad is tended to and his needs are met. Blessings to you both. And give Dad a hug from all of us! :-)

Debbie Clark said...

Sandra, I may not be a writer, but I am a daughter. My mother is a widow and 83 years old. She still lives on her own, but both my sister & I have noticed little things that make us realize that it is a matter of time before we will have to make a decision. We are hoping that when the time is right, my mother will make that decision first. It may be a year or two, but the inevitable does come. Bless you for spending time with your dad and helping him. That is the most important thing in your life right now. Am praying for you and your family.
Debbie Clark

Virginia said...

Wow, that was so powerful! I've read so much on here about making sure nobody stands in your way (good) and that your family knows you're working and not to interrupt (better) and to ignore anything that's demanding attention (best), but life happens. I have 6 kids under ten, and I want to be a good mother AND a good writer. That means not cranking out a book in six weeks. It means writing during naps and at 3AM and taking a year.
Good for you for being there, for taking the time. What you're working on now, that is what lasts.

Tina Radcliffe said...

So many lovely comments. Wow Seekerville is wonderful.

Pirate Queen, know we are lifting you up in prayer also.

Sandra Leesmith said...

TINA, You are soooo right. Seekerville is wonderful--a real treasure. And I come back and find more touching comments.

PIRATEQUEEN What a trial you've had. Our prayers are with you.

B. SCHWIND Isn't it amazing what gems come out of those difficult situations? I'm so glad you were able to help your mom. You will be blessed, I guarantee it (based on scripture of course)

ELAINE Thanks for the words of encouragement

DEBBIE Don't discount the power of prayer. I'm praying also. With all this prayer, your mother may just be the one initiating the move. smile

VIRGINIA You are so right about those little ones. They grow up so fast. I'm glad you have your priorities right also. smile I have great admiration for those of you who write and have little ones about.

Thanks again all of you.

Missy Tippens said...

Sandra, I'm a day late on your post. Such a beautiful tribute to your dad. I'm glad he's recovering okay from his pneumonia.

I'm so glad you're doing what you're doing in helping him right now. You'll have no regrets over that, I'm sure.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Missy