Sunday, July 19, 2015


I don't have energy.

Mornings aren't too bad, but then I am exhausted in the afternoons.

I don't sleep very well.

When I come to the Lord in prayer I continually feel He is saying, "Rest, Child, rest."

Last spring I had a series of viruses and a terrible strep infection, and so at first I assumed my need for rest was from a physical ill. But that was nearly three months ago!  And so tonight I asked, "Why do I need all this rest, Lord?"

I'd no sooner formulated the question than understanding flooded my mind: I have vastly underestimated the weight of the burden I carry for my mother. I am exhausted by my responsibilities to her, depleted by the emotional roller coaster of her verbal abuse alternating with sweet expressions of kindness, and weighted by the grief of what I've lost along with dread of the further difficulties I'll have to face between now and the time my mother's Alzehimer's journey is finally done. I believe that once Mom is gone, my energy will return, but how terrible to know that the doorway to renewal passes through the valley of the shadow of death.

After an eleven year Alzheimer journey (we had paced ourselves for a predicted three year stint) I am  beyond discomfort over the thought of eulogies and choosing an outfit for the deceased to wear; I have rehearsed these things so often that I believe I will handle my responsibilities with aplomb. But my heart, dear Lord, my heart.  I am so weary.  This morning I prayed for a little sign of encouragement, but if the Lord has placed it before me, I haven't recognized it.

As I prayed about all of this, snippets of Scripture began coming to mind...pressed but not crushed...though they stumble they will not fall, for God will help them at break of fear in love... 

 I've just clicked through to Biblegateway to find the references for each of these verses and lo and behold, here is my encouragement...the verse of the day at Biblegateway's home page is my life verse, Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"(Isaiah 41:10 NIV).  

Tonight I'm really appreciating the Lord's promise to hold me up.

Fellow caregivers, don't underestimate the energy draining effects of the burdens you carry for your loved ones. Even if the physical labor is not intense, the emotional burden can affect you in ways you may not recognize. We have arranged for Mom to go to adult daycare at an area nursing home one day a week so that I can have another day away each week--I do grocery shopping and run errands on Thursdays when a local church lady spends the day with my mom, but I never take a day just for myself--I'll report back here to let you know whether it helps!

Here are ideas for finding options for respite care (remember, "respite" is support provided to the caregiver--for example, our respite care lady cleans my kitchen and bathrooms once a week as well as spending time with my mom):
  • Your Area Council on Aging
  • Your state's Department for Aging
  • The Alzheimer Association's 24/7 helpline -- 1.800.272.3900
  • Alzheimer's is a terminal disease, so consider calling your local hospice to see whether there are services such as bathing and administration of medications available through them
  • Familiarize yourself with services covered by Medicare--here is the link for the official booklet about medicare home health services: Medicare Home Health
  • Your local church, friends, word of mouth--this has actually been our best support base over the years. I always say that the little lady who spends time with Mom each week has saved my life, and I found her through our church.  
Prioritize rest and don't be hard on yourself if you need an afternoon nap.  Naps have become a fact of my life the past few months, and I praise God for the time and circumstances that quite often allow me to indulge this need. The difficulty with many of us is that we allow that feeling of "ought to be accomplishing something" to rob us of rest the Lord would provide.  Remember, He gives to his beloved sleep...(Psalm 127:2 RSV).   

Praying for you and grateful for your prayers,



  1. Linda, this touches me deeply...not because my parents had Alzheimer's, because thankfully they didn't, and they died when I was in my 20's, over 30 years ago, but because a good friend of mine's mother is 92 and has Alzheimer's, and her mother's sister, her aunt, who is 78, also has it and it bothers her to see their moods change so rapidly. Your post is enlightening and an encouragement, I am sure, to many. Thank you so much for sharing, and I will be praying for you.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! Those mood swings are just so hard because the tendency is to withdraw emotionally from the care recipient in an attempt to protect one's own heart. It is difficult to stay engaged and responsive to their needs when you never know whether you might face anger or accusations. I so appreciate your prayers, you have mine.

  2. So glad that The Lord has revealed these things to you. My own mother who cared for her mother for the last ten years of both of their lives, would have benefitted from knowing these things. You have a right to your life.

    Wanted to share a funny (I hope so anyway) story. At one point in caring for Nan, all three of us, my grandmother, my husband, and I were sleep deprived. My sweet sister-in-law gifted us with a room diffuser and some essential oils. She specifically mentioned lavender for help with sleep. One day, I tried it. Well my grandmother was the first to ask to be put to bed for a nap (unheard of), John zonked out on the sofa, I fell asleep sitting upright in an easy chair. We slept for three hours! I still remember it as the sweetest rest of my life. =D

    Praying for you and those you love...

    1. Goodness gracious, I'm contacting my friend, Marilyn today re purchasing a room diffuser and some lavender oil! She loves essential oils and I've thought they sounded nice but have not felt motivated to try them myself...until now! Thank you Vee! :-)

  3. Hi Linda, rest for the caregiver is so important. My dad was the main caregiver for my mom and he was so tired. I drove down every weekend to help so he could have some time to his self. I think from the time she was diagnosed and then died was just 7 years. It affected her speech and ability to read early on. It is such a horrible disease. I will have to check out your book. I use a diffuser too and sure wish I had known about it when my mom and dad could have used it. God bless you.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Susan. This was a timely message for me today because I felt the Lord nudging me to rest this afternoon. I obeyed, but felt a little guilty as I always do, and your comment served as an affirmation that "rest for the caregiver is so important." Thanks again! Linda