Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Life is rather surreal right now. Hard to believe this moment is actually here: my Dad is dying.

Even though his quality of life has been diminishing over the last year or so, it's still hard to grasp that we're actually in this place. Hospice care. Hospital bed in my parents' living room. Trying to figure out how to let him go. Just 10 days ago he was still walking to the bathroom. Eating. Taking his breathing treatments. Taking all his meds. Interacting with life.  Living the best version of his 85-year-old self. And seemingly overnight - things changed. It's like he just got tired of it all. He just didn't have the energy to do this one. more. year.

When Mom and I walked into his hospital room on December 4th - he was angry. Agitated. "Done with this." And so, since then, we've been learning how to say Goodbye. Learning how to give him the best quality of life at home that he can have in the time he has left. Learning how to let him go. Husband of over 61 years. Father of 60 years (44 years to me). Grandfather of 32 years. Great-Grandfather of 20 months.

Because I tend to overthink EVERYTHING, and because I have this ridiculous desire to turn everything into some sort of Norman Rockwell picture (or to feel like a failure when life's not full of those Norman Rockwell moments)...I'm constantly consumed lately with making sure I've said all I needed to say. Questioning how to suck every possible memory out of the time we have left. And in a constant state of near-panic as I realize that he's fading faster than any of us could have believed just a couple weeks ago.

I've learned already that the grieving process doesn't start when someone dies. I'm already grieving. So, I'm sure, are my Mom, my brother, my kids, my nephews. Like I said - the whole thing is so ridiculously surreal. Since my Dad was a few days shy of 41 years old when I was born, I've known my whole life that I was most likely going to be losing him at a younger age than most of my friends lost their parents. For most of my adult life, I've sort of resented that fact. But I know the truth. The truth that I have friends who have already lost parents to cancer or other reasons. The truth that I have been beyond blessed to call my Dad mine for the last 44 years. I have lots and lots of amazing memories. God knew what He was doing when He surprised my parents with me. And He knew what He was doing when He made Clinton Sylvester my Dad. :-)

So I peruse the internet for "How to Handle Losing a Parent", "What I Wish I Would Have Said Before They Died", "Signs of Death". Again - surreal.

Here's what I know: God is in control. His ways and His timing are perfect. He is in control of Dad's last moments here on earth. I'm praying that He'll guide us in our time we have left with him. I'm praying for wisdom on what to say - if to say anything at all. I'm praying for Dad's countenance to be full of peace and joy as he ends his time here with us. That Jesus will wrap him in His loving arms and lead him to eternity. And, selfishly, that we'll get a glimpse of that moment. To have blessed assurance of Dad's heavenly journey.

When you have a quiet man with a quiet faith - it's hard to have complete trust that he's heaven-bound. But I'm trusting God's promises. Trusting that even a quiet man with his quiet faith - even if it's just the faith of a mustard seed - that God's got Dad's place waiting for him. Jesus went and prepared MY DAD a place in His Father's house. My Dad is about to be in that house. Just a few steps ahead of the rest of us spending eternity together there.

So we will live in the moment. Treasure each day Dad's still here. Prepare our hearts for what's to come. Lean on Jesus just a little more.

Praising God for the man he's blessed me with. Dave has been my rock.

Praying for my Mom as she learns how to say goodbye to hers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Getting Back On Track

Haven't written a post since November, and I'm kind of chuckling to myself as I read what that post was about. It was ALL about handling "busy." So how'd I do??


This past school year was a real struggle for me. It was one of those years where I constantly questioned whether ANYTHING I was doing was right. Every aspect of my life felt out. of. control.

Due to the level of busy and my introverted self never getting time to re-charge - my emotional eating kicked back into HIGH gear. My desire to exercise and eat right went out the window. And now, here I am. Trying to let go of the shame and the guilt and the depression and trying to get my health journey back on track. And so...I must write.

Weight Loss is ALL in Your Head

Yes, you read that right. I'm here to tell you with 100% confidence - you'll never lose weight if you don't have your head on straight. Never.

Now, of course, the WAY in which we choose to lose weight is important. And, I'm all about choosing the healthy way. It's how I lost 60 pounds four years ago. I know my tools are healthy and I know they work. But when my head isn't on straight, my weight loss tools really don't matter. Why? Because I will self-sabotage myself. Every day. Self-sabotage is what us emotional eaters are experts at. And, I am THE best at it. :-/

Now what?!

The realization that I'm stuck in the pit of self-sabotage is all fine and dandy, but now what?!

Well, I'm not saying I'm doing this well at the moment, but my history of winning this battle means I do know what I must do. So here's my list (and my reminder to myself, most of all):

  • Shower myself in grace. This is seriously hard to do. Perhaps you're not someone who has every struggled in this area - but if you're a woman, I'm guessing you have at some point. I can NOT un-do my past mistakes. They're done. Over. All I can do is to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back on the right track. No looking back. No guilt trips. Just making better decisions going forward. 
  • Recognize that the voice in my head is the devil. OK, I'm not saying my inner voice is always the enemy. But when my inner voice is lying to me and condemning me and showering me with shame - that's from the enemy. Romans 8:1 tells us "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." This is how I know that negative voice isn't from the Lord. He isn't condemning me. He's not banging me on the head with all my past mistakes or all the ways in which I screwed up to have gotten back to this place on the scale. Nope.  That negative voice that I keep falling for - that's the enemy. And every time I give in to those lies - I'm doing the devil's work for him. It's time to STOP it!
  • Choose TRUTH! When you're in the pit of self-sabotage, it's so hard to even distinguish what the truth is. Until I can right this ship and get going in a positive direction again, I literally have to take EVERY thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ~ "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." That also entails taking quiet time every morning to pray and re-direct that day's goals. Bad habits are easy to make...and good habits are easy to forget. I haven't gotten to this place because I've been following good habits. So, to re-create a good habit it is going to take some VERY purposeful and consistent effort. For at least three weeks straight. Until this good habit has been re-created, it takes work. Hard work. Questioning every thought. Praying over every food choice. Staying right by God's side and CONSTANTLY asking Him for His help to make the next best choice.
Honestly, we're all human. We make mistakes. We struggle with something. But when your struggle is related to your weight, it seems to add a whole other layer of condemnation. Others can see me. They know I've gained back weight I worked so hard to lose. My personal failure is public every single time I step out of my house. And that's why it's so hard. But guess what - that just shows I struggle with pride. And God detests pride. Check out this verse: Proverbs 11:2 ~ "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Wow. 

So, this summer my #1 goal is to re-claim my positive self-talk. To let go of all the junk I just shared...and to choose grace. To choose freedom. To choose to hear God's voice every day. 

This is hard stuff, folks. And, for me, life-long struggles. Praise the Lord that He's not done with me yet.