This past Sunday at the Taizé service a couple of things came into focus for me, but more about that at the end of this thing.
Lately I’ve have been asked by the stroke support team at Theda Clark -Neenah to meet with stroke survivors’ caretakers where the caregiver in a man. There are number of sources of support for the survivor. There are better support systems when the caretaker is a woman. There are fewer options when the caretaker is the husband. I generally start these conversations with something like, “What happened to your wife sucks. What is happening to you sucks!” A couple of thoughts about situations I’ve encountered.
Faith can take you a long way – Bob’s (not real name) wife had a stoke last summer and has not yet recovered her ability to walk and can only communicate in a whisper. Bob understands that he will have to learn to live a new normal, but fully believes “…we are walking with the Lord.” His faith and his family are what is sustaining him.
Find joy where you can – Sam’s (not real name) wife had a stroke about six months ago. While there is little in the way of physical disability, the stroke has affected her short-term memory. They are in the process of going through their things believing that downsizing is right around the corner. In the process they have gone through their large collection of family photo albums. While finding joy is hard in the present, through the photos they are reliving a long, joyful life together.
Be really thankful for what you have (not a stroke related story) – a couple of weeks back (during a period where I admit I was spending to much time feeling sorry for myself) I bumped into an acquaintance, who is a few years younger than me, that I hadn’t seen in at least six months. A couple of years ago she had done battle with cancer. For awhile she was holding on but now the cancer was back. She was going through chemo to give herself a little more time and was using radiation treatments to shrink the tumors as a way to manage pain. She has been able to see her daughter go to prom. Should be able to see her graduate from high school. Leaving for college is iffy. Later that night it struck me – that family would give anything to be in my position. I remembered to be very thankful for everything I have.
The Taizé service – in a Taize service you sing short phrases over and over again. It is gives you the time and opportunity to really thing about what you are singing. The chant that struck me was “Our darkness is never darkness in your sight: the deepest night is as clear as the daylight”. It reminded me there will always be some darkness, but also there will also always be some light, we just may need to search for it.