For the past 20 years my Dad, (pictured below with my brother) has suffered the effects of multiple strokes. Over several years he has had numerous TIA’s (mini strokes) and about 7-8 major strokes that we are aware of. All of which have resulted in brain damage and a wide array of physical symptoms and complications. He has struggled to overcome many of these physical and mental disabilities and has managed to recover fairly well up until the last year and a half or so.
The strokes ultimately led to an early retirement from his practice as an attorney. As a family we have watched him slowly decline over the past few years from an active, hard-working father and husband to needing full-time assistance. At the end of August last year it became obvious that he needed more care than my mother and my siblings and I could provide. We moved him into an assisted living facility where he could get the full time care he needs.
Since moving into the facility he has been declining rapidly and in December he was moved into the facility’s memory care unit.
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As his physical and cognitive abilities have declined, we have gone through various stages of mourning the loss of who our Father once was. I miss the Dad he used to be, and wish my kids could have known him before the strokes began to take him away from us.
Today I spend my days taking care of my own family and taking turns with my siblings to visit and care for our Dad. To be completely honest, some days are really hard.
His communication and speech have become very difficult for even us to understand. His doctor believes he suffers a new TIA every few days. It’s been heartbreaking and frustrating to sit by and watch him suffer. It feels so helpless, as I watch him slip slowly away while not being able to do anything about it.
But…it’s also been a blessing in many ways. In this crazy busy time of raising a family, I have been forced to slow down and value our relationship. I get to spend a lot of time with him and reminiscing about the things he remembers from his childhood and mine.
On the hard days, the days where I need extra courage to face the reality of his situation, I take courage in inspirational messages and in my faith. I love this quote from Nelson Mandela…
I LEARNED THAT COURAGE WAS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE TRIUMPH OVER IT. THE BRAVE MAN IS NOT HE WHO DOES NOT FEEL AFRAID, BUT HE WHO CONQUERS THAT FEAR.
Today I am teaming up with my favorite shops, Cents of Style. Cents of Style has an inspirational “Be Series” Collection that I am in love with. In particular their “Be Brave” Collection. I feel like right now I need this mantra playing over and over in my head as I face my daily challenges and fears.
I especially love this Be Brave Trucker Hat. It’s fun and inspirational on those days when I need a little extra reminder of what I am capable of…and when I need to hide a bad hair day (which has been happening more than I care to admit lately…because May…it’s insane)!
And good news, if you use the code “BEYOU” you will get 50% off any Be Series items and Free Shipping! Be sure to check it out! We all have hard things where a little inspiration can go a long way!
I am not sure how much time I have left with my Dad, mentally and/or physically…but I know that I can find the courage to face what lies ahead. Happy Father’s Day Dad!
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