Five Minute Friday: EXPECT

This is my first week to join “Five Minute Friday.” This is the deal, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” Today’s prompt: EXPECT.

Five Minute Friday

I read this “expect” prompt last night, and several different thoughts on it ran through my mind as I drifted off to sleep. First and foremost, I think, are my expectations around this close-to-the end phase of caregiving. As yesterday would attest, I can’t expect to string together a full sentence (written or spoken) without being interrupted. My father-in-law, who sleeps for hours-long stretches now as his cancer continues its assault on him, has his most restless times at exactly the moments I need to concentrate. I gave up yesterday and called the home health agency to hire someone to come attend to him after Wayne has to leave for work, so I can finish the part of my day that is deadline-driven. It’s unfair to Dad for me to be frustrated and stressed about dealing with his bathroom needs (which take FOREVER and result in massive cleanups afterwards) as well as his pain management.

Also on the topic of expectations, he is meeting exactly what the book we were given by the hospice workers predicted about this stage: confusion, talking about loved ones who have passed, etc. Yesterday, he asked for my mother in law, who has been dead almost four years. “She’s not here,” I said. “Is she still alive?” he asked. I responded she was not. “We’re dropping like flies,” he said. It was a rare and crystal-clear accurate moment of lucidity from a man who tried to smoke a slim jim the other day, thinking it was a cigar.

This is all new to us. We don’t know what to expect. It is frightening and there is the sense that we only have this one time to help him navigate his death experience – it isn’t about “not messing it up” but about focusing on it with grace. 

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

10 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: EXPECT

  1. “About focusing on it with grace”
    What a beautiful perspective. It is clear from this passage that you are attacking each day with that mindset and your father-in-law is blessed to have you by his side during this time. I’ll be praying for guidance and comfort and God’s hand to continue to lead you.

  2. I’m glad you joined us at FMF! This sounds like a really difficult time for you all. I love your attitude of “focusing on it with grace.” Praying for you and your family. Visiting from #41.

  3. Welcome, Paula! We are so glad you are here. What a humble heart to serve and love and care for your father-in-law in such a way. i love what you said in that last line: “We don’t know what to expect. It is frightening and there is the sense that we only have this one time to help him navigate his death experience – it isn’t about “not messing it up” but about focusing on it with grace.”

  4. Hey, Paula. Welcome to Five Minute Friday. Thank you for sharing your words and experiences with us. Man, end of life care is a wild ride, isn’t it? My father-in-law does not live with us, yet my husband is closely involved, and spends a week to 10 days each month with him. It’s so intense sometimes, trying to navigate this season in a way that honors the aging in their final stage of life. I love your emphasis on grace. What a beautiful perspective.

  5. I don’t know how you do it. When my mother had her gall bladder out I quickly realized I am not the caregiver type. Yes, I raised 4 daughters but caring for children is quite different from providing care for a sick parent. You and your husband are doing a wonderful thing for your FIL and I know you will be blessed for it. I will add you and your family to my daily prayers.

    • I still don’t think I’m the caregiver type but fate seems to disagree right now! I do hope someday I can volunteer or something to help others —- it’s easier to be patient with someone else sometimes, I think.

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