June and July were two very long and hard months. Granny struggled with confusion and weakness more than she has since she came to live with us. When I could get her settled for a little bit, I found out quickly that it was important that I NOT run do the laundry or begin vacuuming the rugs. If I left her in her room alone, she would get up after a few minutes to come find me (or I would have to find her) and I would have to begin the process of distracting Gran from her current fixation. It was almost always a preoccupation that I could neither accommodate nor have the ability to explain to her why I couldn’t–very frustrating for both of us.
An orderly home, time with my husband and children, and 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep became a distant memory and pipe dream for the future. I needed to just be still and be with Granny, answer her questions, and try to be a comforting presence. The thing that helped me most through this time (other than the Word of God and much prayer) was reading. There have been many, many times in the last decade that I have yearned for more hours (or even minutes) to read. Well, it seems that God has signaled and THE TIME IS NOW. (Part of His signal seemed to be “Buy a book light. The time for sleep is LATER.”)
I could look at this season of my life from several different perspectives. (For those of you who might think all I do here at home with Granny is lay around and do what I feel like, please don’t think that. Because if you do, I might have to come and drag you here by your ear and let you see a “day in the life” to adjust your misconceptions.) It is a difficult time for many things. But, one of the ways I can choose to see it is as a good time for books. Instead of withering away from lack of interaction or communication with outside people, I can bloom here, in this house, with my sweet family, as I capture part of this time with something that makes me happy–A GOOD BOOK.
“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.” ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
I love to hear about what others are reading so that I might be turned on to another excellent book myself. I’ll share with you the volumes that I have consumed during our rough months. (Well, maybe not consumed. Some of them I haven’t finished yet.) I tend to have a few books from different genres going at the same time. I pick which one I want to read by the mood I’m in.
I love a good mystery and I have found an author that I really like. Jacqueline Winspear and her “Maisie Dobbs” came to me through a suggestion on Amazon. I am so enjoying this series. There are 10 books so far. I am on #8, A Lesson In Secrets. (I haven’t read all 8 in 2 months. My life hasn’t been THAT laid back.)
For Spiritual Growth/History:
I’m going through Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas very slowly. It was recommended to me by a friend a while back and I am glad that I am able to get to read it now.
The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home, (Revised with a new afterword) Arlie Hochschild with Anne Machung– You’ll find out why I’m reading this soon (hopefully).
For Laughs and a Kindred Spirit:
Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light At Every Turn by Melanie Shankle–As I’m sure others have told you, DO NOT eat or drink while reading this book. You will laugh so hard that the food and/or beverage will spew from your mouth or find it’s way up your nose.
For Life Itself:
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m keen on The Amplified Bible right now. This is how BibleGateway describes it for those of you who haven’t used it before: “The Amplified Bible was the first Bible project of The Lockman Foundation. It attempts to take both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what Scripture really says. Multiple English word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed by the traditional translation method.”
Thankfully, Granny is MUCH better at present. She is sleeping well and has been content during the day with only the “usual” confusion and memory issues. I am able to leave her side and work on all the things I have had to let myself get behind on. Yes, it does make my life easier when she is better but I am most glad that SHE feels better. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to not be certain of anything around you and having your granddaughter tell you that you “can’t” do the thing you want to do.
There are still days I feel like I’m wilting. I crave light and air and sunshine. The hours seem endless and I long for a friendly face and a conversation to brighten my day. God knows best though and often He has sent the renewal and refreshing I longed for through quiet reflection and introspection or a good belly laugh through reading instead.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles William Eliot
“No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.” ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” ― C.S. Lewis
Anna’s hope for her blog is to share her journey of “becoming.” Besides being a wife, mother, and RN at her local hospital, she is, newly, a full-time caregiver to her Granny whom besides being a loving grandparent and great-grandparent deals with dementia. Anna spends her spare time with her family, blogging, crocheting, and watching old movies. She also enjoys the theatre when time and money allow. You can follow her story at Anna Becoming.