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Preparing to Care for Aging Loved Ones (Part 2 of 2)

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Preparing to Care for Aging Loved Ones (Part 2 of 2)

As they discuss their personal journeys in caring for aging family members, Michele Howe and Lisa Anderson offer insights on many aspects of caregiving, including the difficulties of role-reversal in caring for an aging parent, differing expectations among siblings, the impact on marriage and the single person, the importance of community, and more. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 24, 2019
Caring for Our Aging Parents

Caring for Our Aging Parents

Receive Michele Howe's book Caring for Our Aging Parents for your donation of any amount!

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Caring for Our Aging Parents

Caring for Our Aging Parents

Receive Michele Howe's book Caring for Our Aging Parents for your donation of any amount!

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Episode Summary

As they discuss their personal journeys in caring for aging family members, Michele Howe and Lisa Anderson offer insights on many aspects of caregiving, including the difficulties of role-reversal in caring for an aging parent, differing expectations among siblings, the impact on marriage and the single person, the importance of community, and more. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 24, 2019

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Michele Howe: Caregiving starts out, maybe you think you’re gonna have to do a few things, and it can become 24/7 very fast.

Michele: And people lose it, you know. They will just lose it.

Jim Daly: They’re not equipped.

Michele: They’re not equipped; that’s the right way to say it. Yeah.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Those frustrations, the stresses of day-to-day responsibility for mom or dad, can feel overwhelming, and your resources can seem so limited it seems. If you’re in the position of caring for an aging loved one, it’s hard, but stay with us, we’re going to have some hope and help for you on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus President Jim Daly.

Jim: John, last time, we visited with Michelle Howe and Lisa Anderson, and heard some of their stories about courageously providing care for aging family members who needed them in that moment.

Both of these women are an inspiration. In Michelle’s case, her husband James also played a big role in the caregiving.

That responsibility can be all-consuming, and we probably all know stories like this. If not planned and managed well, with a team of others and we’re gonna provide that kind of help to you today on the program.

John: And Michelle Howe is the author of more than 20 books, including the one that really is the foundation for our conversation today – Caring for Our Aging Parents: Lessons in Love, Loss and Letting Go. And of course we have that here at Focus on the Family. She’s also written over 2500 articles and reviews in various publications. Lisa Anderson is the Director of Young Adults and the Boundless ministry here at Focus on the Family.

Body:

Jim: Michelle and Lisa, welcome back to Focus on the Family!

Michele: So nice to be here.

Lisa Anderson: Thanks so much.

Jim: Well, listen, Michele you mentioned toward the end of the program last time, about your father-in-law and that it was different from the caregiving you provided your second cousin – actually, your husband’s second cousin – Bill, who lived as a neighbor nearby you. So, get into that story. What happened with your father-in-law? How is it different from what took place with Bill? Kind of – in your own words, you kind of described it as you didn’t know enough with Bill to understand what you may have been able to do better.

Michele: Right.

Jim: But with your father-in-law, it seemed that you took notes, and you were able to attack that situation with greater clarity. What was that situation, and what did you apply?

Michele: Well, I still remember – we were at a funeral for my husband’s grandfather, at a luncheon after the funeral. And my father-in-law told the family that he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and only had months to live.

Jim: Terminal.

Michele: Terminal. And, you know, it was just like, oh, wow. We’re sitting at one funeral grieving one man’s life, whom we all loved, and here we get the news that another man we really love is dying, and there wasn’t gonna be no miracle cure; he was dying. So, he lived five months from that date, until he passed away. I think it was…

Jim: That had to be hard for him to even say that, to…

Michele: Oh, I think so. I mean, I just – and my husband is very close – was very close to his dad, so that was, of course, traumatic for all of us. But I remember driving home, the hour so from that funeral, and just quietly praying and saying, “You know, Lord, we’ve already done this once. We’re gonna be supportive. We’re gonna have a big role in Jim’s life, you know. And we’re gonna need to gather the troops,” meaning the other two siblings of my husband’s. And, he and – he and his wife were divorced, and he had remarried, but both of those ex-wives helped, too.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: It was great. But we kind of had to just take stock. But, I remember laying in bed that first night and saying, “Lord, I want to do this well. I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I don’t want all that icky emotion or guilt that I had with Bill,” just because I was naïve, or didn’t know how to communicate properly to get more help. And I asked the Lord for a special gift of peace at night, that we would sleep well, because I knew those days were going to be emotional saying goodbye to him.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: So, I can remember sleeping every night really well, until he passed away, and waking up every morning and feeling like that was a gift. But secondly, I now call – really, the privilege of having to take him to all his radiation treatments. And those were, like, I think for six weeks, five times a week, every day. And I would pick him up. He had a trailer he was in. And we’d go to the hospital, and it was real quick. But I went to so many appointments with him, and we had such conversations. And the greatest thing of all was my father-in-law previously was, like, a depressed man for a lot of his life. But I saw God change him in his last months, which was a miracle. So, we had these wonderful conversations. And I look back now and I think, I knew him for 30 some years, but those last five months, I thought we had such a bond, you know. And then I saw what God could do ‘cause, you know, when I was writing this book, it got depressing to me telling all these stories, because they’re hard; they’re not easy to think about. But then, you know, at the very end of the book, I talk about, you know, God allows us to get old and die physically, and yet so many stories – people make, you know, restoration with their families. They make peace with the Lord. There’s so many good things…

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: …That happen in those last moments of life, those last months of life, because we’re so needy, and I think there’s a purpose for it. And I saw that in my father-in-law. He changed. I mean, we walked him out, like, to glory.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: It was miraculous.

Jim: Yeah. Can I ask you this question though Michele for that person, that again, is living that? I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of people may be in that spot right now, especially in their 50s or 60s, and their parents are dying, if they’ve lived that long. How do you get over that emotional trauma that this is gonna be a big responsibility? What did you do practically? Read the word, pray? I mean, I’m sure those are aspects of it.

Michele: Yeah.

Jim: But what practical tool could you suggest to a person who emotionally is struggling, knowing this is gonna be overwhelming?

Michele: Well, I think one of the first things I did was talk to my husband and say, “We’re gonna do it different this time.”

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: So – we need to really have a game plan that we’re both good with. And you know, and he was all onboard for that.

Jim: So, a healthy attack mode. I like to think of it that way.

Michele: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Here’s how we’re gonna attack the problem.

Michele: Right. So, we knew…

Jim: But be aggressive with it.

Michele: Yeah. We knew we would have to be proactive about everything. So, we weren’t gonna be, “Ugh” again. So, I talked to my husband and we got the people who would help on board.

Jim: Yeah. How about you and your husband and your relationship? Did you discuss how we’re gonna do this differently so we don’t have the stress that we had…

Michele: Yes. That was…

Jim: …In the previous…

Michele: That was all part of, I think, that attack mode.

Jim: Yeah, OK.

Michele: And I don’t believe we had any stress or anything that second time around.

Jim: Wow, interesting.

Michele: …Any at all. I mean, not from my point. If you ask him, he may say something different (laughter). But I don’t think we did.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: But I so wanted to do it right. I so wanted – like what you said, I wanted to usher my father-in-law into eternity the right way. You know, full go, you know, and not have fear and not have anything. And I think we did; I think as a family we did.

Jim: Yes. Lisa, getting you in here, again, as a single person doing that caregiving, you kind of had a dramatic role reversal – not that that related to your marital status – but just being alone in that context or feeling alone. But that dramatic role reversal is – you know, your mom took care of you when you were a little girl. All of a sudden, now you’re in that other role. You’re the person feeding sometimes, I’m sure, and taking care of other needs. What did that feel like, and was it awkward?

Lisa: Yeah. I would say, in a way, mom having dementia helped in that sense, because the role reversal was a bit gradual. So, because the dementia was gradual, that idea of, you know, her being the one who was always asking about me, her, you know, being the one who was praying for me, there was a gradual loss of that. So, I lost pieces of her in stages, which was very hard, but also helped it not be so jarring. I would say, one of the most helpful things for me that I initially probably didn’t do as well, but I would definitely counsel other folks, is constantly remind yourself that this is a season. Because, I think, for me, I used to be – I remember being that interesting, fun single person, who always was available, who could do fun things with my friends, who could do – and I had to say, “For this season – and I don’t know how long this season will be – I need to let up on some responsibilities.” So, there were things I was involved in at church that I said, for this season, I’m gonna have to back off of these, and this is…

Jim: So the ability to say, “No.”

Lisa: Right, the ability to say, “No,” and the ability to just back off and the ability to say, “I’m not gonna go on the vacations I’ve done. I’m not gonna go – for this season, I’m not gonna be going out every weekend. And I’m not gonna be” – getting in that mindset was really helpful. But to be able to say – and to that point, Jim, I also want to encourage people who want to support caregivers. There are very practical, specific ways to do that.

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: That you can jump into the fray and offer specific help that doesn’t leave the caregiver in a position of saying, “Oh, can I ask? Can I make another ask? Can I put another need out there?” Because we feel super awkward about doing that. But there are great ways to jump in, collectively.

Jim: Yeah. Let me hit that role reversal, and then I’ve got a – something to ask you about the church, in general.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: But the role reversal thing – when you’re a parent of a child, they may have an accident – fall on their bike, what have you – and you feel horrible as a parent, because you didn’t put the right protection around them. I mean, that happens, especially if you’re raising boys. I’ve got enough stories like that, where you have a little parental wince – that, you know, I probably shouldn’t have let them play so close to whatever. I would think in the role reversal you might have that sense of guilt as well. Because I think even your mom – one of the stories that you’ve shared is that she got lost and, I think, stumbled and hurt herself. So, you’ve got the guilt factor of that, but you can’t be there all the time.

Lisa: Right.

Jim: Describe what happened to your mom. And then how do you manage the acceptance that, you know, your elderly parents could be in some harms way at times, because you can’t be there all the time?

Lisa: Yeah. Oh, I mean, it was hard. And the anticipation of something going wrong, you know, that always had me on pins and needles because I was like, “Oh, everyone says she’s gonna have a fall, or everyone says” – she did. She actually was in the care of someone else and got lost for over an hour at one point because they’d brought her to a meeting at church, and she just got up and, like, walked out without them noticing. And so she ended up crossing a couple streets. I mean, it was really scary. But then she had a couple falls. Now, one funny story with one of her falls is, whenever mom fell – and she fell very few times; I was really grateful for that – but, she did not break any bones. She did – I mean, for people that are like full-on breaking hips and stuff…

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: Mom did not break bones. But she could not, then, get herself back up again. So I learned about this amazing thing called Lift Assist, where you call and firemen come in – and Jim, I’m not even kidding, these firemen, four firemen showed up.

Jim: Just – boom.

Lisa: They looked like they stepped off a calendar.

Jim: (Laughter).

Lisa: I’m not even kidding. And it was mom’s best day…

Jim: (Laughter) You are single.

Lisa: It was Mom’s best day in several weeks.

(LAUGHTER)

Lisa: She clearly – she and I were in competition on this. The fireman, this precious guy, got her up off the floor and said, “Dorothy, how are you feeling?” And she said, “I feel wonderful.”

(LAUGHTER)

Lisa: And leaned into him and gave him a little hug. So that was just a bright spot.

Jim: Probably made his day, too.

Lisa: So we laughed about that. And – but it is – I mean, that role reversal is tricky because you have to say – you know, you have so many fears about what could happen, and you just have to realize that, you know, ultimately – and it’s just like parents with kids – God’s the keeper of mom. God’s the keeper. He knows her days. He has her – you know, and I can’t constantly berate myself or beat myself up or be fearful about what could happen because we don’t know what will happen.

Jim: Right. And Michele, the question I want to ask about the church is, you know, having the experiences that you’ve had – and Lisa, certainly jump in here, too – what is the church generally doing well? And again, this is gonna be so experiential to the church that the listeners go to. But what are things that you notice that the church can do well? Because I’m thinking, here at Focus we have orphan care. The Scripture’s clear, though; it’s widow and orphan. And we don’t really have anything very specific, other than help here with resources and counselors, for widows to contact us. But to me, it feels like the local church is the place for that assistance. So, what can a church do to provide help to the caregiver, or to be the help?

Michele: You know, one thing I know our church has just started is, like, a whole care network. And I was looking at it when we were on our way out here, where they’re helping with elderly, with, you know, people who’ve had abortions, with single moms, people who are divorced – kind of under categories where the first thing is, do you need to talk to somebody? And I love that.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: So, they’re gathering people who are experienced in each one of these areas, and then it’s like a crisis hotline. And then they have a whole other area where there are practical helps. And for each area, it’s going to be different. But I think, overall, I don’t really think churches are doing enough. But, you know what? We’re all private, too. And I don’t think – we didn’t help – we didn’t ask for help, when we were going through it with Bill. I look at all my friends and what givers they are, and they’re all exhausted, and they’re so busy; I didn’t wanna ask my friends for help, you know. I mean – and I’m sure they would feel the same way. So, you have that dichotomy of, you don’t want to ask, because everyone’s stressed out.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: Everyone’s already at their limit because they’re great people. They’re already servants.

Jim: Sure.

Michele: But, you know, the church is a function of – if you can identify those people – who are, like Lisa said, really great with the elderly and love elderly. Make that a new ministry.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: Right. Well, let me take a little bit of a load off of the pastor. You know, those of us sitting in the pews, if we feel the need is there, go and talk to the pastor about doing it.

Lisa: Yeah.

Michele: Right.

Jim: Don’t just lay it at their feet to say, “Hey, can you do this, pastor?” Because they’re already doing a ton of stuff, too. And it would be good if you have an idea that the Lord is pushing you in that direction…

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: …Start an outreach.

Lisa: And don’t wait for the caregiver to ask for help, because a lot of times, like Michele said, they won’t. They either don’t know how to ask for help, or they feel bad about asking for help. I mean, Jim, I have a couple really practical suggestions. One – I mean, first – first off is, the average person who wants to help is gonna think that they don’t have the skills or the ability necessary to give that…

Jim: So, you feel underequipped.

Lisa: You feel underequipped. You feel like, I don’t really know what to do with this person. I always would tell my friends, when they would come and sit with mom for a night, so I could go out and do something, I always told them, “If, by the end of the evening, you have kept her alive, you have succeeded.” This isn’t about coming in with some massive entertainment program and being awesome and providing medical care and all that; this is just sitting with her, providing a safe space for her, maybe helping her with some basic needs and giving me a break. It is not about being some kind of professional, OK? So, you gotta first lay the ground rules of just saying, you know, set the expectations and let these people know that you are doing me a great service by being here. Folks that want to be proactive about stuff – offering up a time, especially a consistent time, even if it’s a small amount of time. If you say to a caregiver, “I have a couple hours every other Saturday that I would love to come and sit with your parent, your loved one, so you can go run a few errands. Let’s start putting these on the calendar.” Offering…

Jim: Wow, yeah.

Lisa: The worst thing you can do is say, “Yeah, let me know whenever you need help.” That is super vague and frustrating (laughter).

Jim: And they’ll never follow up on it.

Lisa: They’ll never follow up with you. You offer a time off of your calendar, what you can do, and you say, “I will be there. Let’s put this on the calendar.” Giving them gift cards so they don’t have to cook, especially to just order out food for restaurants, whatever – when they just, you know, come home and they’re frazzled; they can’t handle anything – super helpful. Offering to take the person, like Michele said, to appointments, especially if the loved one has a lot of medical appointments, to be an advocate for them, to take notes in their appointments, to drive them if they have treatments that they need to do, to go in and clean someone’s house. And again, this is another – you don’t say, like, “Hey, do you need some cleaning?” Like, who wants to admit to that, you know?

Jim: (Laughter).

Lisa: You just say, “Get out of your house on a Saturday.” I had co-workers do this for me. “Get out of your house on this Saturday. We will come in. We will clean your house. You go do what you want. And then show back up, and your house will be clean.”

Jim: Wow, that’s great.

Lisa: That is very specific. It is very – and it doesn’t me – it doesn’t put me in the position of saying, Oh, yeah, I want you to do, you know, X, Y, Z and be able to help me with that. So…

Jim: And those are co-workers here from Focus.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Jim: I’m so proud of them.

Lisa: Because they’re amazing, yup.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s good.

Lisa: So, yeah, it was actually just fabulous, when people had very specific ideas with specific times, specific dates, specific needs, and they just offered them, rather than asking me to kind of be the one to initiate that.

Jim: Yeah, those are great ideas.

Michele: And one thing is – to continue what you’re saying, Lisa, too, is we made it a family affair for our kids. I mean, my husband…

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Michele: …Because our – we had four teens, and they were – we would say, “Two – two of you are going to clean Bill’s house this week. The other one – I don’t know – mow the lawn, whatever. The other one’s gonna take care of his dog.” And we rotated it.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: And, you know, at first, they were a little uncomfortable. But you know what? We all have to be uncomfortable.

Jim: (Laughter).

Michele: And they got – you know, they got over it very quickly. And then it became a natural thing.

Lisa: Right.

Michele: And I thought, you know, for parents or people who are out there who have kids, have your kids get involved.

Jim: Hey, let’s get to some other practical aspects of this – finances. That can be an issue. I’m not sure, Michele, on your situation with Bill, maybe with your father-in-law, it was a little more clear. But how do you dig into that? How do you figure out how much do they have? ‘Cause I’m sure, when they’re healthy and in a good position, they’re not sitting with you having coffee on a Saturday morning, saying, “Hey, by the way, I got this 401(k)…”

Michele: Yeah.

Jim: “…And, you know, if something should happen to me, here’s my insurance plan. And it’s going to cover this.” We just don’t talk about that stuff like that. And very few people prepare an envelope for their relatives to open, in the event that they’re not capable mentally or any other way. So, how do you broach that subject? How do you get into it? What are the right questions to ask?

Michele: Well, with Bill, it became apparent fairly quickly after he got sick that we were taking over writing his bills. So, I remember one – he drove me up – and it wasn’t the safest ride I’ve ever had in a car – to his bank. And he put me on his checking and savings account so I could write his checks out.

Jim: So that’s a good first start.

Michele: That’s a good first start. And he made my husband the executor, so my husband could make all the – all the decisions. He took over, which we did that. Now, we didn’t do it immediately, but when it looked like his health was going downhill, and he was gonna need more and more assistance.

Jim: Right.

Michele: And he had no one else. So he put us on. So that was wise because it saved us a lot of trouble and a lot of legal heartache, which people aren’t even aware of. And I don’t even know all that because my husband handled it – you know, just to know how do you handle the – having a will in place and – you know, so things don’t just go to the state and all your money is lost, and there’s no inheritance or whatever. But, you know, just taking over, it is hard. But, you know, Bill trusted us. And we became his – kind of his caregivers.

Jim: Sure.

Michele: So we were the people. And we just said yes. And we did it. And I think it’s a – a good step. But, you know, it depends on the family because some families do not like to talk about finances.

Jim: Right.

Michele: And some of the people I’ve interviewed – and I even mentioned one gal in the book – I mean, she would drive 50 miles one way to see her parents. And she was a single mom and didn’t have any money. And she was afraid to ask for gas money until a wise friend said to her, “Listen. If you don’t ask, you’re gonna be embittered against your parents. And you’re probably gonna stop doing it, or you’re just gonna be charging it, and you’re growing in debt.” So, she made herself have the hard conversation…

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: …Which they surprised her by saying yes. You know, and it doesn’t always go that way.

Jim: Right.

Michele: But it did.

Jim: Well, in some cases, there may not be a lot there. Lisa, in the case of your mom, they were missionaries. And your dad was a pastor.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: So how did that unfold for you? Are these discussions that you and your mom had? Were you already aware of their financial situation?

Lisa: Yeah. And it was actually her financial situation that precipitated me having the conversation about moving her in ‘cause the money was running out. And so, it was – she would not have been able to sustain living in this place for much longer. And then it becomes an issue of she has to get moved to a state facility where she would get state support. And that’s another move. It’s another transition – very jarring and sometimes not the best care. So I would say, in addition to what Michele said about figuring out – yeah – the parents’ or the loved ones’ finances, and getting – you know, get that power of attorney set up. Get that medical proxy set up so you know that you can step in, make decisions as you need to. And then there are additional resources that I found out about that I would encourage everyone to start looking into. First is, generally in any city or county that you’re part of, there’s gonna be some kind of an office that is – sometimes it’s referred to as the center on aging. Sometimes it’s elder care support. It is a great one-stop shop to get information on benefits that are available to local citizens from whether it’s the state or the county. Um, that sometimes includes respite time, respite vouchers. Sometimes it includes other even – even food and medical benefits. It can include different, other aspects of care. Sometimes it involves Meals on Wheels or people that will come in and clean. Those are all things that everyone should look into as being, uh, resources that are available. I would also say, a lot of times, like in my dad’s case, I found out that mom actually could receive a veteran’s benefit because dad was in World War II. And those are benefits that you have to go after. And there is, let’s be honest, a significant amount of paperwork. So, steel yourself for that. But the benefits can be pretty significant…

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: …If they served in a certain sector – whatever – whether it’s military or else wise. So, find out all about that.And then finally –and this is just a word to the church as well to have conversations around this – my church really blew me away, because they put me in contact with my deacon, who I knew. And so, my church has a very specific structure of deacons and elders. And the deacons came around me and said, “What do you need from us? What can we do, as far as practical help, practical support…”

Jim: Wow.

Lisa: “…To stand by you as a church and get you” – and there were – you know, it turns out that one of the deacons was a financial planner. So, he helped us look through some of the bills and some of the ways of structuring things. Another one worked for the county government. She knew the numbers to call to ask these certain questions about benefits and stuff. So, they jumped in and took on some roles that really became supportive and helpful, even to the point of, near the end of mom’s life, saying, “We’re going to give you a certain amount of money each month, so that you can, um, pay for some additional caregiving.”

Jim: Wow.

Lisa: And so the church just took that on as part of their…

Jim: That’s great.

Lisa: …You know, their ministry of support. And, um, it was huge. And, um, I did have to have the conversation finally – getting back to family – when, for the last month and a half of mom’s life, I had to move her into a hospice environment in a memory-care place, because she’d lost her mobility. And I had to have the conversation with all my siblings about, “This is a huge cost, monthly. We’re going to have to divvy it up, you guys.” And we had to sit down and have the hard conversation of this – we – literally, you are just going to have to, like (laughter) – you know, however you have to make this work, you have to make it work. And it was a very hard conversation. And it was a sacrifice for everyone. But, we had the conversation and got it done.

Jim: Boy, that is really practical – all of that. Let me end with this question. And we’re running out of time. When you look back on all that you’ve experienced, spiritually, what have you gained?

Michele: So much – I mean, so much. And Lisa said it earlier, where God was having her in situations that she not necessarily would want to be in, learning things she didn’t necessarily want to learn – that’s me. I mean, I’m really independent. And so watching two people you care about literally just become more dependent was a lot of weight on my, uh, mind and my heart because I thought, “That’s you someday, you know?” You know, and I have to deal with it. And I have to face it. And it was a little scary. And, you know, I think a lot of times people don’t want to think about the elderly because they see themselves there in 20 years.

Jim: Right.

Michele: So, we’re like – we’re scared. I mean, it’s hard. And I remember a quote many years ago, uh, where, you know, it talks about Jesus giving us everything we need in every season of life. But, as we get older and older, he’s going to be all we need when everything else is gone…

Jim: That’s it.

Michele: …When we have nothing left. But he’ll be enough.

Jim: Yeah.

Michele: And when he’s everything we need, it’s enough.

Jim: Yeah. It’s good.

Michele: So, I always think about that. He’s enough. You’re my enough, Lord. And again, watching my father-in-law those last months, I’ll never forget what God can do in somebody’s life when they turn to him, when they’re in, you know, a state of suffering and, you know, dying.

Jim: When their back’s up against the wall.

Michele: When their back is up against the wall – yeah.

Jim: That’s exactly right – Lisa?

Lisa: Yeah. I mean, just straight up, it taught me how to trust God. I mean, I – as if I didn’t have enough…

Jim: That’s profound.

Lisa: …Fears in my own life, the fear of dying and fear of end of life – like, you know, again, it used to be, generations ago, people died relatively early because something took you out (laughter). And now it’s like people are living longer. And the feelings, especially being single, around dying alone, not having someone there to care for me, not having – you know, feeling abandoned, or whatever, it just was such a reminder to me of God is there. God will be there. I have a future that – you know, this is not my home. This is not my final destination. And, you know, I even had regrets. I mean, mom’s last night – I had been with her the last couple of days. I knew she was dying. And I went home to sleep, because I was like, if she lives through the night, I need to come back tomorrow. Well, I got the call early morning that she had passed away. And I had so many regrets initially of, I should have sat with her through the night. I should…

Jim: No.

Lisa: …Have held her hand. I should have sung to her. I should have – and one of my dear friends said to me, “Lisa, the one person who was with her who needed to be with her was God himself. And he was there. And if you needed to be there, he would have made sure that you were there.” And that was just so helpful to me, to let go and to be like, not only is that mom’s story, and she’s with Jesus now, and she’s exactly where she needs to be, but that’ll be my story someday, too. And God’s gonna give me exactly what I need. It’ll probably come in the form of human help and human care and love, because God loves to do that. But ultimately, my hope is in God alone.

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: You know, that’s what – He’s going to take me home. He’s my comforter, my provider, my advocate. And so, I can just rest in Him.

Closing:

Jim: Man, beautifully said – both of you. Thank you for your experiences and the way you’ve articulated them for all of us. If we haven’t gone through it, we will. If we’re in the middle of it, we’re here for you. That’s the key. Get a hold of us. We have caring Christian counselors to help you. We have resources like Michele’s great book, Caring for Our Aging Parents. And we certainly want to make that available to you as well.

In fact, if you can support the ministry for any amount, we’ll send Michele’s book as our way of saying “thank you.”

John: You can schedule a free consultation, and ask for Michelle’s book, when you get in touch the number is 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. I should mention too that we have a free download of this broadcast at our website that’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Join us next time as we hear from Dr. Kara Powell she’ll help you to grow WITH your teen, or young adult…

Teaser:

Dr. Kara Powell: Ultimately, what’s more important than where their degree is from, or you know, their GPA, or you know, their financial stability, so to speak is, do they love Jesus?

End of Teaser

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