Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

For the past several months I have watched as my friends and I have had to deal with numerous stressful situations and observed numerous coping mechanisms we all seem to develop in order to deal with life. I wanted to know just exactly what the term coping mechanism meant so I went to a medical dictionary site and did a little research and found that a coping mechanism is any conscious or unconscious mechanism of adjusting to environmental stress without altering personal goals or purposes. Ahhh that is what I thought. So in the past few months, with the illness of my father and the deterioration of my mother's mental faculties I have developed a series of coping mechanisms. I laugh sometimes when my mom does something because if I don't I will cry. I look at my father and see the man he used to be...not the shell of a man he is now. I excuse things...lots of them. I was talking with my dear friend Rhonda one day recently and she was sharing her coping mechanism for dealing with the sudden death of her mom. She has a special place...it is not a physical one...it is a mental one. When she is hurting and can't seem to get a grasp on life...she pulls into her special place and there....everything is as it was before her mom died. We talked on and I began to wonder...which would be the worse thing to cope with...losing my dad quickly...with no warning....or watching him wither before my eyes. As you all know I am a daddy's girl. I love that man with all my heart...and it hurts me so to see him suffer every single day. I cry at night when I see how painful it is for him to move and just exist. I dig deep inside of me...to my own special place....just so I can find rest at night and grab any coping mechanism that works for me...I usually go back in time...back to a time when he was vibrant. In my head I watch the old 8mm movies we have of the man who looked like Tennessee Ernie Ford...and after a while I sleep. I work with six people who are dealing with situations very similar to mine. It is hell being a baby boomer with aging parents. Trina is dealing with a mother-in-law with altzheimers who lives away. She and John struggle with this all the time. Trina is dealing with this like Frank deals with my parents...and it is NOT an easy place to be in. Mary's mom has had a series of accidents and she lives 8 hours away. Mary's brother lives locally...but the two daughters live away. She beats herself up a lot because she can't do more. Her sweet husband Bill went and spent a week with her mom after the last fall so that brother Troy could attend his son's wedding. Beth and Jan are struggling with a declining parent and it is tough on them both. Mary Jean is dealing with her father...and Tammy was dealing with her dad...but he passed away right before school started back. There are probably more at the school but...this small core group has become a great support group. The local group for Altzheimers sufferers...meets each week at RMC during lunch time. I teach...that is not going to happen....so when I feel frustrated....or just need to cry/vent...I can find one of the core group and they understand. I have wonderful friends who love me...and my folks...but they don't understand what is happening to me. If you have not walked in my moccassins...then you really don't know where I am....what I am feeling....or what is happening. I wondered oftentimes if quick loss is not easier to cope with...but what is easier? Will it be easier once my father passes on...and I am left dealing with my mom?...or is it easier to deal with what I have now? Sigh...so from time to time...I visit the coping mechanism store and find a new one to get me through....and in the meantime I cling to Phillipians 4:13.."I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me." I am glad I don't have to do this alone. Have a great weekend.

6 comments:

Queenie Jeannie said...

Hugs to you honey! NO ONE gets a free ride and we all have to figure out what works for us.

Taryn said...

Wow. What an amazing post. I am sorry that you and so many of your friends are having to go through these difficulties right now. But, you have the right attitude, and I love your faith through all of this.

Hang in there! I am keeping you and your friends in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Love,
Taryn

Jane In The Jungle said...

First Happy SITS Sharefest!
It is wonderful you have faith and friends in similar situations to help on the dark days. I'm in a totally different situation. My mother disowned my 6 yrs ago and died the year later and my father still has nothing to do with me or my kids, I have 4 ages 15-3. I have 1 brother and 1 nephew and if you had asked me, I would have said I was a Daddy's girl growing up. We saw him at my nephews wedding on Aug 1. We made a point to speak to him, he still never acknowledged my kids except he shook my 3 yr old daughters hand, he had never seen her before. He told my boys bye when we left and that was it. My 7 yr old asked where his grandfather was when we left, he never realized that was who it was even though I introduced him as that. I have tried over the years to keep communication open, cards, emails of kids info, but nothing from him. So for me, my parents died 6 yrs ago with a phone call, sudden.

Dreamgirl said...

I'm sorry about the things you are going through... I know how hard it is and we all find our way to deal with it.

Just dropping by from SITS to wish you Happy Saturday Sharefest!

Ms. Marty said...

Karen,
My heart hurts for you. Watching a parent leave this life is not an easy task. I've done that and quick is not easy. My Dad came home from work about noon one day and died by 7:00 that night. Mother was sick for over a year and that was definitely not easy. Keep your coping mechanisms close by and God in your corner. This too shall pass.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

It's just hard hard hard - anyway you look at it -- My mother had altzheimer's and died almost 6 years ago - the five year decline was awful and then she had a sudden heart attack and was just gone. My dad is slowly becoming frail and deminished. It just breaks your heart. You, however, have an especially hard situation with them both living in your home -- Know that you're thought of often and we're here - listening.