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.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.