I have been depressed and despondent in my life and it is always because of what is happening to me or a loved one or family member or in society. When you weigh this fact against the good and bad times in my life you would think that bad times equal depressed times and good times happy times but that is not always the case because of the mindset or the established set of attitudes held by someone. A mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people. A mindset can also be seen as arising out of a person’s worldview or philosophy of life.
Recently I had to put my wife of 49 years in a care home because of an advanced case of dementia. I tried to take care of her myself but could no longer meet all her needs and regrettably, I gave way to the fact that I needed professional help. For those who don’t know advanced dementia is a leading cause of death in the United States. Features include profound memory deficits, inability to recognize family, minimal verbal communication, loss of ambulatory abilities, the inability to perform activities of daily living, and urinary and fecal incontinence. Betty, my wife, has all of these symptoms.
The golden years have not been kind to our relationship with this horrible disease spoiling our future plans of retirement together. While there are still tender moments with her when she knows who I am often she does not and she gets very anxious and upset. Travis Bradberry co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 said, “Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naive.” Yes, life is not fair so where does that leave me?
I think I have experienced every negative emotion you could imagine associated with this life-changing event in my life. I was startled and surprised by how quickly dementia took away many of Betty’s mental and physical abilities. I became confused about her condition and guilty of thoughts that I was not doing enough for her. I felt anxious and fearful of what the future held for us and later anger for the unfortunate events that life had dealt out. Finally, my emotional state was characterized by feelings of disappointment, grief, hopelessness, which lead to deep sadness and a feeling of great loss.
I was in a state of depression and cut myself off from social media and family activities. I was doing a poor job of taking care of Betty even though it was my responsibility. My daughter pointed this out and I reacted in anger at first then I realized she was right in correcting me so I sought professional help in a “daycare” to give me some time to myself and counseling to help my thought processes as I worked through this depression.
The counseling helped me grieve my great loss. I learned When you are grieving, it is normal to… Have strong feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety, and have strong swings in mood. Conversely in the early stages, you can feel numb, switched off, like you are on autopilot. That was me and the counselor helped me realize none of this was my fault. Thousands of couples deal with great loss. It is life not working out as planned. “Happily ever after” only happens in fairy tales.
I really took a look inside me and questioned my world views and reason for living. My faith and beliefs were tested. God is in heaven and he honors his promises or he does not. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” This is the promise in the book of John Jesus gave to me personally as a believer and to the church about his promised return when he will make all things right and correct this broken world of war and disease.
I will see Betty in her right mind and be with her and Jesus Himself forever. So I am not hopeless but am blessed. What the corrupt world of heartache and suffering has taken from me God will give back and much more. This is our blessed hope and promise when we shall see Jesus as he is and be made again as God originally intended. As the first-century church did I long for that day and occupy in this world attempting to show others the love that was shared with me. I am able to fight the depression off because of the joy that this promise gives me.
I still have good days and bad days but I cling to this promise of restoration with my loved ones and an eternity with Jesus. It helps me put things into perspective and in my heart, I know God is in control. I want to thank people for their prayers and hope this story encourages you to keep the faith and love each other for friends are the only piece of earth you can have in the afterlife. God is Good!!