The last few years have been very hard for my family with lots of deaths and sadness. Let me explain why my blog and work has taken a back seat for so long. From having a very large, extensive family, it is now down to less than a handful. The last year has been especially hard. Just months after losing our eldest sister, Nina, our father suddenly displayed strange behaviour that became very disturbing.
I’d suspected for a while that he was maybe showing signs of dementia, albeit mildly. No one believed me sadly, despite me knowing the signs due to my husband having vascular dementia that worsens, improves, then worsens again. My husband’s behaviour changes from time to time, which means not all people recognise how bad he can be, as these are the times no one sees him and he’s at home unable to be left.
No one wanted to accept about my father due to my eldest sister suffering and struggling so badly with her cancer. It was three very long years of no eating (only liquid food) and inability to lie down or go to bed, which was the worst suffering I’ve ever seen in anyone ever. Her arms and legs were covered in one gigantic scab that bled without even being touched. No skin was visible anywhere.
Is it any wonder then no one wanted to think there was another problem with anyone else at the same time? We’d already lost so many family members and now another was about to be lost. My middle sister had not long before this lost her husband only six months after he retired to be followed a couple of years later by their eldest daughter at only forty.
A cousin died suddenly with no warning and aunts and uncles all died close together – in all fourteen people in a few short years – and here we were losing yet another family member in the most horrendous of ways.
When her time came to leave us, it was a blessed release for her after such agonising struggles, but it happened quickly and unexpectedly when the end did come. My mother was heartbroken to lose her eldest and most beloved daughter. Having had a stroke through grief after losing her own mother years before, we were very concerned how this loss would affect her, especially now she was so much older.
At only fifty eight, mum had suffered a very serious stroke that left her unable to talk or use one side of her body. Years of patience, hard work and determination sees her today at ninety six stronger and fitter than many young people. Now, here she was losing another child. She’d already lost one daughter while in her forties. My baby sister died half an hour after birth due to spina bifida.
Now, only months after losing my eldest sister Nina, my father was displaying signs of dementia that would need attention and tests to confirm suspicions. Before that could be done, he suddenly started having horrendous outbursts that saw him yelling, ranting and accusing my mother of dreadful things. Unable to calm him, he ended up having to be placed in critical care. Thankfully, he is now much more at peace, but still gets triggered if he goes near his own home.
Only one month after this happened with my father, my other sister collapsed fifteen minutes after returning home from the airport after a week’s holiday. It was an emergency blue light ambulance trip to the hospital. She was paralysed to a degree and in severe pain. The next couple of weeks saw her in a wheelchair and undergoing extensive tests with various possible causes mentioned.
In those weeks, we nearly lost her a couple of times. Scans showed it was cancer that had spread to the spine. Not only was she told she had cancer, but that it was terminal with only months to live. From being in a wheelchair with no real hope, radiation treatment saw her recover miraculously and have an incredible good six months where she arranged her own funeral, saw to everything that needed seeing to financially, with her home, having her will drawn up, having her dog re-homed with dear friends of the family he used to holiday with and basically, just making sure her surviving daughter and grandchildren were looked after and provided for.
During the last year while all this was happening, my own husband kept collapsing and being taken into hospital. I didn’t know which way to turn first with everyone around me needing attention and help. As I’m very disabled when it comes to walking and in a lot of pain, this has been a very hard time physically for me to try to cope with. Every time I do walk a little more than able, I end up in severe pain on relaxing or sleeping with spasms and cramps that can last hours. How can I complain though when everyone else’s suffering is so much greater than mine? Mine won’t kill me, no matter how hard it is or painful.
Then suddenly, after months of behaving and living almost as normal, my sister took a turn for the worse. One we thought would be sorted quite quickly just as before. Instead, she died on 9th March this year with no warning, no goodbyes and leaving us all numb with shock and grief. Just as her daughter had done, she died around our birthdays which all mainly fall in early March.
I still cannot really believe both my beloved sisters have gone and that my dad is in a care home with mum now due to have a cancerous op later this month that will require a skin graft. So much all at once. The last couple of years has been very hard and being very self absorbed for a moment, has seen me totally exhausted mentally and physically with no time for anything other than my dear family.
It’s been a time that’s also left me questioning God, all I teach about Him, what life, death and faith is all about and whether I even believed or wanted to have God in my life anymore. What was all this sadness clumped together with no breathing space about? Why were so many prayers seemingly unanswered? Why are my sister’s child and grandchildren left with no mother, father or grandparents? Why are my parents ending their lives in such a sad way seeing them separated and watching their children die before them?
My next post will talk of how it’s all affected my faith, hope or trust in God and how my own life has changed in so many ways due to what’s happened to my family. It is these sorts of things happening to people in their lives that leave so many of us questioning about why God doesn’t help despite heartfelt pleas and continued prayer. It is often at such times we see so many walking away from God – my own nieces and nephew among them.
For now, I hope this post explains my very long absence, my lack of work and why it will be a little while yet before things can continue as before with all that’s still going on. In the meantime, thank you to those of you who have continued to follow and support my blog and help spread the word.
May God bless all of you and your families, Lorraine xxx