Our family appreciated having a quiet day yesterday filled with various individual activity as well as time together. We even made time for a viewing of Cars… which never gets old. Vivid images of July 25, 2017 flooded my mind all day but images of happier times also flooded my mind and helped temper the pain a bit. A big thanks to all who sent cards and messages via text and email… every one a reminder that we are surrounded by friendship and love. We love you right back.
Having experienced the front lines of two major health crises, I’ve grown in my understanding of and appreciation for our health insurance. We are blessed and I’m grateful but navigating the complicated health care system in general is never free of frustration or big gaps in coverage & care. As Rudy’s primary caregiver and now as a patient, I’ve shed my fair share of tears over denials and bureaucratic dead ends that just don’t make any sense and end up feeling like salt in an already wicked wound. The big gap we’re facing right now is in home health care. I don’t qualify for short term rehabilitative care, nor long term hospice care (yet) and government assistance through the social security administration based on my diagnosis is out of my reach because of my lack of work history. I don’t share this to whine or engage in a political debate about health care reform but simply to illustrate that no matter how hard we try to protect and take care of ourselves, there will always be gaps in the system…which is why “it takes a village” and why I’m so grateful for mine.
For the past year and a half, these lovely ladies have been on a regular daily rotation doing my house chores & errands and in recent weeks, have helped fill the gaps in my personal care! It is humiliating and sometimes uncomfortable but how grateful I am for the tender, hands on care of these friends willing to learn how to fill a feeding tube, wipe my dirty derrière or give my fatigued muscles endless massages with no promise of a payback!!! I am humbled.
What blesses me further is that these women represent a fraction of all the friends who have offered to help…and those who come alongside us in a variety of other ways too numerous to list. So, dear village, in case I don’t say it enough, thank you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus for me and encouraging a fragile heart in the process.
My favorite gap fillers of all!…
The more dependent I become, the more grateful I am for my peeps. But there is a flip side and the more dependent I become, the more I fear being remembered as “ALS Trish”. Rolf eloquently addressed my fear in his latest poem:
“I hear you singing
The melody dances
Spinning in the air above me
I hear you laughing
From deep within
With head thrown back
Wind and sun in your hair
I see your eyes
Focused and inviting
Drawing so many close
Into safety, warmth and friendship
I see your hands
Nimble and skilled
Patting a happy head
Gently soothing a troubled little body
I hear your voice
Welcoming and connecting.
Committed to see what’s really you
Not the distortion before my eyes
The preciousness of each second
Makes the robbery of so many days
more gutting a crime
To think that love could ask this much
Yet leave me here with empty arms
Though tears may fill my eyes
They won’t be what floods my memories
The dedication of the remodeled rescue mission on June 20th was so rich. The generosity of so many resulted in an overwhelming honor for which our family is deeply grateful.
The boys got home late last Friday night and have already enjoyed a week of pre-Christmas fun. Poor Olivia had to endure one last week of school but is officially on her Christmas break as of this afternoon and is ready to party. We are planning on having a quiet Christmas here at home and looking forward to a Geyling Family reunion in the days following Christmas.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas, dear ones. I know I’m not the only one trying to find balance this season…longing to feel the suffocating burden of grief and pain lifted for even just a moment…looking for fresh revelations of God’s love. My prayer is for us all to be engulfed by tangible expressions of God’s love, overwhelmed by His light in whatever darkness we may find ourselves this Christmas and to have lots of reasons to laugh. Bless you friends!
I’ve never been much of a dreamer…at night at least. If I do dream while I sleep, I rarely wake up with memory of it. As a result, the vivid dreams I’ve had the past couple of weeks are surprising to me. I’ve dreamt about Rudy and just the other night I dreamt of me singing…standing up and playing the guitar. I seem to be dreaming about the things I’ve lost so although the dreams themselves are pleasant, a heavy heart settles in when I wake up and realize it was only a dream. It leads me to question, why is my subconscious choosing to create nighttime movie reels NOW – after all these years?!!! It’s like my mind is on hyper-drive and doesn’t take a break even when I sleep.
I wonder if my mind is missing my creative outlets as much as my heart. 😉 This time of year is typically filled with a ton of creative expression for me through music and jewelry making. I miss time spent in my little shop making my jewelry designs in preparation for my holiday trunk shows and open house. And although I’m still helping to lead worship at my church, what I’m able to offer vocally is becoming severely limited and my arms are feeling the fatigue of playing guitar so the joy of music making is beginning to wane a bit. That’s a tough realization this time of year too as my heart longs to sing “Mary Did You Know” with my friend Darlene as was tradition for many years or break out my guitar for impromptu carol sings.
The good news is creativity doesn’t die. As the doors to certain creative expressions close, it seems I’m led to alternatives. A friend of mine introduced me to the practice of praying with prayer beads last year when I shared that I was having a hard time focusing long enough to pray. I was intrigued by it and did a little research on the history of Anglican/Protestant prayer beads (a cross between the Orthodox Prayer Rope and the Catholic Rosary) that led me through a fun journey of discovery. I read a number of different suggested prayer guides and tried a few on for size and ultimately came up with an adapted compilation of my own. It has been a sweet creative exercise AND benefit to my prayer life. Win/Win!
Here’s a link to a .pdf of my prayer bead compilation if you’re interested! You don’t need prayer beads to pray it with me!…
There is real value in adopting new practices when the old become stale or, in my case, die off. It’s a helpful reminder to me that life is still being lived and my heart is still being inspired to express itself no matter how “stuck” I feel. God is, truly, ever present!
‘So, so grateful Darlene and I recorded our rendition of “Mary Did You Know” several years ago with the help of our friends Jake and Jeremy (I don’t even care anymore that I’m a little pitchy). I’m sharing it again here in honor of our tradition. 🙂
Today is October 1, 2018. Today would have been Rudy’s 10th Birthday. Double digits!!! How proud Rudy would be!
My head hurts. Today is harder than last year…I think I was in shock last year, distracted by so many other things going on and numb on some levels. Today I’m feeling grief that is deep and specific to Rudy alone. His presence is profoundly missed as Rolf captured in his reflection for today…
On Rudy’s 10th Birthday:
The collection of broken remotes hasn’t grown since you left,
Yet I’m acutely aware of how many potential additions now lie readily within your grasp—
Down low on the couch,
Right there on the end table.
My full coffee cup sits in the danger zone,
Precariously next to me on the couch cushion,
My free hand always at the ready should you pounce.
But there’s little chance of that.
You would be too tempted by how easily the DVD cabinets could be opened and emptied,
We only recently realized there’s no need to keep the doors tied shut.
Or the lure of the open front door might prove irresistible
Provided you still remember that too much giddiness leads to detection.
If you could suppress the urge to squeal or call out “See ya!”
Who knows what adventure might await?
How I long for a few moments of panic,
Outing my parenting gaffe to the neighbors as I call out in search of you.
I’d happily make sense of all the books dumped out in front of the bookcase,
Trying to figure out where to tape in all the torn-out pages.
Lots of time for that since there’s no Hot Wheels clogging the tub drain.
I miss your happy chaos.
Rolf, Olivia, Oma and I will celebrate our boy later today with a trip to Kyle’s Kitchen and a special dessert (hopefully Oma’s chocolate roll cake!!!). I wish the big boys could join us but we’re all close in thought, for sure.
Looking at all the pictures on this day ten years ago, I’m reminded of how uncertain everything was…there was real concern that Rudy wouldn’t survive his birth or his first surgery or his harrowing recovery…there were so, so many wrenching twists and turns in the very beginning. Honestly, it’s hard to look back in retrospect, to see it all in it’s entirety and comprehend how it was even survivable for any of us. We may not be celebrating 10 years with our boy today but we do stop and celebrate the 8 1/2 years that were his life…a life that was rich and impactful and truly happy despite all of the challenges. Happy Day of your Birth Rudy! ‘Forever grateful for you…forever in love with you…forever changed by you.
The MOHD Squad enjoyed time away this past weekend that was significant on many levels. First of all, it involved the annual Geyling trek to the Farm to watch Stanford football with our good friends Ruben and Marit (a tradition that started out as a special treat for Max and Rolf many years ago and eventually got passed down to Olivia).
This year’s Bay Area road trip also happened to fall on Olivia’s birthday weekend which added to the fun, for sure. Rolf and Olivia share a love for Stanford Women’s Soccer and Volleyball and it just so happened both teams played at home back to back on Friday so as an added birthday bonus Rolf, Ruben, our goddaughter Maya and her husband Rob, Olivia and a surprise visit from Olivia’s good friend Tara made it an epic start to a full weekend of festive fun!!
Speaking of the boys, they weren’t far from our thoughts all weekend and made for a good laugh from afar with their Insta-bday wishes to Olivia like this one from Wilson. Love those boys! They crack us up!!
Weekends away are requiring more and more effort but they sure do nourish the soul. Time away is fun, it’s distracting, it’s good to switch things up and look at life from different vantage points from time to time. Physically it was challenging for me which is discouraging but the benefits of being with good friends and doing fun things far outweigh the challenges. We have another big trip to look forward to this month for my niece’s wedding so I need to rest up! 🙂
I have the privilege of meeting with a friend once a month who is walking me through some spiritual direction and as we talked last week, we landed on the subject of my growing physical limitations and how they’re feeding my feeling of quietly slipping away as I wrote about in this previous post. This led to a longer discussion about what is happening for me spiritually and Diana summed it up like this…she affirmed my feelings by agreeing that I am in a process of disappearing but added that I’m also in a process of becoming my true self, the me that God sees. I appreciated this insight and found myself pondering it all weekend. I shared about it over lunch on Saturday and Maya likened it to the process of reduction in cooking…the process of boiling or simmering ingredients down to the rich, flavorful essentials. I really like that image too.
It’s hard to truly grasp that what I’m “losing” isn’t essential to who I am but the reality is, it really isn’t. Who I am at my core, the me that God sees is far more fine-tuned than the me I see. Does this insight make navigating the 15 foot radius of my world any easier? No, not physically, but there is the hope that I am in a process of being fine-tuned, learning what is truly essential and, in that process, catching glimpses of a richer, more flavorful me. 😉
Today is 9/11. A somber day for so many. Remembering those who were lost and those whose lives were forever changed by the losses.
It honestly feels like Max and I just picked up Olivia from her last day of 10th grade and here we were dropping her off for her first day of 11th grade this morning! Of course, the boys made sure her send off was done out LOUD with great fanfare as Max captured on his IG story…
If the boys hadn’t been there to make me laugh so hard, I would have been sobbing as we watched our girl walk away toward another school year…I have fears specific to today that are too somber, too personal to articulate but as burdensome as they may be right now, I have great confidence that Olivia is going to ROCK this school year with her trademark humor, grace and (day to day relevant) faith. I’m so grateful for her, her big brothers, her band of close friends and the folks in her life committed to praying for her. I envision her buoyed high above the turbulent waters that swirl beneath her…dry, safe, secure and joyful (with a deep, nourishing joy)! May it be so, Lord, consistently all year long!!!
Although Wilson moved back to APU a week and a half ago, he has been back and forth a couple of times in the last week to tie up loose ends and just left “for good”…it is hard to believe he is beginning his senior year! The reality of that is starting to sink in for him…he’s excited and we’re excited for him. Like with high school, we don’t want him to put the cart before the horse and check out prematurely…there is a lot to embrace this last year of college and we want him to soak it all in but Wilson has set a post-college course for himself that is thoughtful and deliberate…he has a lot about which to be excited and it’s fun to watch him live it out.
Speaking of new-to-us vehicles, our family has acquired THREE this summer!!! #1 Wilson pictured above with his very own Toyota Tacoma (a baby version of his dad’s Tacoma)…
#2 Max and his very own scooter!!! Perfect for commuting on The Point…
(Following in his mother’s footsteps)
#3 My Harley…
No, actually, #3 is another medical van! Yep, we are there again.
I’ll share the van acquisition story with you sometime when I have more emotional energy because it’s a real special story but, for now, we are grateful to have a van that will accommodate my wheelchair and we’re trying to find our footing in the shuffling of mindsets and the juggling of vehicles (my felt physical needs are kind of stuck between what the Mazda offers me and what the medical van offers me so each outing will require an assessment and a choice). I think I had an unrealistic expectation that the medical van would be an easy adjustment and an effortless move toward greater independence for me…I rode in it for the first time yesterday and was, once again, hit by reality…there’s a learning curve to getting in and out of it with a motorized wheelchair, I can’t latch in by myself and I was caught off guard by a flood of memories that came rushing back as Rolf got me settled knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. How is it that we’re back here again so soon?!?
I’ve had several friends recently make a point of telling me they are praying for Rolf and I do appreciate specific prayers for him. I’m grateful God gave me him. He is doing a good job of balancing self-care, work and home but the demands on his time and mental energy are great. He has been chipping away at a long list of difficult “to dos” (i.e. updating our will/trust paperwork with a lawyer, bathroom modification remodel, acquiring durable medical equipment, fixing broken water heaters, etc, etc, etc) and it feels, to me, like things just pertaining to me can easily be added to that list on a daily basis. I asked him if he was feeling overwhelmed and he put it well…he said, “It’s a relief to get things marked off the list but none of it brings any joy” (except for maybe getting the water heater fixed – warm showers bring me joy). So true! For me, the accomplishments serve to declutter the mind but not lighten the emotional burden. It’s still crushing and, at times, suffocating.
So, there’s lots going on around here and I have some work ahead of me adjusting to and becoming proficient in the equipment I’ve acquired this summer. Updates to come…:) In the meantime, may remnants of summer fun linger a while longer for us all! Back-to-School Blessings everyone!!!