Bitter Sweet

Basket of blessings
When was the last time you thanked God for your sanity? Probably never. We take thinking for granted.

There are people who might appreciate clarity of thought. A person recovering from a break from reality. Someone who had a cloud of depression removed.

And me. My multiple sclerosis (MS) corrodes my cognition. Numerous lesions in my brain encroach on the healthy tissues. Making it difficult for me to process information easily when I’m tired. My synapses have to take detours around the scars caused by an overactive immune system which destroys good cells. Brain drain is an uninvited visitor in my head each day. What used to be automatic is now a deliberate act. I have to concentrate on my thinking.

My premature shrinking brain causes me to value cognition. I’m grateful for each important detail that pops into my head. I’m aware of God helping me remember what’s critical for me to know. The more I need to rely on Him, the more He shows Himself faithful.

A disability has a way of making someone grateful. Weird, huh? But true.

I often think about people with disabilities in the Bible. It’s fun to imagine what their lives were like after Christ healed them. After they thanked Jesus, what was the very first thing on their to-do list?

Did the lame man squish his toes in the sand as he walked along the edge of water? Did the blind man watch a sunset, and stay up all night to see the sunrise? Did the deaf person surround himself with children just to hear their chatter and giggling?

There is great joy when normalcy is restored. A patient discharged from the hospital rejoices. So does the soldier returning home from war.

Those of us who have children with serious mental illness (MI) yearn for normalcy to be restored. There are sweet moments when that happens.

Lately, my heart has been filled with gratitude. All it took was witnessing our son and my husband enjoying time together. They went to shoot some golf balls to prepare for an upcoming golf outing. As soon as they got home, they turned on TV to watch Jeopardy together. A daily tradition nowadays.

Often they run to the store to get a few things. What a blessing to know Chris has those happy times in his life! Simple, quality time with his father.

Howie’s tender love for Chris reminds me of our heavenly Father’s caring love for us. Be blessed as you listen to the song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”

9 thoughts on “Bitter Sweet

  1. Hi Vicki,

    Yes, you and your husband are so blessed to have these special moments and times with your son . This may sound very strange and I know God works in mysterious ways in that what I am about to share with you is only something, I believe, that a mom of a child with MI would understand. I hope you do not take offense to this as I am only sharing my feelings to you as another mom of a mi child. I have often, secretly, thought it would be easier to have a child like Chris than one like mine who went off on his own and is certainly not capable of being out in the world and dealing with all that entails. The world just eats him up and spits him out!! I have wished so many times that he could be home with us, disabled to the point where he has to be. I hope I am saying this right.( I envy )
    (Iknow thats a sin) what your husband has with your son. Oh, what I would give for that kind of relationship for my husband and son.
    (I have never told this to anyone).

    I know it’s not a bed or roses, I do get that. But, from where we are, it would be my.choice , even dealing with all the issues I know you do. But it’s not my choice to have.

    I am in a lot of pain and muscle relaxants right now, so hope this makes some kind of wierd sense. I missmy boy so so much. No communication except me writing him; no clue as to his mental emotional state. I am in a moms agony!

    Yes, I understand how moments of sweet grace from God with your boy is a grateful praise in savor ing common everyday small things that most people take for granted. They just have no clue; how can they?.

    I understand the brain clarity issue too, as I have fms, cfs and many aging factors resulting in what I call brain mush. Got to have a sense of humor; or I would cry more. I do cry like you do and so does my husband, as he gets older and seems to get more emotional. We do get embarrassed but are getting to the point where other people just have to deal with it. Too bad. It’s where we are and I am increasingly getting to the point where don’t judge me; try walking in my shoes for awhile. Do I sound a bit rebellious? People have told me I am. I guess it’s a character defect. What can I say.? Hope I have not said too much.

    Sorry so long. Thank you for letting me share. I am so blessed to have found you).



    Ing with

  2. Dear patty,
    No offense taken. On the contrary. What you wrote helps me. My greatest fear is what you’re living. So, I don’t think about Chris going “off on his own” where “the world could just eat him up and spit him out!!” Your comments put my difficulties in perspective. So thank you.
    The timing of your words ministered to me today. Two days ago, I had a rare day with Chris. I enjoyed his pleasant attitude as we drove to several thrift stores looking for folding tables for an upcoming yard sale. He even joined us as we ordered dinner from a local fast food restaurant (rare for him to eat with us nowadays). Chris even called Verizon to get them to restore our internet service which was disrupted. I thanked him.
    Then, BAM…I got an email from him where he told me I shouldn’t thank him. The rest of the email was hurtful.
    It was so hard to get the hurt out of my heart and his words erased from my memory.
    So, you see, Patty, your comments helped me remember that things can be so much worse. Your comments also help me know how to pray for you.

  3. Dear Patty,
    I love your honesty. Your words, I’m sure, speak for other moms who have children with mental illness. We know people can’t begin to understand our journey and shouldn’t judge us before walking in our shoes. But, they do.
    I learned a long time ago (the hard way) not to care what others think or say. Chris’s kindergarten teacher asked to talk to me EVERY DAY after school. She felt the need to tell me every little infraction and every minor behavior problem. The looks I got from other parents spoke volumes. Amazing how one raised eyebrow can say, “Another problem? Why can’t you control your son?”
    Little did they know, I was working harder at parenting then any of them could imagine.
    I so appreciate how you explained your healthy attitude of not caring what others think about your emotions. God gave us tears and Christ cried. Moms of children with serious MI have reason to cry. Our sorrow is deep.
    I’m sure other readers will be encouraged to know you still can keep a sense of humor in the context of ‘mom’s agony.’ And that you’re still able to keep your mind on God, knowing He’ll never leave you or forsake you. If you can cling to His promises, so can we!

    Don’t you love how the Bible addresses every human suffering? Here’s a verse for when we encounter comments made by people who have no clue what we’re dealing with.
    “Do not pay attention to every word people say.” Ecclesiastes 7:21

  4. Dear Vicki,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and emotions. I have been alone a lot lately,
    more than usual, as my dear husband has been helping people in the community last week and this week with our church and concluding today, with a humongous garage sale to raise monies for our mission trips.

    I have somehow sprained my back (seems to take no more effort anymore than moving the wrong way and or just breathing!) so, once again, am left behind at home and not able to help. I am so frustrated and angry at my diseases. I am soooooooo ready to kick them t o the curb! Would you like to join me in the kicking department??

    Anyways, what I wanted to share with you without writing a book (good luck, huh) is that about 9pm last nite, with my husband almost asleep, I read him my writing to you and yours to me. I could not get thru it without breaking down and you guessed it,those tears! He joined
    me and we shared some emotions together.

    As he was leaving for the garage sale at 6am this morning(I had been awake since 5 so got up to see him off for a very long day of selling, moving and then packing up all the leftover stuff and givingand getting it all to Hospice, Salvation Army and other groups to help even more people.) As he was getting dressed, he said, oh, by the way, couldn’t tell you last night as it was a fragile moment, but the 17 year old(who looked physically about to be the size of a five year old), died this week. Well, you guessed it, I cried again!! He and another man had just built a small wheelchair ramp for the family last week. My dh had come home the first time he met the mom and had lost it telling me about her sad sad story. So, I cried and prayed for this mom I have never met but now he is out of pain (although she is about to begin her painful grief journey) but, hopefully, she can start to heal and take on the challenges of her other children and begin to rebuild her and their lives. I am praying if God wants me to help her that I will listen to His will in this. I don’t know why I am sharing this with you, Vicki. I just had it on my heart to do so.. When the Holy Spirit nudges, I always pray I will listen and obey but I fail in that department a lot.

    In closing, I appreciated your kind comments amd scripture to me and am blessed to think I have been used to encourage and be a blessing in my own small way. I so desire to be used by God in what time I have left on this earth.

    I would covet your prayers for my son, Keith, for April 29, his court date. And, of course, any other day, when you could remember him and me, in your prayers. I, alike, will lift Chris, you and dh up in the moments and times I remember to do so. I say that as I do forget so much and then feel bad, but just pray when I remember! Can you relate?? God knows my heart, right?




  5. Dear Patty,
    Sign me up for your kicking team!!! Once Chris and I were talking about how it stinks to have a medical condition and I said, “The next time a specialist tells me I have a disease, I’m going to politely say, ‘No thank you.'”
    Also, count me in as an honorary member of the pain-in-the-back club. My several bulging/herniated discs should qualify me (as I walk through the door to the club ever so gingerly!). Having said that, I’ll be threatening the current state of no pain in my back…Our street will be having a street-wide yard sale in May. That will be the perfect time to get rid of clutter. Chris carried in used folding tables I purchased at a thrift store. Thankfully, he’s offered to help the day before the yard sale too.
    I’m so sorry to learn about that 17 yr. old. When I taught children with multiple handicaps, I experienced premature deaths of some of the students. So sad. But, yes, there was some small comfort knowing they were out of pain. But, oh the grief for the parents who invested so much into their needy children…leaving such a gaping hole. THAT’S a time to cry!
    I certainly can relate to lapses in memory, thanks to my MS which trips up my cognition from time to time (I won’t own up to old age as the cause, though it could well be the culprit!). So, I wrote a reminder to pray for Keith on a neon piece of paper. That should help me pray regularly for him (and your family) leading up to that date.
    God bless.

  6. Hi back Vicki,

    I was totally unable to help with our church garage sale this last week due to my back. I have no clue what is wrong, perhaps just weak ab muscles or the herniated disk thingie. So, am praying it gets better soon as in so much pain and even more in incapacitated than usual! Just don’t want to go to doctor and start more tests again! So so tired of docs and tests on top of tests! i know you know that drill!! Not good. Have been going down the rabbit hole of how much more Lord!! And yes,feeling like crying tears of pity for poor old me today. So, have to rattle my brain to day to keep busy without moving(good luck there) as am alone again as hubby building a wheelchair ramp. Must admit am fighting the monster of depression today. Some days worse than others, some weeks, some months, some years! I know this monster way too well.

    I hope you and Chris have a good neighborhood sale in all ways!
    Let me know how all goes.

    I have not heard re anymore about the sad loss for that family, except that our pastor is going to the funeral so hopefully he can be of some comfort and help for them. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be when your students leave this earth way too soon and than seeing their family’s suffer so much as you say, having invested so very much into these extremely needy children. Way beyond the roles most people experience as parents.

    Thank you so much for your prayers for Keith and family. Neon is good idea! One has to do what one can to aid the brain and the memory issues! Whatever works!!

    So, to end,we are both honorary disease kicking pain in the back no more leave us alone members! Not good grammar but true, right?



  7. Dear Patty,
    Yes, I’m all too aware of the endless tests, test, and more tests.  Also, the dreaded self-invitations to a pity party. The battle is surely in our minds!
    Recently, I did something stupid and tweaked my back a bit (no where near as painful as you). But I had to stay busy without moving (like you’re doing). Spending time on the computer helped me stay out of trouble. Also reading and praying.
    I put the neon reminder by the clock on my night stand. When I glance at the clock, I’m reminded: Time to pray for Keith and his parents.
    I’m so sorry you’re battling the depression monster today.
    Dear Father, give Patty the same courage You gave David when he faced a giant – knowing he didn’t face it alone. Have mercy on Patty who is determined to keep her focus on You.

  8. Dear Vicki,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging helpful words and prayer. You have blessed me today in helping me take the focus off “me” and reminding me to focus on our great God we serve. I have read my devotional for the day and prayed.

    Also think I will put some prayer reminders on my bedroom clock too! Great idea!

    Now am watching a movie on Netflix.

    Hope you are having a good day!



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