Thursday, July 20, 2006

My sister is in quite a jam. Her ex has no place to go but her house. Their daughters have no place for him, his parents aren't able, he has no siblings, no friends, the state has no long term care facility, so what to do? The doctors at Parklane say he shouldn't continue to drive and his psychotic episodes will become more frequent and more severe as he ages. It's a tough situation, one of those that reminds us of our limitations very quickly.

With Ricky and Mary Ann being in Dallas in their van, it's possible they would volunteer for a huge good Samaritan deed and help Betsy get him and his truck home. But I hate to suggest it to them. With the doctors not wanting him to drive, it would be tough to keep him from getting behind the wheel unless the hospital sedated him. And what would they do with the truck once they get it back to Mississippi? If he doesn't have his truck, he will just take Betsy's car again like he did before he retrieved the truck from his parents' home. He's very careless in his driving, she said, and is becoming a danger to himself and others, kinda like Jack before we took her car away from her. I don't want to go through that ever again. If she got it back here, she could sell it, I guess, but she doesn't own it. We got Mother to sign over the titles to her cars in some deceptive way, can't remember now how we did it. Some problems just don't have good solutions, sometimes the only choices are between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I believe Betsy will find it easier to live with her conscience in years to come if she takes him in again. But she's got enough Jack in her that she could just as easily turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to him. Before we got Daddy in the nursing home, she would lock him in the house and disappear for hours. When the home health nurse called me at work threatening to report her to the welfare office for abuse of an elder, I was shocked into action. He was hospitalized shortly after that and then admitted to the nursing home in Baldwyn. By then, he was 87 years old.

Ideally, there would be a group home where he could live with others who suffer with similar maladies. When he was at Whitfield, though, he never admitted that his problems were just as serious as those he called "crazy." I can't see him on the 2nd floor of the Manhattan with the dementia and Alzheimer's patients, he's too young and too strong for them to control.

The prayer I pray every morning is now haunting me.

O God, give me strength to live another day. Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties; let me not lose faith in other people; keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness; preserve me from minding little stings or giving them; help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity; open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things; grant me this day some new vision of thy truth; inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

My codependent self wants to rescue Betsy and Richard. My cynical self says that's what she's counting on. My compassionate self says it's the Christian thing to do. I must not be manipulated into taking responsibility that belongs to someone else. No one has asked for my help, so I must not presumptiously jump into the middle of someone else's dilemma. I must not deprive my sister and my nieces of the opportunity to overcome this challenge. I must leave hands off until they have done all they can do. I want to help, and it bothers me greatly to see others suffer and struggle, but suffering and struggling took me to a growing place, and the same will happen to them.

Strengthen us all, Lord, for the challenge at hand. Amen

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