Monday, November 9, 2009

Desperately needed encouragement.

I feel quite lonely when I care for my son at home. He has a debilitating mental illness. He little resembles the bright witty young lad with a ready smile of days gone by. I keep him home with me ... it has been 15 years now since he first showed signs of faltering ... oh, we have tried a group home for a year and a half and I really did enjoy my freedom, but he was eating uncontrollably and gaining so much weight that health problems related to obesity were just around the corner and his blood work began to show early signs.
So home I brought him to save him from certain death or worse, a debilitating stroke or diabetes. He has lost 20 pounds and I have gained 20 pounds.

Guess it all has to balance out somehow. LOL

He needs one on one care ... which is pretty hard to find but I think we have found a place that may help us. We are waiting to find out whether they will accept him.
L'Arche community homes, L'Arche being the French word for the ark, as in Noah's ark, begun by Jean Vanier many years ago.

It is hugely challenging to have him at home and I know there are people who question my sanity for having him home. He is happy here but it is hard on me. It will have to be this way as I won't compromise my search for the very best place for him.

This excerpt from Jean Vanier's book, 'Community and Growth' has lifted my spirits some today.

He writes:

"I marvel sometimes when I visit families with a son or daughter who has a severe handicap. The parents are living each day, and sometimes the whole day, with little help or times of rest.
They are not admired or honoured for what they are doing; sometimes they are even criticised for not having aborted their child or put him or her into an institution, outside the general run of society.
We in L'Arche have days off; we get help and encouragement from professionals and clergy. We even receive salaries. And often people see us as wonderful and generous people. And yet, isn't it those families who are living love and truth and humility and abandonment to God in a special way? Isn't it all those families in the ghettos of large cities struggling to feed their children who are radiating a truth about our humanity?
People who have chosen to live in community have much to learn from all those people throughout the world who are living love in a simple hidden way, and who are there welcoming and forgiving."



Sue said...

Oh, honey, I think it's awesome that you have been looking after your son at home, not compromising your search and doing what you feel is the right thing. Awesomeness.

Everything I have heard about L'Arche has been wonderful. A fantastic ethos. Do let us know how it goes.

Nate said...

Wendy, you know I will always be there for support. I will pray for you and yours.

I have a brother in care right now. It is hard at first, but with good care, our confidence for his well being, and continued happiness makes it possible to feel better about it all.

It sounds wonderful.

Valorosa said...

Thank you Sue an Nate
XXOO to both of you.

Delirious said...

Those who have not had to deal with mental illness can not fully understand the daily toll of living with a mentally ill person. I have two mentally ill brothers in law who have both lived with me for a time, and I know how difficult it can be. The one thing I learned, that has helped me more than any other, is that a person who is mentally ill, displays the worst side of their illness more with family than with anyone else. The reason is that they feel they can truly be themselves, they can truly be ill with those they love. They often feel a need to "pull it together" for those who are not family.

For what it is worth, my mothers in law both have attended support groups for families of mentally ill, as has a friend of mine whose sons are mentally ill. I do think there is great help in talking with others who understand.

You have a heavy load to bear. Hang in there and know others understand what you are going through!

Valorosa said...

Thank you Delirious ... it is great to know others understand and care.