Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aging Parents-Oh no! A Stroke!

I often thought, what would it be like when I would begin to care for my parents. I would hear stories of parents moving in with their children, heart attacks, strokes, etc. I would always encourage and pray for others but could not relate. Now it is my turn.

My dad had a prostate surgery on May 19th that was suppose to be routine. Well he ended up being in the hospital twice as long, then after he was discharged two days later he was rushed in an ambulance back to the hospital with a confirmed stroke. Within 11 days every thing turned a round in our family. I am currently in the hospital with my dad doing what ever I can to help.

I have learned alot in these last few days.

  1. Even the strongest of men eventually will wither. My dad is the strongest man I know. I look up to him more than any male on this earth. Yet the Bible is still true when it declares in Isaiah 40 the grass withers and the flowers fade. Strangely, I see even more of his strength as I watch him begin to recover. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness..." 2 Cor 12:9
  2. When your parents start showing signs that they may need help, ignore what is familiar. For 37 years of my life I pulled from them for strength and then in 11 days it is tough to come to reality that roles are reversing.
  3. Do whatever it takes to be close when your older parents have surgery. I made a mistake and was 550 miles away when my dad went through the surgery. I talked to my dad all they way up to the day of the surgery and he was so nonchalant about it I didn't it give it the level of importance that it really was.
  4. Communicate with your parents and loved ones often. It was so shocking when one day I was talking to my dad and then the next day I was told he can't talk. I was glad that I communicated with him often and understood his desires. As we stuggle through our charade games of communication now, it makes it a little easier when you know a man's heart.
  5. In marriage practice loving each other as God's word declares (Eph 5) and keeping your vows. To watch my mother unashamedly care for my dad is a glorious picture of their marriage vows. "In sickness and in health" Starting early in marriage the right way pays off in the latter years.
  6. Be sure proper legal work (Living will, power of Attorney, etc.) are in affect in case of emergencies that may impair your parents.
  7. Know where all of your parents important papers are. Get in their business, NOW, especially if you are an executor or trustee.
  8. Earn your parents respect by honoring them through all phases of their life. That will help them to rest when they come to you in a time of need.
  9. Take God's word and hide it in your heart. The word of God is amazing. My dad has trouble expressing words he is thinking, but can recite back to me chapters of the Bible. That tells me that God's word has a special place in his mind that the stroke didn't touch. Mediatation on God's word pays off when you are in times of dire need. To hear words of praise to God come out of his mouth through this time of pain and discouragement is a model of the scripture that says,"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds" James 1:2


  1. Very Beautiful Jonathon! You have a real gift for words and communication. I'm inspired!!!

    Keith Van Gent

  2. Beautiful insights Jonathan. I moved my own mother closer to me a couple of years ago and the experience moved me to write my book, Moving Your Aging Parents. Going through that with her was the greatest gift and I learned things about my mother I'd never known. Taking the time to recognize and honor all they have contributed, honor their spirit and be in the present with them is so powerful. I was present at my mother's death a year ago and it was was the sweetest privileged. Each moment is a treasure, even those that are challenges. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Jonathan, I am so proud of you on how amazingly you stepped up and honor your father and mother in such a astonishing way. When I read this about the aging parent, my tears started to flow. My thoughts came upon on me,how Aunt Dorothy was trying to prepare me for her death and I wanted to continue to hold on. I know that we serve an awesome God and through all the hurts and pain in life, the footprints were already in the sand.

  4. Awesome story Man
    Thanks for sharing


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