Nostalgic Memories (Part I of II)

About this time, roughly two years ago, I officially became my dad’s full time care taker while he spent the remainder of his earthly life on hospice. Although this took place two years ago, I can remember so vividly; like it was just yesterday.  The human mind is such a highly complex system and I just marvel about how fascinating it truly is.  I am in awe with all of the amazing things that it can do, especially with memory and sensory experiences that can induce nostalgia, but I’ll dive more into that later on in this blog..

I have decided to give the subscribers to my blog a little treat. I am going to share an excerpt from my book, “Blue Collar Believer” that CANNOT be read anywhere else, unless of course you have purchased the book.

If you have not yet purchased a hard copy, it was actually brought to my attention that it was found at a substantially low discounted price on:

Cokesbury – Resources for the Christian Journey

The standard retail price for a hard copy of Blue Collar Believer is $22.95 before shipping.

Cokesbury – Resources for the Christian Journey, has it listed for $16.79, so the price has been drastically reduced.

It does not affect authors in anyway when a store reduces the price of their book. We make our financial gain regardless, which really isn’t that much, after taxes and fees are taken out for each copy sold at distributers.

You can find it here, if you or someone you know is interested:

https://www.cokesbury.com/product/9781512753998/bluecollar-believer/

They do not have the E-Book format available, but you can find it on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, West Bow Press, and other fine book distributors for roughly $5.99.

The reason I have decided to include a specific excerpt from my book in this particular blog, is because two years ago July 27th – September 11th was a very special bonding time period for me with my dad.  As my father, it was his responsibility to me, as his son, to care for, nurture, and groom me from a boy into a man when I was growing up, and basically show me how to live.

That specific timeline about 2 years ago, I had come to find that it was now my turn to return the favor “so to speak” to become responsible as a son, to his father, to care for, nurture, and groom him from being scared to die, to embracing death with open arms.

It was my duty to prepare in his heart a type of peace that surpasses all understanding with a hope and faith that he had never experienced before in his life. He essentially taught me how to live, and I was used by the glory of God to teach him how to die.

We connected in some incredible ways that summer which nobody would quite understand, except for my sister Susanne and my dad’s hospice aid Jamie. Although my dad had an extremely loving support system from those who loved him the most, especially my dear wife and my younger sister who had made some wonderful selfless sacrifices to spend time with him, these two individuals, my sister Susanne and my dad’s hospice aid Jamie, I would like to briefly discuss, because their efforts go well with the excerpt I will share shortly.

My sister Susanne and her husband live in Georgia. She is a school teacher, and she had the summer off.  She decided that she would relocate to Pennsylvania for the summer, move in with our dad, and become his full-time caretaker.

I do not think there are many people in the world that would do such a thing, considering how much work it was going to entail, but bless her heart, she did it for our dad. With the excerpt from the book I am going to share, it will go into more detail of her selfless character and responsibilities that she took on, all out of selfless love.

During this transition, my dad would now be assigned from the hospice agency a nurse who would come twice a week, a nurse’s aide who would come every day, a chaplain who would come when needed, and a case manager/social worker.

A couple of different nurse’s aides were sent out, but with my dad being the eccentric character that he was, he just could not get along with any of them. Like I always said, my dad was a one of a kind – you either loved him or you could not stand him, there was NO in between.

Then finally, by the grace of God, it was like an angel was finally sent from Heaven! A nurse’s aide by the name of Jamie was sent to our home. Jamie and my dad immediately hit it off. I just thank God that she was sent, because she changed my dad for the better with her sacrificial love on a daily basis.

I would just like to say briefly that she really touched his life in a tremendous way. I loved and actually looked forward to her coming over daily.  Jamie and my dad had an immediate connection and we were just so thankful for her.  I loved watching them together.  The field that she is in, I just know for a fact that God placed her there because she has a special gift.  She was not just doing her job, but she truly became a part of our family and we love her very much.

I do not see Jamie as much as I would like to anymore, but she knows as well as I know that she shares a very special place in my heart. If she ever needs me, she knows that I would be there for her, and I know the same about her, if I ever need her shoulder to cry on. She is always in my thoughts and prayers.

With that being said, I would now like to share with you a treat from Blue Collar Believer. Below is an excerpt taken from pages 268 – 270

Blue-Collar Believer

Chapter 14 entitled:

Hospice (pages 266 – 275)

“…..My sister could not stay the whole summer because she had to return to work, so we had to figure out other arrangements. I decided that I was going to take a leave of absence from work. It is what is known as an FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave. I could take time off from work for a period of time and my job would be safe. Though I would not get my full paycheck, I would get something. So after a long month of my sister taking care of my dad, which I am sure she could write an entire book about, the reigns were then handed to me. She trained me in everything I needed to know about being his primary caretaker. On July 25 my sister went back to Georgia. I could not have been more appreciative of her for making such a sacrifice in her life and for her help in taking such good care of our dad.

 It was not an easy job taking care of my dad. He was very demanding at times, and I had to answer every beck and call that he had. I joked with him that all he lacked was a bell or a bullhorn to get me when I was needed. I had to get used to his schedule now. There was no more waking up at 4:00 a.m. to read. They were some long days, and we bonded in ways no one except maybe my older sister could ever imagine, but it was awesome.

 I hesitantly took him to the casino when he wanted, went to 7-Eleven to pick up his scratch-off lottery tickets, which was quite a process for him to do. I have never seen anyone take so much time scratching off a ticket! It would take him sometimes a half hour with his precise method.

 I really enjoyed the company of his hospice aide, and I could really see how she and my dad hit it off because she was just so loving, caring, and had a great sense of humor. You have to be a special person to be able to put up with my dad.

 He talked about wanting to go to a bay to watch ships come in at sea. I told him that the closest place we could do that was in Philadelphia, but he said he didn’t want to go.

 We had some really good conversations, bonding moments, and special times during this time together. It was actually nice to talk with him about the faith, because he was in the faith, so it was quite a transition.

 He had some moments where he would get deeply depressed. And although some of the time it was because he still had a fear of dying, other times were because he really felt guilty about the past sins he had committed in his life.

 It was truly a blessing to see my role with him change as I went from a basic Christian, to an apologist, to an evangelist, and now to a pastoral caretaker. The main thing that I told him was that there was no need to feel guilty anymore, he had been forgiven, and now he had the righteousness of Christ. I knew that it was a hard concept to grasp, but it was true, and it was all because of God’s love, mercy, and grace. God did not see him for who he was, God saw him for who he is in Jesus. The most important thing he needed to remember was that the Bible says in Romans 8:1:

 “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

 God has declared us not guilty because we put our faith in Jesus. We are free, so there was no need to feel this way anymore. His sins have been wiped out.

 He began to ask honest questions, and it was awesome to see him search, seek, and finally realize how powerful the Christian faith really was…..”

 As I stated earlier, the human mind is such a highly complex system and I just marvel about how fascinating it truly is. I am in awe with all of the amazing things that it can do, especially with memory and sensory experiences that can induce nostalgia.

Whether you hear, smell, taste, touch, or even see something you have not experienced in a while, your sensory experience might trigger a memory that will put you back to a place in your past. This is normal, and to some people, the trigger might put them back to a certain moment that will put a smile on their face or maybe to a time that they would like to forget.

I will dive more into this topic on my next blog. Until next time, stay blessed!

To be continued…………

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