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A Day and A Life
By angelmom
9/26/2010 1:28:20 AM

There are so many thoughts going through my mind today, I decided to share them here.

I attended a funeral today of a Husband and Father. His body finally succumbed to ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He and his family suffered for two years as they first learned what he had and that he was going to die from this.

The Church halls were filled with pictures of his life and all of the passion he had. He truly had a family and social life that was filled with happiness, service, and love of God.

One of the things displayed were short writings of his thoughts as he was suffering from this disease.

As each function of his body was taken bit by bit, he finally came to a point where he could no longer speak. Before that time it was clear that someone had asked him about how he felt about what was happening. The writing was not from his hand, but the feelings were his. He expressed the following; “I hate having this disease”, “I wish I did not have to think about finances”,” I wish I did not have to leave my wife and children alone”. “ I love my family”. It was a very candid look into his raw unguarded feelings.

There were beautiful and funny things said about him and it was clear that he adored his family and was a great friend. His was a life well lived.
As I sat there taking all of this in, I could not help but think about the life my family has lived through the years. Yes, there were many adventures, service, church and Temple attendance, but I also thought about the last dozen years and all of the pain. I thought of what had happened in our family and all that I did to check out mentally.

I am guessing that it was my natural way of dealing with spiritual and emotional pain. I have a very hard time with memories. I simply have a hard time remembering much. I have a hard time even remembering getting married. Have I blocked it all? I know it was not all bad, I know that. I have personally sat in the midst of miracles, but I still can’t remember much.
So, here I sit… my family all alive….(and well?)….. We are working on it. I see my husband working on it more than he ever has. Through the years I don’t believe either of us really understood all that we were dealing with. How could we? The information was just not available.

My husband is moving ahead and sober 6 months, my son is attending meetings, but still in the throes of daily addiction. He is still so lost. I don’t understand, but I place him in the hands of my Savior daily. I often find myself doing this throughout the day, I have to. I am a wife and mother who has no ability to help my family. I would be lost without the atonement. It is truly how I get up and go on each day. The Atonement is my life!

When my friend became sick, the whole family got involved. They did all they could to find the best Doctors, therapies, advice, support groups. They sold all of his toys to pay for the mounting bills. Friends and strangers held fundraisers. People from his ward stepped in where they could, gathering around, encircling him with love and support. He had to leave his job. His wife wanted to be with him all of the time, to love and care for him. It was so hard. Life as they knew it was over. She learned how to do some of the hardest things she had ever done. In and out of the ER, sickness, feeding tube and this list goes on and on. She stopped working. Everyone knew that short of a miracle, he was going down. He would not make it in this life. This disease was taking him away and there was nothing anyone could do to save him.

Everyone just made the best of the time they had left with him as he and they were being taught the Atonement through pain. No one deserved this, it just happened. The sickness took his body, but his spirit is souring now. He is with the Lord, free of pain, free of being locked in a sick body. The family will mourn his loss in this life, but the Lord will eventually sooth their pain and over time it will fade.

In my family situation, each person can do something. There is healing available. We can recover. It will take long, hard, devoted work, but we still have a body that can get up each day and work towards complete wholeness. No one survives Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but many survive addiction and go on to help others do the same. We are so blessed to have the tools (Books, ARP, Therapy, etc….) the Doctor (Our Father in Heaven) promises us a great prognosis. All we have to do is follow his plan.

If this Dad knew that he could follow a strict plan and still be here, I believe he would have worked night and day to make it happen, to spare his family the pain of his loss. He already gave up all of his earthly possessions.
I hope I do not sound sad because the truth is that I am inspired. I am inspired by a life well lived. I am inspired to go on while I still have a body, while it still works. I am inspired to heal through the atonement of Christ. I am inspired to go on having hope in my family.

Often I feel I do not have people rushing to my side. I have felt very alone. However, I have the Lord and his perfect plan. I have Angels holding me up and cheering me on….and to me that is worth everything.

I pray for all of us every day. I hate addiction, I hate Satan. But I love all that I am learning. I wish it were not this painful, but I can go on and live my life well.

The addiction sorrounding me does not define me because I can choose, and I choose Christ!

Angel

Comments:

What a tribute and what an indictment!    
"I have often felt the same way. Although I went through the pain as a husband whose wife had the addiction, I often had to suffer alone and in silence. When a loved friend comes down with cancer or suffers a fatality, the whole Ward rallies around the family. When a family suffers from the debilitating effects of addiction, especially pron, no one knows, every one looks the other way. Today I broached the subject in Gospel Doctrine class because we were studying Isaiah and the effects of pride and turning our backs on the Lord. I mentioned that our young men are getting hooked on cyber gaming such as Halo 3 and play till the wee hours of the morning. They often have a super energy drink or two to three mountain dews before class and that when they go camping, many of them have the drink "RED BULL" in their back packs. THE MEMBERS OF THE CLASS DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THIS.
Dear Angelmom, I hope that you will become a part of the new Army of Latter-day Saints who will address this problem for what it is. The porn problem is now spreading to even Primary age children. I am so looking forward to next weeks General Conference."
posted at 20:15:40 on September 26, 2010 by migail3
Well said!    
"What a beautiful tribute to your friend. When it is an acceptable affliction (disease instead of addiction), it seems so much easier to offer comfort and compassion. It's something we can see and quantify. We can watch for the different stages as healing begins and we remember to offer comfort because we see that their loved one is missing. We remember to offer them added support during holidays and other difficult anniversaries. That is all as it should be.

The type of suffering we go through as a spouse hasn't been acknowledged until recently in my life. Like you, Angel, I have periods of time that I've forgotten. When my children speak of memories, I often have no idea what they're talking about. I don't remember the little things and some of the big things have been forgotten too.

I don't even like to go back and remember the number of bishops we've been through...it's just too discouraging. But, I do remember the ONE that asked how I was doing. I was so surprised I actually got a little teary eyed. It's so sad they don't seem to get there's more than one person suffering. I can understand now that they were uncomfortable with the subject, but there were two of us hurting. I imagine as we walked into church each Sunday with our 6 children and took up an entire bench, nobody would have guessed our 'looks perfect on Sunday family' had anything going on. It's not like it could be announced or discussed in RS meetings. On those rare Sunday's when it was the topic, it was uncomfortable to sit through the lesson and know I was one of those statistics!

Now, it's a different story completely. If addiction is the topic, they're going to hear from me. I'm in their face with the comments because being afraid of it only gives it power. Way to go Migail. Make them squirm! It's going on right in their homes and sometimes with their knowledge and they just don't get what they're doing to their children! Makes me so sad! All is not well in Zion!!!

I love the point you made that if recovery had been an option, your friend would have worked night and day to be able to heal and stay with his family. We are so blessed to have those tools for our use now. We have the opportunity to make a difference and completely change the direction we were headed. Whatever pain or trial we are asked to go through, our Savior will be there with us. This is not a dress rehearsal! We're playing for eternity! It makes you stop and think when somebody is no longer with us. It adds a little urgency to the need to heal."
posted at 16:35:13 on September 27, 2010 by SEEINGLIGHT
Suffocating Prison of Thought!!    
"Angel, Seeinglight,
The other day I was having a conversation with a friend who had just been relieved of the worries of a possible cancer diagnosis. She explained her thought process while waiting for the diagnosis as "A Suffocating Prison of Thought !" I grabbed onto that phrase and thought.....That defines ME, my mind, energies and process for the last 17 months after discovery. I too feel for my responses to this debilitating cancer in our families. I have pulled away from many who know and love me. I have pulled back from professional endeavors, and let so many social opportunities slide. We are too hard on ourselves. " Sherri Dew said, talking about not being judgemental of ourselves and others, " quiet frankly I believe the final judgement will be a breeze compared to what we do to ourselves and each other on this earth. " Forgive ourselves! We did the best we could do in the situation we found ourselves. When we know better we do better. You are both such amazing strong courageous women. There will be legends of angles to celebrate you and your accomplishments on this earth. I celebrate you!
LOL"
posted at 17:12:35 on September 27, 2010 by BYOUROWNHERO
Lost memories and faded pictures    
"Thanks for your thoughts and comparison on the "acceptable" disease and the "silent" disease.
For years while I suffered in silence, I had a hard time looking at pictures of our family. I would look at them and say "who are these strangers?" The pictures did not capture what the reality was. I still have a hard time looking at photographs. I too, blocked out periods of time and one time tried to make a time-line of events, I had big holes of time, just gone.
My husband died almost 4 years ago, from alcoholism and drug abuse. I still get the silent treatment from my Bishop, it's like it was my fault. I stand up for the issues when they are brought up in classes. I am very vocal about recovery and ARP but no one in my ward or Stake will respond to it. I have even taken the manual and fliers about the meetings to my Bishop and Stake Pres. They say "we don't have a problem in our area." I drive 20 miles to another Stake to facilitate meetings for recovering family members. Pray for those that need to support us. Pray for leaders to "get it" and put their efforts into education and recovery help."
posted at 18:44:56 on September 27, 2010 by BTTB
BTTB, I get ya    
"Thanks Ladies for your comments. I love you all so much!
BTW, I will be posting soon for a "THURSDAY" phone meet so as to open the opportunity for those who could not attend on Wednesday. Look for details...

BTTB, So funny... I often feel like I live in the Mormon "Desperate Housewives" neighborhood. Never seen that show, but I know what it is.
When we first moved here years ago, my husband went to the Bishop to confess. My husband said that the Bishop appeared shocked as he offered his sincere confession. He told my husband “we don't have that problem in this ward”. I was so shocked by what the Bishop told him that I went to the Stake President. It was a little better of a conversation, only a little. That was less than 10 years ago, and my guess was that no one had confessed to that bishop before. The shame is so overwhelming, I can see why so many keep it a secret and justify. Satan is great and convincing our addicts that way. I hold no malice towards that Bishop. I believe that was the beginning of a slow but somewhat steady change for my husband’s recovery. Recently he has really faced the Gravity of his situation and I believe it is changing our whole family as never before.

Up until recently, we have been playing the pretend game in our ward too. The subject is only brought up to the teens. We even had adult combine meetings where we talked about "the youth" and social networking, sexting, etc.... I stirred in my chair, wanting to scream out.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! CAN WE PLEASE GET REAL HERE. We even had a meeting in which they brought in a psychologist to talk about communication being the root of our marriage problems.... I was absolutely dying in the meeting. Jesus Christ and his beautiful gift, his Atonement for us, was not even brought up until the closing "In the name of..........., ya know what we always say, without even thinking about it. We will bear our testimonies about BYU Football and close with that!!!! Can you tell I have a bee i my bonnet??? But I digress....

My husband recent had a candid talk with our new Bishop. You have to know, my husband is not, and I repeat not, the type push his knowledge on anyone, but he was very forthcominge about all that he has learned and urged the bishop to start asking pointed (porn related) questions, not just too the youth, but to all members.... The Bishop seemed hesitant, but he did say that he himself did go to an ARP meeting to learn more about this problem (that I guess someone in our ward now has:) He said that he was also sending his Bishopric, group leaders, and Elders Quorum leaders to go and learn more. YAY!!!! I did a little dance when my hubby told me this. I wanted to bake a cake....... Finally, finally, we are going to begin the process of ending the game of pretend.

Please pray for your leaders to see the truth. Please pray daily for your dear Bishop. I would not want to be them.

I will not put my story out there and cast my pearls before swine; however I will do anything to help a sister in pain. I have a personal policy that I will only share my story with someone I can help, or someone who can help me. Otherwise, it becomes fodder for the people who are not yet ready to face the truth about what is going on in the world, let alone in their own homes.

Please understand, I love the people in my ward. I hold no bad feelings towards any one person. What I posted are my personal observations and were not said in any way because of a grudge towards anyone. I really want to be clear about that so that you understand that I am not blaming my Bishop for his ignorance on the subject.

BTTB, Keep going....drive to the ends of the earth if you must. It will be worth it just to be in the business of our Father in Heaven's work!!! A yes, I believe we are doing some of the most important work we will ever do in this life!!!

Porn (not the details of who what, where, when, and how) is an open and ongoing discussion in our home. We are not playing pretend! It is so funny, and fantastic that teenagers come here just to chat about real stuff. Amazing what the parents do not know.... I find some parents who do not want to know. But, with the Lords help, we're gonna tell um!

Can you feel the passion! You should, I am fighting for my eternal family and nothing, not one thing, will stand in my way!

Love,
Angel"
posted at 10:51:05 on September 28, 2010 by angelmom
ANGELMOM I so agree!    
"I know the Church has started to pull its head out of the sand, but there is a lot of work to do. Many people still want to live in the land of denial and that "All is well in Zion" I found something that was part of a FHE plan and it had to do with a Clean and Safe Media Pledge for the family to sign. There were six things to agree to do make the home clean and safe and mainatin integrity. I was shocked though that of the six, four specifically dealt with the children, and DID NOT provide accountability for the parents. The first is not posting or forwarding anything. If receiving a text or email that makes us feel...tell a parent right away. So a parent doing that doesn't need to let their spouse know? The second is to show respect for our body and other's by not looking or posting nude or immodest images, if we come across something inappropriate tell a parent. So parents aren't accountable, they don't need to tell their spouse? Third is don't post identifying information/personal information. If unsure ask a parent. Like a parent might not do that kind of thing? (GIVE ME A BREAK) The fourth was never meeting up with someone we have met online unless a parent knows and someone accompanies us. HELLO shouldn't parents also be accountable there? I don't know if it was the way it was worded or because of my personal life experience but I was disappointed that it was worded to make children accountable to parents, but not parents accountable to each other. Fathers and mothers can be just as vulnerable to this as children, and it is just as damaging to the family without accountability. I guess it disappointed me, they kind of get it, but not really. Like those struggling with addictions don't "chat", don't email, don't send pictures, and don't get to a point where they are meeting someone? That is being naive and I speak from experience I was in the dark for a very long time, because certain things just didn't enter my mind, my brain didn't go to those places. Let's face it EVERYONE in a family needs to be held to the same standard. Children will not truly be "safe" if parents aren't also holding to those standards. It isn't just the dads, it is also the moms. When many of the men get into "chatting" they are usually "chatting" with someone they met online and many times on an LDS website. I have heard that many times in ARP meetings. I guess I was just so surprised that it was a family pledge, but 2/3 made it more about the kids rather than including parents in accountability. I guess there is a gap that needs to be narrowed. Oh well, off my soapbox for now."
posted at 12:03:09 on September 28, 2010 by Anonymous
Silly Counsellor    
"My last experience with a professional counsellor also included lots of information on communication. I wanted to scream, "WE ARE COMMUNICATING. HE KNOWS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL ABOUT HIS ADDICTION!!!!" They don't get it, so we have to be the ones to fill them in on their lack of education. I had gone to find specific information on what I could do for myself. I didn't want couple counselling or anything else....just plain ol Atonement 101. They just didn't get it! I remember the grateful tears as I read the wives material for the first time. Somebody had been there too and had been able to tell me what was next. I'm still grateful for the new material everytime I read it! Now, if you ask, you'll probably get more than you bargained for!!! Everybody should know about this blessing!

BTW, loved the Desperate Houswives analogy!!! PERFECT!!!"
posted at 13:44:57 on September 28, 2010 by SEEINGLIGHT
Pray for the clueless    
"Sorry to hear about your local leaders, BTTB. I gave up talking to bishops for a while because they didn’t seem to get it. I have leaders now that do get it and it makes all the difference. If people would actually come, every ward could have a meeting. I could almost guarantee it! When my wife and I were involved in the program we knew of 8 men in the ward with porn issues, mostly from sisters coming to talk to her. When I first started working with my bishop he pulled a bag of prescription bottles out of his drawer that was at least a foot in diameter that a sister had given him. We’ve had one drug addict and one alcoholic die in this ward in the last ten years. I am currently trying to help with two addiction situations in the ward. None of these are the sister that turned in the pills, because they are either men or not in the ward at the time. I have another friend in the ward that a couple of us have been working with for years, but he will probably die of alcoholism. I live in a good strong active ward!

IF THEY DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM IN THEIR AREA, WHAT THEY REALLY DON’T HAVE IS A CLUE!!!

AngelMom isn’t the only one that can get hot under the collar. My old bishops in the 70s and 80 had some excuse, but now that we have all the conference talks that discuss porn and general addiction, as well as leadership training that I have heard of, I don’t really think they have an excuse anymore. It is too bad when you have to put your priesthood leaders in the God Box and just pray for them. They are just men, but when someone comes to them directly asking for help and they shrug it off, AUGH!! We had one stake president in the area before I started attending meetings that said they didn’t have a problem in their stake, but they could use one of their buildings for meetings. It had two of the biggest meetings in the area at the time I started going there.

I’ll stop ranting and pray now."
posted at 18:30:24 on September 28, 2010 by justjohn


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"Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You need only to decide some things once. How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. "

— Spencer W. Kimball