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Review-"Ambushed By Grace"

"Ambushed By Grace, Help and Hope On The Caregiving Journey" by Shelly Beach
Discovery House Publishers, Published 2008, 204 pages

Often I have authors stop by my blog and comment (graciously) on my review of their book.
Shelly if you stop by, I felt as if this book was personally addressed to me. It was a letter that I needed to read. Thank you.

During the summer of 1996 my mother was diagnosed with what we, her family, already suspected, that mother had Alzheimer's. We never discussed this with mother, I do not know if she ever knew her diagnosis. The decision to not discuss this with mother was my dad's decision, it was his way of protecting her, and his way of not having to face the dreaded word, Alzheimer's.
Mother's progression of the disease was slowly at first, but by 1999 she needed assistance in bathing, dressing, and she would wander off. I tried hiring people to help dad, he fired all of them, he only wanted me. He and I worked together to care for mother, we shared how we felt, made decisions together, supported each other. Before this time daddy and I were not close, he was a mystery sort of feller, it was mother and I that were always close. In 2002 mother had an episode where she passed out and stopped breathing, daddy called 911 and she was taken to the hospital by ambulance. It is still a mystery as to what happened, yet the doctor encouraged daddy and I to place mother in a nursing home after her hospital stay. Leaving her in the nursing home that first day was the hardest thing so far I'd ever done. I can still remember feeling pain in my chest that was crushing, I had to remind myself to breathe. My emotional pain became physical pain. Mother lived in a nursing home until her death in March 2008. At her death she was fetal position, could neither speak nor smile, she had to be fed a soft diet, she had no way of communicating with us. Mother was gone before her body died. I can only remember a couple of times in the last 2 years of her life that there seemed to be some recognition in her eyes when she would see me, she would try to smile, there would be tears in her eyes. I wandered if it was wishful thinking on my part, or maybe for a brief moment something in her brain clicked.
Meanwhile, my dad who still has a sharp mind, but his body has deteriorated and become more frail. Daddy is nearly 87 years young, and he has many health problems. Shortly after placing mother in the nursing home, my husband and I moved in to care for dad, and their home. From 2002 through 2006 daddy had 5 surgeries; was diagnosed with further heart problems, diabetes, diabetes neuropathy in his feet, and other health problems. In 2008 he had another serious surgery, he can no longer drive, nor pay his bills, he does not teach his beloved Bible class anymore.
It has been a long journey in caring for my parents. I had thought in the beginning that I was blessing them, I wanted to honor them for their love for me. I felt strongly that the Lord had given me this responsibility and I stepped up to the plate to fulfill it.
Along the way, somewhere along the way, I realized I had received the greater blessing.
Thank you Jesus.

"Ambushed By Grace" is a touching, emotionally charged, and with great tenderness and love the author writes from her experience as a caregiver. The later half of the book is several suggestions in caring for loved ones, the applications are helpful.
One of the great questions in the book is "do I enjoy the ride?" No, I have often been too afraid to enjoy the ride. Often I've been too swept up in the intense moments to enjoy the ride. I'm not sure enjoy would be the word I'd use. I certainly have cherished memories of this journey with my parents.
I am struck with the thought that we are all aware of, that life is a journey, death is the end for all of us--that is our bodies. I followed momma and helped care for her till her journey with Alzheimer's was over. I will follow daddy as well, until the Lord calls him home.
The author writes with grace, wisdom, forethought and knowledge. She expresses what many caregivers cannot articulate, and this helps to clarify and understand this "act of worship."

If you are a caregiver I recommend this book, keep it nearby, utilize it!

Comments

Shelly Beach said…
Hello, Miss Daisy Anne,

It's Shelly stopping by to say hello and tell you that your words are a great encouragement. August marks the one-year anniversary of my mother's death after her long struggle with Alzheimer's. Her pink robe still hangs in the closet of the room she shared with my dad. We caregivers share common bonds, and our greatest bond is our hope in Christ. I'm still following on the journey with my dad, as well. Hugs and prayers for you, my sister. Shelly Beach