Dear Friends & Family,
A few weeks ago, as we were closing up the house to leave for the weekend, I was reminded of a childhood memory. When I was young, before each family trip, I would take out a large chalkboard from under my bed and with my clearest and best penmanship I would write in chalk, Smile God Loves You, and then draw a happy face underneath the words. I would prop the chalkboard against my bed where it sat prominently displayed in the center of my room. For some reason I had a fear of someone breaking into our house and stealing all of our belongings. I believed that if a burglar broke in, he would see the sign and either repent or retreat, but either way he would leave my room and my Barbie collection untouched. Honestly, I think my Barbie collection meant more to me during those years than anything else in life.
Last night as I was rolling Curt over in bed, it came to me that in a way he is like a Ken doll (Barbie’s boyfriend). Just like a Ken doll, he is totally dependent on others for every single move. In order to roll Curt over in bed, I have to move the sheets and blanket, grab his left shoulder and pull him towards me, then I move his right arm out from under his body, fluff and move his pillow back under his head, grab his legs, one at a time, bend them at the knee while pulling them into a comfortable angle, place a pillow behind his back and cover him with the sheets and blanket. In the morning he needs someone to lift him out of bed and into his wheelchair, someone to brush his teeth, comb his hair, shave him, dress him, place his pills in his mouth, feed him, etc. As the day goes on so does his needs. At night, the bedtime routine begins, it involves changing his clothes, brushing his teeth, more pills, lifting him into bed, placing special boots on his feet to prevent sores and making him comfortable in bed. Just as I would dress my dolls and move them through their imaginary day...so is the same with Curt. And just like my Barbie doll collection Curt means more to me than anything else in life.
It amazes me to think that one year ago he was walking, driving and taking care of himself. Curt and I knew it would come to this point but didn’t know how we would deal with his limitations and didn’t even want to think about it at that time. I know it is as hard on him to be dependent as it is for me to have to take care of his every need. Although I get relief from constant care-giving thanks to his mom who comes four days a week to take care of him, he never gets a break from needing every itch scratched and help with every move. In the past, Curt was always the person who did everything for everyone, now there is not much he can do for himself let alone anyone else. The kids are amazing in helping care for Curt; Clarissa is sweet to feed him meals and make his mixed drinks just the way he likes them, Cayden accompanies and assists Curt in public restrooms and lifts him into bed each night. Corbin is concerned about Curt’s comfort and always offers to bring him a jacket or his Ugg boots when it is cold. Friends and neighbors stop in and have no problem getting him food or drinks, or helping us get him out of the pool or up off the floor if he falls. The support shown by everyone to Curt is amazing! We have a cross-stitch sampler I made in college hanging in our bedroom which says, “Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.” We are truly blessed with the best friends and family!
Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
|The Bottle Inn with Ed & Julie|
|Having some pool fun!|
|I always take a picture of the kids on their first day of school. |
Here Clarissa is leaving for her first day at CSULB.
|Curt & Julie having fun!|
|Garage Party! |
Mark, Larry & Julie