So–How’s It REALLY Going?

Several of you have asked me “How is it going?”.   Our lives have been in flux this year.  The first part we spent going back and forth from Iowa to Ohio to help out with Chris’s dad whose health was failing. The second half of the year we actually relocated to the family home in Ohio and are in the throes of settling the estate following his death in August.  As many of you know Chris has a 42 year old brother with Down Syndrome who lived with his dad and can not live independently.  We are moving toward getting him moved in with Chris’s sister and her family but the process is long and slow and we wonder if we are doing it the right or best way.

Has it been difficult?  Very.  I can not sugar coat it.  It has been difficult on every single one of us.  Carlton is high functioning but there is so much change around him and he is a creature of habit.  Enter a sister in law who is insisting on home cooked healthy meals, good manners and respecting other people’s stuff and you can imagine.  I will consider it a victory when he no longer eats directly out of the containers of leftovers in the fridge.  So far I still seem to be failing in that area.

For my husband Chris it means a lot of sacrifice.  His butt is on a plane every week.  When he gets back “home” to Ohio he is faced with a weekend of working on clearing out the house and dealing with all of the “stuff” that comes with the death of the last parent.  He is torn between work and family.  He has no down time.  When he is in Iowa he is in an empty house.  His company has been understanding but he needs to focus on his job and he is torn, I know.  We have a strong marriage—-I shudder to think what this would be like if we did not have that 29+ years of marriage under our belts.

For my sister in law it is also a very challenging time as she navigates the ins and outs of Medicare and Medicaid and the maze that preparing to take care of an adult sibling presents.   She has her own family.  There are going to be adjustments on all levels.   The living area for Carlton is ready but it is going to take a lot of time to transition.  She works full time and has responsibilities.  She is wonderful with Carl—-she has a relationship with him that I could only dream of having but then she is the biological sister and she was always there for him. I am so grateful that she is there for him now.  She is, in short, amazing.

And me, you ask?   I miss my privacy if truth be known.  I miss my husband.  I don’t necessarily miss Iowa but that is a post for another day.  I miss my freedom.  I have become quite selfish.  I am impatient.  I am definitely flawed in that respect.  I pretty much used to do what I pleased.  I could travel with Chris when it worked out.  I could go visit family on the spur of the moment.  Now I have “responsibilities” and some days they just weigh on me.  This is not unlike anyone else’s life—just slightly different situation.  I don’t want pity or praise for this path we are on.  I really don’t.  I just want reassurance that we are doing what is best for Carlton and that I can be patient.  That is the hardest part for me—to realize that the patience that I once thought I possessed has diminished.

What has kept me on track and sane –or as sane as I can be?  The knowledge that the love of a family can get me through.  The faith I have in a God who will never leave me.  My “imaginary” friends out there in the blogosphere who make me laugh and cry with them–who share in my adventures and encourage me to keep writing even if the quality of what I write is a little suspect at times.  This is all temporary and when I write it all down it seems pretty insignificant.  But sometimes it just helps to put it all down in writing.   It lets me focus on what is really important.  Thanks for bearing with me !


  1. Oh Beth Ann, as one of your imaginary friends out here, I wish I could give you a hug or words of encouragement… But, I really got nothing. I can’t imagine how hard all this is for you, and most especially Chris, but I do know that you are doing an amazing thing for Carlton, and you will always look back on this time with pride that you were there…. I also know that Chris’s dad is looking down at you both and smiling, saying thanks…. Hugs…

    • Thanks, Hilary! I just had several people who had asked and so I felt like I should update. We are fine. I have learned a lot about myself, that is for sure! Last night Carlton was very talkative and loving and it was a pretty funny night with him so I am in a better place today than I probably was when I wrote this. I love him and I know that we are doing all in our power to make sure he is okay, you know? It is just the selfish side of me that wants everything all neat and tidy! 🙂 Thanks for the sweet comment! MUCH appreciated!

  2. Beth Ann, I told Hilary recently, that as stupid as it sounds you just have to keep smiling…sometimes that’s all that gets us through the day!!!! I’m sending some FL sunshine your way and hope that things will settle down, sooner rather than later…Take care!

    • I will take that Florida sunshine!!!! Thanks for the sweet comments and support!!! Looking forward to some of your Florida sunshine over Christmas when we visit our oldest son!!! And I am smiling!!! Gotta keep it up!

  3. I surely identify with your remark about “being impatient”. The only reason I’m “so patient” now is that I have so little interruption or aggravation. I can’t send you any Florida sunshine, but I do agree that in the future you all will be happy that you did this difficult thing and saw it through. It is tough sometimes, but you’ll be happy you did your best.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Ann!!! I know you are right!!! The impatient thing is hopefully temporary????? Hopefully??????? It is raining here—has it been there?? Basically miserable weather all this weekend…bah!

  4. Oh my sweet friend. I love your honesty. I was just talking with someone about how too many families sugarcoat their personal lives so that the world thinks they have perfect families. There is no perfect family. We all struggle with impossible situations – but we struggle gloriously because we have God’s grace, comfort and love to get us through it all. You are doing your best – and even on bad days, your best is enough. Keep walking towards Jesus as I know you do. Be gentle with yourself – laugh when you can, cry when you need to because tears help us to heal. Hugging you and always hear for you!

    • Thank you so much, Virginia! I know you know what I write about—you have lived it and are living it! Thanks for the reminder that my best is enough. I needed to hear that more than I thought. Hugs.

  5. Beth, what a year it has been! Keep the faith sista and I’ll send some California sunshine your way too…
    In the middle of trying times I attempt to look at it as a phase, with an end point…it WILL get better and easier.
    After it’s over you can take the strength you gained to help someone else in a tough situation.

    • Thank you so much!!! Your words of encouragement were just what I needed to hear though I didn’t realize it!!! Love all of my bloggy friends who support me!

  6. Helen Brown says:

    You all are doing all you can for Carlton and I think you are handling as well and really better than most would. You all love him and want the best for him. Who could ask for anything more? My love and prayers are for everyone in the family.

    • Who could ask for a more supportive mother??? I only wish I had been able to get over to see you more the past few months but I know that you understand! Can’t wait to see you at Christmas at the Archdeacons!

  7. Your imaginary friend in Va. Beach checking in! lol Writing is so therapeutic. It really does help to write it down, even if no one else ever reads it. The hard times we face make us stronger, like the tree bending in the wind becomes stronger, allowing it to bend and not break during the storms of life. I’ve found God’s grace sufficient to see me through whatever comes my way, as long as I keep my eyes on Him. You are doing a great job, Beth Ann, I’m sure of it.

  8. What a beautifully honest post. The changes must be overwhelming for everyone involved. This imaginary friend knows you are handling things in the best way possible and I have a feeling all will work out as it should. Sending you hugs, prayers and love each and every day. ♥

  9. Christine Grote says:

    I’m not imaginary. I am real. As real as this pain in my side from a now imaginary gall bladder.

    Baby steps. Wow, you’ve had a lot of change this year. You’ll get there. You are doing all the right things, with the possible exception of not allowing enough time for yourself.

    Enjoy the holy days.

    • Sorry about your gall bladder but hopefully in its absence you will be much happier!!! Thank you for the kind words and here is wishing you and yours the best for the Christmas season!

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