Writing contribution by Norma Shull Smith
Let’s face it, we all get frustrated with something or someone in life and when a person is going through dementia, it is easy for them to get frustrated, especially if they only have one arm and one shoulder, like my husband. For the most part I can honestly say he does far better than I do with it. Perhaps it’s because he’s lived with his amputation for over 6 years now.
When the dementia diagnosis was handed down, he just kind of resigned to the fact and didn’t say much about it. Every once in a while when asked how he is, he will answer, “I’m having some memory problems!” Most people, even younger ones, respond graciously and say they are too and I think it makes him feel better. I must admit it is very, very difficult to experience loved ones who were once brilliant in what they did, ebb away with confusion; losing the ability to remember.
I’ve seen too many family members robbed by cancer and this disabling disease over the past few years and I’ll admit, I’ve let frustration set in many a day. Disease has the ability to humble us and to take us out of the driver’s seat in life.
Does my experience make me an expert on the subject? Not by a long shot, but it can make me an open vessel. I write to encourage people and decided, I may as well make it real, because I can’t help people if I pretend that everything is always rosy. Being a Christian doesn’t make us void of terrible things. Of course I refer to scripture almost daily, because that is where I find my resolve. It’s words are wise and soothing, as are old time gospel hymns. Because disease removes us from the driver’s seat, it allows us to let God take us through. I can’t think of a better driver. He not only drives, but many a day, He will allow me to set in the passengers seat and listen to my frustrations and sobs as we journey the road together! Then out of the blue, He will turn something frustrating to me into sheer laughter!!!
I won’t ever say that keeps me from being frustrated, but it smooths the edges and gives me courage to go right back at it and face the wall that on some days seem immovable. We can find laughter in turmoil and we can find ways to overcome adversity if we keep our minds open.”
One of the biggest ways for me to pull myself up, is to reach out to someone else. Pick up the phone and give them a call, or send a card in the mail, or even buy them something when they least expect it. That brings me great joy and I know by experience that it works.
If you are going through frustration due to things beyond your control, remember you aren’t alone in your circumstance. There is always someone with a similar or worse situation; why not reach out to them and give comfort? By doing so, you will realize how much this act actually comforts yourself.
Norma Shull Smith’s journey as a teacher, lay minister and speaker began in her 30’s. After being diagnosed with a Central Nervous System disorder that affected her ability to speak in a way that she once enjoyed, she now encourages others through writing and a newspaper column.
Norma loves creativity, art and writing. She lives in in the Midwest with her husband, where she enjoys gardening, keeping in touch with her adult grandchildren and her involvement in a local Chamber of Commerce.
Resources from Norma:
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT
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