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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Updates and Valleys Part 2

I had asked God to help me on the way to the doctors in my quiet thoughts, among the depressive thoughts. I had been caught off guard as I had become complacent in my faith. I just expected it rather than practicing it. I had fallen from the days where the first thing I would run to was my Bible and to my knees in prayer. I had let my complacency allow my guard to be down. I had convinced myself that I could run to my praise music and that would be enough, my morning prayers were being missed on occasion. I was allowing the world around me to define me rather than my faith and in that was being dragged deeper in to despair. I was needing to ask God to fill my thoughts with his truths, replacing the lies.

I had told the doctor that my CT scan was that Friday, so I thought. One thing that becomes a struggle in depression is an inability to keep dates and times strait. I had got home and looked at the calendar and the appointment was for the 16 which was Thursday. I had picked up the prep for the CT scan earlier and realized it was Wednesday night that my appointment would be tomorrow and I would need to drink the prep quickly or I would mess up the CT scan, so I mixed it and struggling, as it was disgusting, would drink the 2 cups of prep. I also needed to fast so I would not eat anymore that night.

I awoke that morning early as it was theology morning. I would not eat just get dressed and wait for my ride, as she would pick me up around 5:30 am. She would arrive and I would have a conversation with her that would open my mind to the mistake I had made a mistake that was so stupid. My brain had told me it was the 16th but when logic kicked in, as I realized Thanksgiving Day was Monday and it was on the 13th. Oh, how could I make such a dumb mistake, I was a week early on my appointment and I had already taken the prep. I would come home from class and rush to call the hospital to see if they had a cancellation, but unfortunately they were only running one CT scanner and had no cancellations. I would have to wait till my scheduled appointment, in a week and drink that horrific drink one more time. 

My family was invited to my Aunts, a long-time family friend, to come to Thanksgiving dinner, on Sunday. The morning of Sunday, my son and I would follow through on our routine. He would take us for breakfast at McD's, we would continue our walk to the bus stop, the bus would drop us a 30 min walk from church and then we would attend the early service at church. On our last leg of the walk to church I would remind my son that we would be going to our Aunt's for Thanksgiving. I could see the wheels turn in my son's mind as he remembered the last time when we went there for Easter dinner. We had left dinner after my son had become overloaded with the social environment and melted down all the way home. My son with his Autism finds holiday get togethers overwhelming and would prefer not to be involved in them at all and this holiday gathering would be no different. He would ask if he could stay home. I was not going to say no as I know the stress it puts him under.

My mom was going to pick us up from church and head straight out, as we had to stop by at my dad's sisters, but my son would not be coming with so him and me would walk back to the bus and hop it home. My son we be on his own for the day, as we left to my see my two Aunts. 

Mom would drive us first drive us to my dad's sisters, as she had called. My Aunt had taken over when my dad was found after two weeks of missing. He was found by the New Westminster Police in Royal Columbian Hospital with a subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain), after we went searching for him, we all suspected he had been mugged. I had repeatedly tried to do my duty as his daughter, but every time I thought I had it set up to be the contact I would find my Aunt had stepped in and she was now the emergency contact and no effort on my part would change that. She had taken over all of his finances. When she was on the phone with my mom she had asked for us to pick up all of my dad's stuff as she couldn't do it all. She had let it slip that a public trusty had told her she had no rights as his sister when he had children. 

I was anxious to get there as I remembered dad's photo albums that had a historical significance as he worked on the building of the Fraser Canyon and the Bennett Dam in BC, Canada and he had photographs of it. I feel those should be preserved and shared as BC history and did not want to see them lost.

This is a picture of my dad with the other volunteers of the Hudson Hope Fire Dept.
He is the seventh from the right.

We arrived at her place to find a small pile of boxes outside against their garage that was separate from the house. I could see my dad's name on the side of the boxes, so mom pulled up alongside. Before we could get out my uncle would exit the house shutting the door behind him. We both were given the impression that this was not an invite you in visit, but a pick up and go. 

My Uncle would help us load the boxes into the back of the minivan. While we were loading my Aunt and a man would come out, she was hunched over and looking very aged. I looked at the man that came out with her, he looked allot like my dad, but I did not know him. 

I never knew my dad's family accept my Aunt, because we use to pick my dad up there at Christmas time. My dad's family wouldn't have anything to do with us after my mom and dad split. I would not be introduced to this man standing there, no one would say a word, I hugged my aunt good bye after some social back and forth. When we were driving again, I mentioned to my mom how nice it was nobody introduced us. Oh she said I thought you knew your uncle,

We would arrive at my other Aunts house early so we could socialize before the rest came. I had called my son before we went in to remind him that he was calling his Aunt to explain that he wasn't coming. She let us know he had called her. Shortly after we arrived my Aunts friend and her son arrived. A bit later her daughter and grandson would arrive.

I wouldn't find it long before my Aunts daughter would be apparently in a mood, a mood that would be directed at me. She asked me what I had been doing, as we had not seen each other since the last dinner. I had told her I had been in school and was looking for a job. Her reply was, I wouldn't take any course that didn't put me strait in a job, her voice and mannerisms were in a condescending tone. I was set back but took it from the source. She would spend the night poking jabs at me and my mom all night, as we became her source of entertainment. Her son has High Functioning Autism like my son, but he is in the early grades of elementary school and my son is an adult.

She started asking about my son, after dinner. I had mentioned that he was struggling right now and has gotten lost in the gaming world, this is common for persons with Autism because it is one thing they can control in their uncontrollable world. She started speaking in a raised voice how she wouldn't allow her child to do that and if they did she would kick them out and proceeded to belittle my parenting, without the facts behind what she was saying. I was getting angry as she told me I should just kick my son out. I was shaking in anger and my mom noticed and directed that it was time we head home as it was a long drive.

We left and on the way home I vented to my mom. My Aunts daughter was suggesting I throw my son out, Yeah, I am going to kick out my child, and all be it adult. A child that has told me the world doesn't want him and he feels already rejected by the world who do not understand him and I am going to reject him too, NOT! I rather stick it out and find ways to support his needs to help him grow, find his purpose that he has lost and his independence.

I had already had plans to take my son to Bethesda, after having three different people direct me to their service. Bethesda, when we went, informed us that their services were funded through CLBC ( Community Living BC) and after talking a while about my son's needs and my concerns, she informed us that CLBC had new funding to support Adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was told if we came across any road blocks to contact them again. 

I would call CLBC and it was refreshing to talk to someone who truly understood the challenges we faced, as they had a relative with similar challenges. We would need to take in his documentation of his diagnoses and any other supporting documents. I rushed them over before they closed, this was a Friday. After they reviewed what I had for them, I was told he would need to go through an assessment to determine if he qualified. The people who did the assessments would call us.

We would receive a call and the assessment would be set up. I had told my son what the process would be, so he could be prepared. We went to the appointment and were met with a very nice lady, who was very good and understanding, I would need to fill out a questionnaire, while she ran some tests with my son, one being an IQ test. I knew this part would most likely be the make it or break it for him, as it used to be if you were above the 70th percentile you would not qualify for services. I always thought of this being a part of the misunderstanding of Autism. My son has always had a far higher intellect than his social and functioning skills. One can have a high intellect, but not know what to do with it, while faced with other aspects of life that limit its usefulness. We were told the results would be ready in a couple of days and would be sent to CLBC in that time. We have now been waiting almost two weeks, not surprised. 

Thursday I would go for my CT scan. I was concerned about my PTSD and visiting the hospital, as I so dislike re living all the bad moments of 2009 that come with it. I asked my Church family for prayer. I was now thinking the CT scan was a little late and pointless now, as most symptoms had subsided after that last painful day that landed me in emerge. I was so thankful though for the prayer of my church, as I went for my appointment free of the haunting memories of the past.  

I would continue through all of this to seek out employment. I continue search through job postings and apply for all the jobs I have relative skills for and my injury to my arm would not interfere in preforming my duties. I would also go through the online directory, searching out potential employers. I made a list of all the accounting firms, property management and real estates agencies, in town. I found it very hard to connect with retail administration positions as most retailers I approach sent their paperwork and bookkeeping to their head offices that were not local. I would find not being able to drive anymore do to my injury would become a challenge to finding employment. I would make up personalized cover letters for all the potential employers I found and map out a route to systematically walk or better known as pound the pavement handing out those cover lettered resumes.

Every two weeks, I need to hand in a job search forms for Work Safe BC, with the expectation of three application/resumes delivered per day. I was finishing this up the Friday before last when I received a call from Work Safe BC. My worker would ask how the job search was going and encouraged me that I was meeting if not exceeding the requirements for job search. I told him that it is a challenge as we are in a labour market for employment and the jobs that I could find either need several years of experience or an ability to drive. He then told the driving was my choice. I said what choice if I had lost control of our vehicle the way I did in the underground on the street I could have killed someone, I do not call that a choice but a responsibility not to drive under those circumstances.  He then proceeded to tell me that my benefits would end on Nov. 2 but I could possibly qualify for a 6 week extension that would end on Dec 14. I asked does that mean I am SOL and on my own after that and apologized for putting it that way, but I needed to know, as I help support the housing of my disabled son and mother. He said yes my benefits would come to an end. 

I got off the phone, still fighting the depression that had set in earlier. My mind started racing through all the consequences to what he had told me. I would have no income just in time for my son's birthday and Christmas. We would not have my income anymore to keep a roof over our head, as it was my income that paid our mortgage. I had let down my family and there was nothing more than I was already doing to change that. I broke the news to my mom and son. I told them to take it as notice that they needed to figure out what they were going to do about their housing because if they continued to follow me they may become homeless. My mom's response was we needed to empty the storage unit we had. I knew this already and all that did was put more pressure on me and in that moment I did not need any more placed on my plate, so I sarcastically thanked her and told her I needed time to process what I was dealing with before she through more on top of me. We got into a fight and I stormed out. 

I walked to the Work Safe BC office and delivered my job search forms. On the way I was fighting every negative thought you could imagine, as I fell into focusing on the world around me and how I failed my family one more time. How I was so tired of every part of my life being such a battle and why for once could something happen without a fight to get through it.

I returned home and apologized to my mom out of trying to make peace, even though I did not feel I had reason to apologize. I though new it was something I needed to do to bring peace back to my family. 

Sunday my son and I would start on our normal journey to church which consisted walking with my son to McDonald's where he would buy me breakfast, then we would walk to the bus stop for 8:01 am when the bus would be scheduled to arrive and then a ride to Emanuel Church where we would start our walk to Northview Community Church. Unfortunately this morning my son would only make it to breakfast before he would not feel well enough to continue to church. I did not want him to walk home alone because he didn't look good, so I called my mom to see if she could pick him up. She doesn't like driving as she found it would become painful, but will drive when no other choice. She came and then told me she would drive me to church this morning, what a blessing. 

I would get to the service really early for the second service, we normally would go to the morning service but sleep was non-existent the night before so we decided to go to second service. I would wait in the foyer until it was time. When I was seated waiting in the sanctuary, one of the gentleman from a pastorate I attend though the church. We would talk. His wife would join during the worship, as she volunteers in the church. I would feel her hand on my shoulder, a small act but the feelings of connection and care were strong in that simple act. The   service  would start, A Sharp Disagreement, Part 7 of Mission, The Book of Acts Part 3 , a service I found was very impact full.  

The service would come to an end and we would walk into the foyer, I would walk towards the washroom, which was also past the coffee station where people would connect in community after service. My sister in Christ from the pastorate would walk with me in the same direction. She would ask if I would like to come for lunch, I said yes I would love to and then my thoughts would tell me why did you say yes you have no money? I would then say to her, " But I unfortunately I don't have any money. She assured me, she would buy me lunch. I felt very humble but thankful. We met up with another couple in our pastorate. We would all go to lunch together. I would be asked where I would like to go. I did not feel comfortable making a choice as I had no money to purchase and it was a gift enough that I was being asked and included.

We would enjoy some wonderful conversation and eat. I would tell them I could walk home as it was beautiful and sunny and we were only a couple of block's form home. We parted ways but I have to say they were such a blessing!! I never usually get many opportunities to hold conversations with people other than my family. 

Thursday Morning Theology class would arrive, I had finally been in a place where I could read the chapter, instead of just listening to it at the last minute. I find when the depression is a hold my dyslexia is a challenge to read pages of information, such as my theology book, as retention is non-existent. I was so thankful that was not a challenge this week. I was waiting outside, on the sidewalk for my ride to theology, at 5:30 am. I had put my iPod on to listen to my music till she came, as now that I am not driving and working it is hard to steal time for my music. I hit play the song started playing and in the middle of it my iPod would hiccup and throw me out and come to the menu page. I would push the music and song button to play the now playing but it was gone. I hit shuffle and I can tell you God meets you where you are!! The first song playing was Constant by Francesca Battistelli Listening to the words and the connection to where I was and God's reminder that He is a constant in my life, history reminds me of this. Then Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave, such another connection to what I was going through and needed to hear, as God was meeting me where I was to remind me I was redeemed and the battle has already been one. I could feel a great weight leave my shoulders and my perspective being realigned to what was important and that was to stay focused on Jesus Christ as the rest is already done.

Father I thank you for always being a constant in my life, reminding me that I have been redeemed through the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that the battle has already been one. Help me to never forget this, engrave it in my mind so that it will always be there in good times and bad. You are Holy, Holy, Holy God almighty has goes behind, in front and beside. We have nothing to fear as long as we trust you. We may go through valleys but will not be crushed as you will not forsake us. In Jesus Precious Name Amen.


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