Monday, April 2, 2012

News on Dad

The last 6-7 months have brought my family much joy and excitement, as well as heartache and struggles. The birth of my son has made these last months the happiest of my life, in the sense that I'm finally living what I feel my purpose in life is - to be a mother. However, they have also been some of the most difficult months for me as well, because I'm losing my dad. Let me start this blog post off by saying I have MUCH to be grateful for. And I in no way intend for this to be a "please pity my family" post. I am merely sharing with those who have asked what is going on in my life and my family members' lives, to let you all know an update, and if you would be so inclined, to keep us in your prayers. 

Through all of life's circumstances, though some can be unbelievably difficult, it is important to me to find the joy in everything, and a reason to be happy. Maybe this is a defense mechanism, or my optimistic side being a driving force to keep me from allowing the trials I experience to take me to that "deep dark place" I don't want to go. All I know is I have a loving Savior who has been (and promises to continue) walking with me every step of the way, each and every day, and that's how I know I can continue and will be okay. 

Mainly only close friends and family know about what has been going on in my family in the past 6 months. It has not been something we immediately told people, and it's a very difficult thing to discuss, as it of course brings up a lot of emotion and pain. However, now that we're aware of what my dad is going through, we can share with people, in hopes of getting support, encouragement and (most importantly) PRAYER. 

My dad has been diagnosed with a rare brain disease. So rare that only one in 33 million people get it, and no one survives. This disease has four phases, and my dad is now in the final stage, which has left him with fast-acting dementia-like symptoms. The first symptoms began showing last April, but they were very minor. Things began progressing rapidly in October. Since then, his deterioration has been swift and quite overwhelming. My dad underwent a wide array of testing to figure out what was wrong. After what seemed like several long months of waiting to find out what we were "dealing" with, we finally received the results. It was a lot to swallow, but we were together as a family to take it all in. 

At this point in time, my dad can't walk, doesn't know where he is and can hardly speak. When words do come out of his mouth, they don't make any sense. He can no longer swallow his pills or feed himself. When we do feed him, he barely eats and can only eat soft foods. He is 100% dependent on my mom, for everything. The last 5-7 days have proven to be the worst so far. Hospice care has just started, and the hospital bed is being installed in my mom's house today. 

He no longer remembers who Landon is. Although that is sad to me, I knew it was a possibility, since his memory has wasted away. Thankfully, he stills knows who my mom, brother and husband are.. and who I am. When my mom asked him who she was, his response was, "You're the love of my life". He has always spoken to her like that, and it was so moving to hear him say that even though he's not "all there". I kiss him on the cheek, and he sometimes says, "I love you Monkey" (that's been the nickname he's called me since I was a child). 

This has all happened so quickly. Watching the end of life play out for someone you deeply love is one of the most difficult things to experience. I'm literally watching my dad waste away before my eyes. It is heartbreaking, but through all this, I am still so grateful. Grateful to God I've had as long with my dad as I have had (most people with this disease die in their early 40s and my dad is 66). Grateful he loves Jesus and I know where he gets to spend eternity. Grateful I was raised by such an incredible man. Grateful he is in no pain. I feel like this would be even more difficult if he were suffering.

It has been inspiring to watch my mom through all this. She has been so strong, even though I know her heart is breaking. She quickly went from "wife" to "full-time caregiver", and won't ever get to go back to the way things were. She's not only losing her husband, but her best friend as well. She can no longer sit and share a nice conversation with him, or go on a walk or share a meal. My mom told me, "Your dad has spent the last 29 years taking care of me, and now it's my turn to take care of him". I'm in awe of her endless love and affection for the ones she loves. She is the most selfless person I have ever known. She never does anything for herself, and would do anything and everything for those she cares about. To see her care for my dad in this way is incredible.

I am so thankful my parents moved near me when they did, and that I've had this extra time with my dad. He was able to meet my son the day he was born, and be a loving, doting grandfather until recently. It breaks my heart my son will never remember his Papa. But I will have so much to tell him about my dad. The world will be losing an amazing man, but heaven will be gaining one, and I'm so grateful to know I'll see him again someday. I wish I could watch him as he'll run into the arms of Jesus and be made whole again.

It is always hard to lose someone you love, no matter the circumstances. But this world isn't forever. My flesh is aching as I watch my dad deteriorate, but I know God has big plans through all of this, and since I probably won't be able to understand what they are, or why He's doing this, I do trust Him and have faith that's bigger than my desire or need to make sense of all of this. God's plan far exceeds my circumstances. I believe that, despite my current trials. 

Family Picture October 2011


  1. So well written Brit. I love you and pray every day that God would give you strength... His daily bread to bring you through this time.

  2. I love you Britt. Praying for you guys every day.

  3. Britt & Tay- I had to read this in sessions since I couldn't stop crying and had to return after a good cry. I lost my own father to lung cancer too soon 6 years ago. God is going to keep ALL of you under the shadow of his protective wing. Thank you so much for sharing and being vulnerable with us. It is a joy to pray for you and your family. Grandpa's legacy will live out in Landon. Love you and praying for you.
    Lorrie & John

  4. The Goodnough's, ALL OF US love you all so very much and are praying for all of you. I am so very sorry this is happening. I pray that you will continue to be the amazing daughter, wife, mom you have been, that you will rely on God's strength to carry you through and that God will use you to be a strength for your whole family. I pray that Ryan will be a light and a joy to everyone during this hard time. I pray for your wonderful amazing mother. That she will feel no pain and be able to do all she can for your father. That God will fill her with so much love it just overflows to your dad, as times get difficult and I pray for your wonderful dad. Oh he has always been such a strong man, and above all he has always so very much loved his family. You all are everything to him. May God's amazing presence guide you through these difficult months. We love you!!!

  5. Hello Brittany! I'm Doris, Joanna's sister-in-law, and I came across your blog after seeing the link she put on her sister Abbie's wall. I've just finished reading this post (along with a few others), and I just wanted to say that even though we've never met, I'm really touched by your beautiful faith in the Lord. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to begin to "lose" your father before your eyes. I am so glad that the Lord is strengthening your heart and giving you the peace & perspective to deal with all of this. I can tell that you have a heart of gold! How lucky your father has been to have you for a daughter. I'm going to keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Much love,

  6. Brittany, what you wrote here is just beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. God bless you, your mom and Ryan. Today is a tough day, and I'm comforted to know that Jim is with God and that's a wonderful place to be. Love you,