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Oliver North Discusses His Role As Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2023 7:00 am

Oliver North Discusses His Role As Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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June 3, 2023 7:00 am

Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC, Ret. joined me for a special conversation about his life as a caregiver for his wife, Betsy. I sent the manuscript of my new book, A MINUTE FOR CAREGIVERS - When Every Day Feels Like Monday to Col. North's publishing company (Fidelis Publishing).

The manuscript resonated deeply with Col. North - who is in his own difficult caregiving journey. He not only expressed a great desire to publish this book but also graciously offered to write the foreword - which I included below: 

Foreword by Oliver L. North 

The Mayo Clinic diagnosis wasn’t good—but at least we had one, instead of guessing. After returning from an assignment as an embedded correspondent and host of War Stories on FOX News, I believed Betsy—the half-century-plus love of my life; my best friend on earth; mom to our four magnificent adult children; “Nan” to our eighteen terrific grandchildren—must have had a stroke.

Lots of people, including my own mother, recovered from strokes. Betsy will too, I hoped. I was wrong. After several days of carefully examining Betsy and countless images of her head and body, the extraordinary doctors at Mayo gently delivered their findings— verbally and in writing: “Your wife has a degenerative, asymmetric brain disorder called corticobasal syndrome . . . It is characterized by apraxia and rigidity on one side of the body . . . These symptoms are often accompanied by dementia and ‘cognitive disarray’ . . . As of now, it is incurable, and untreatable . . .”

My initial reaction to this devastating diagnosis was, "Betsy, you and I have been through a lot together. We have so many things planned for our “Golden Years”! I’m a U.S. Marine; we’re a team and followers of the Miracle Worker, Jesus Christ!"

We’re going to beat this evil malady.

But we haven’t.

Shortly after we returned home from Rochester, Minnesota, MajGen John Grinalds, USMC (Ret), and his wife, Norwood—dear friends since the 1970s when their examples led us to our faith in Christ—came to visit us. After listening to the diagnosis, John asked, “Who are you feeling sorry for, Betsy or you?” After thinking about it, I replied, “Me.” John nodded and said, “Your new mission, Marine, is become the very best caregiver Betsy will ever have on earth!”

Thus, began for me, the most challenging physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual experience of my eighty years on earth. That was nearly five years ago. Despite many months of reading, listening to “coaches,” viewing countless videos, even keeping company with several thousand terribly wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Guardsmen, and Marines—and their families—I was exhausted and adrift on how to be Betsy’s caregiver.

Then, Peter Rosenberger sent his draft of this inspiring book. Finally, I thought, someone who knows what I’m going through. He’s been there, done that!

A Minute for Caregivers is now my “go-to” primer for every challenge I face in caring for my best friend. If being a caregiver to someone you love is part of your life, you need this book.


This is Peter Rosenberger and I'm really excited to tell you about my new book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday.

I compiled a lifetime of experience to offer a lifeline to my fellow caregivers. Each chapter only takes one minute to read them. I know I timed them. You can read them in order. You can read them out of order. You can flip to any page and you're going to find something on that page that will help you at that moment.

It's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday. Go to slash book. slash book. And you can sign up. We'll let you know as soon as it's available for pre-order.

We'll send you a special bonus feature for it, sample chapter, all kinds of things. Go to slash book. I can't wait for you to read this book. You're going to love it. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. So glad that you are with us. I am very excited that my new book is out. Wherever books are sold, it's called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday. One minute chapters. You give me one minute and I will point you to safety as a caregiver.

You can turn to any page on this book and you're going to find something that's going to help you as a caregiver. You don't have to read it in a straight line. You don't have to read it from front to back. You can start at the back and go backwards.

It doesn't matter. You can pick a number and just out of the blue, open up to that page and you're going to find something that's going to help you as a caregiver. That is my commitment to you and the reason this book is out there is because of my guest here today. I sent the manuscript to his publishing company. He jumped on it because of his own journey as a caregiver and I am thrilled to welcome to the program today. I invited him to come on to share his heart, insights, his journey as a caregiver, whatever's on his mind.

This is Colonel Oliver North. Colonel North, it is a personal privilege for me to have you here. So thank you for being here today, Peter. It's great to be with you. It's great to have this book out in print because it's going to be helpful to so many people just like me. I want to get into your story. You've been caring for your wife, Betsy, for some time, but I want to ask you, as I ask all my guests, how are you feeling? How are you doing? Thanks to your book? I'm doing a lot better than I was and I mean that. It's very rare and I've read and written and published a lot of books, okay?

And I sincerely mean this. When you can set a book down after you finished it and say, I'm a better person today than I was before I started it and mean it, that's what happened to me with this book. I read that manuscript. I picked up the phone and called my partner in this business, Gary Tereshita at Fidelis Publishing and said, we have got to publish this book. And it was the manuscript that sold me on it. And of course, you got it cleaned up and here it is. I have to clean up my manuscript a lot. I was not the best student in the world, Colonel North. The first manuscript I turned in had so many red marks on it, I thought it had been stabbed.

I've had to do a lot of work, but no, they were very gracious to help me with all this and I'm very moved that you found it meaningful to you. How did you two meet? How did you and Betsy meet? My cousin worked for Betsy. Betsy was a graduate. She'd been to college in Virginia, then a graduate degree in Penn State in marketing. She was a retail sales manager for the Hecht Company, which at the time was a very big department store. It's all gone now, of course.

But my cousin worked for her and she kept telling me that she was working for this absolutely gorgeous young woman who was super nice and the right kind of person and that I would really love to meet her. And so I kind of concluded that if the Marine Corps wanted me to have a wife, they'd have issued me one. And so I didn't bother to go by until my brother showed up and my little brother was on his way to Vietnam. I was still a midshipman at the Naval Academy and my little brother went straight through. He went right out of high school. I enlisted right out of high school in the Marine Corps Reserve.

I goofed around for three years before I ever got to the Naval Academy. And so Jack was on his way to Vietnam and he stayed with my cousin's family overnight on his way basically to say goodbye to folks before he left for the war. And so Jack calls me up at the Naval Academy and says, Kathy says there's this drop dead gorgeous woman she works for.

I'd like to go meet her tomorrow. Can you come pick me up? Because I was an upperclassman. I had a car.

I went and picked him up in Crofton, Maryland, took him over to the Heck Company store in Montgomery Mall. And we're going up the escalator to where Kathy worked for Betsy. And Jack gives me the elbow and says, if she's anything like that blonde at the top of the stairs with a mini skirt and those long legs, that blonde hair, I will date her. Well, of course it was her.

Okay. That's how I met with my brother trying to pick her up. And if he hadn't left for the war the next day, I might have missed out. But 55 years ago, we got married.

It'll be 55 years in November 13th. So one of our grandchildren asked me, there's a picture of Betsy and me in the cover of Life magazine back in 1987. And I've told all the youngsters, we got 18 grandkids. I said, you get to the appropriate age.

I'll answer any question you ask truthfully. And so he looks at the picture and he says, and all of our grandkids called Betsy Nan, because that's what she called her grandmother. Okay. So they all call her Nan. He's looking at this picture, which we don't, you know, we're not advertising.

It's up in a corner back home. And he says, Nan was a beautiful woman. I said, you're just a recent college graduate.

If you ever use past tense to decide, describe a woman's beauty again, she'll shoot you first and then write you out of the will. And so now he's trying to make up for it. He says, well, was it love at first sight? And I said, I promised I'd tell you the truth. No, it was lust.

Okay. But the good Lord turned it into love and gave us four beautiful children and now 18 grandkids. And he has. He also has given me a challenge I never expected. It's a physical challenge. It's a mental, emotional, spiritual and financial challenge that I never expected. And that's becoming her caregiver. When did you all become believers? I was 35.

She was 34. I worked for a man who we're going to see here because we're down in the low country of South Carolina. They live in Charleston.

We're going to see them here in a day or two as their dear, dear friends. He was my battalion commander. And it wasn't just his knowing the words. He was raised as a Southern Baptist. He knows every verse in the right sequence. And I grew up Roman Catholic.

Roman Catholics didn't have Bibles in their churches, for crying out loud. And so I learned the Bible is a consequence of watching this man and his behavior. And so when he came to me and he gave me a copy of this book, and this is not the copy that I have in my hand that he gave me because the one he gave me is in pieces beside my bed at home. He said, read this on the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

And we were getting ready to deploy for seven months out to the Mediterranean from Camp Lejeune. And so I followed orders. I started at Genesis wondering who he was. I got to Leviticus and almost quit. And finally I got to Matthew's Gospel. And there in Matthew's Gospel is the passage that changed my life. And it's Matthew describing what it's like to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

And it's something I can understand. It's this passage about the centurion, a Roman soldier, an infantry officer. I'm an infantry officer.

I understand soldiering. I understand what this member of the occupying army was doing in Capernaum. And I've now been to Capernaum dozens of times leading groups to the Holy Land.

In fact, Betsy and I led six groups over 12 years to the Holy Land. And there reading about it, and right as we're coming into the Mediterranean, Capernaum is a place that's very important to the Roman economy because they've got salt and they've got fish. And there is Jesus Christ preaching. And the Roman soldier has heard enough about him. He comes down from his barracks at the top of the mountain, at the top of the hill, of the city. And he says to Jesus, I've got a sick servant at home.

Would you heal him? And Jesus says, and I'm paraphrasing, forgive me. Sure, let's go. And the Roman officer says, no, Lord, I'm not worthy that you should come into my house. I'm a man of authority. I can tell someone to come and they come.

I can tell someone to go and they go. All you have to do is say the word and my servant will be healed. Just as John Reynolds had healed me, kneeling in the dirt over my broken body. And John Reynolds, his modeled behavior was what led me to say, these are the words of Jesus Christ. This is the person I want to be a follower of.

And at the same time that was happening to me out in the Mediterranean, his wife Norwood was doing that to the wives of those of us who were deployed. And she led Betsy to the Lord the same way, by her example and by learning the words in that book. So we were blessed right from the get go.

That was 1977. So I was just barely 35. And for the last 40 some odd years, we've known Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And that's a darn good thing because there's no good reason for me to be alive.

I've been almost dead so many times, it's hard to count them all. And yet Jesus was saving me for a purpose. And now that purpose is I'm that person who is her caregiver first and foremost. And you've taught me a lot of how to do better at it.

Well you're very gracious to say that. And I'm listening to that because I know enough of your story to know how your faith must have been tremendously tested in very dark and lonely times. And then to go through all that you've gone through and then now here at the sunset era of your life where you'd like to be able just to sit back and relax, it's being tested in ways that you've never expected. What is a verse, what is a passage in scripture that particularly sustains you now as a caregiver and why? Well Romans 8 28, we know all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. I think I got it right. And that certainly is relevant to where I am right now. And all things will work together for good, not necessarily by my definition.

Okay? I know where I'm going and why I'm going there. And why she's going there. Because our Lord and Savior is going to say, well don't throw him into hell, he's one of mine. I want him to be where I am for my greater honor and glory, right? That wonderful passage. Well it's like Alistair Biggs said with the, he had a great message about the thief on the cross that shows up in the heaven and they're asking, why are you here?

He said, well the man on the middle cross said I could come. And that's it. Yeah. And so all things work together for good. And the good is not my definition. What we have given up, the spontaneity of what we look forward to. I mean, I promised her I was going to retire at 80.

Okay? And almost made it. I retired a little bit before 80 because of this. One of the great blessings in my life is I've spent my entire life in the company of heroes. My dad was the first hero I ever knew. A hero from World War II. All my uncles were Marines and they were all heroes in the Korean War, World War II or both.

And so I did that for 25 years in the Marines and then Fox News hired me and Fox paid me a heck of a lot more to get shot at than the Marine Corps did. And thank God because we saved a lot. And thankfully we did because now we're caught in a situation where we need it and we need the help. So the spontaneity of what we caught on the bucket list of Betsy.

If Betsy were here in the room right now and I said, what are the first three things you want to do as soon as you get better? I said, well, I want to lead another group to Israel. We did six of them over a 12 year period of 50 plus, over a hundred sometimes. And it was a powerful experience. I learned something every time I went and I've been to Israel over 30 times in my life. So I'd do another trip to Israel. I'd love to do another river cruise. The last river cruise we did was from Paris down to Normandy to celebrate the sacrifice on a June morning in 1944.

And we did a bunch of other rivers. And she said, we'll go down to my beach house in South Carolina. Of course, that's where we are now for the longest period in all the years she designed and built this house. One of the things I tell all my male friends and all my male 11 grandsons, marry up.

I did. And you want to know what marry up is? Check the last verses of Proverbs 31 and you'll find out the kind of woman I married.

And that's the kind of woman you want to marry. We're going to take a quick break here. We're talking with Colonel Oliver North and we're talking about caregiving.

We're talking about trust in Christ in it. We're going to hear some more of his thoughts on that when we come back. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll be right back. I'm Gracie Rosenberger. After losing both of my legs, I have a clear understanding of the importance of prosthetic limbs. That's why I founded Standing with Hope, a prosthetic limb ministry helping workers in Ghana provide limbs for their own people, all to point others to Christ.

We provide training, equipment, and recycled parts from donated used limbs. I invite you to visit so you can participate. That's Oh, let this one heart give you room. Take this one heart, dear Lord, and fill it with one heart and honor you above by living faithfully. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. That is my wife, Gracie. That is the first song I think I ever heard her sing. It's called One Heart.

We recently got in the studio and cut that again. I just love listening to her sing. It does more to me than I can express here on this program. Living faithfully in your love. We're continuing our conversation with Colonel Oliver North.

We heard in the last block the fabulous story about how he and his wife met, the journey they've had, the things that she had hoped that they would do as they approached the sunset years. She finally got in to slow down. Not easy to get a Marine to slow down. You don't ever say former Marine, by the way. My dad, 30 something years in the Navy, he'll tell you, you don't say former Marine. They are a Marine, period. Did I get that right, Colonel? I am an infantry officer. And by the way, she constantly reminds me, she is a civilian.

She outbreaks you. You took a different turn than what you expected for your retirement. You outlined this in the forward that you graciously wrote in my book. Tell us a little bit about what happened, what that was like, and then where you have gone now since then. So in 2018, I was on an overseas deployment.

Most of my deployments for Fox were a lot shorter than those that I covered, but I did over 60 embeds, as they called them, with different U.S. and allied units over the course of the 20 some odd years of this war. And so I'd come back from my deployment covering the attack to liberate Mosul from ISIS. And I'd been gone for a couple of months and got back. I thought Betsy had a stroke.

Now, Betsy was on a trip with one of our daughters. I was not wounded. It said wounded in the press release.

And I wasn't, but I'd been hurt running so I wouldn't get wounded. And in the middle of the night, fell in a hole, crushed my right knee, took a wonderful Air Force flight back to the States. The C-17 Nightingales are flying hospitals. And through Blondesville, Germany, back to the States, out to what is now Walter Reed Hospital and a U.S. Army major who I'd seen earlier in the war overseas, operated, put a brand new experimental knee in my right leg. And a day later, I was home and Betsy got home and I thought she'd had a stroke. She didn't know I was going to be in surgery. So she comes back from Ireland with one of our nurse daughters at some international conference. And long and short of it, I did think she'd had a stroke.

And so I said to the kids, what have you done about mom? The right side of her body is spastic, it's weak. She couldn't use the walker that they'd gotten for her because, as she told the hospice nurse at one point, the hospice doctor at one point, he said, why aren't you using the walker? He says, because this is the only hand that works. She's shaking it left hand at him.

And if I use the walker, all I do is walk in circles. You're fired. And he came right back with, oh no, not again. So there's moments of great cognitive dissonance with Betsy, but there's also some really bright and humorous moments. Long and short of it, I took her out to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. A friend of ours was there and made the appointment. Four days later, they had the diagnosis. It's all symptomatic. There's no blood test. There's no x-ray.

There's no MRI. There's no imagery that you can use to certainly say this is what it is, but it's called degenerative corticobasal syndrome. I'd never heard of it.

I had no idea what it was about. It describes the symptoms and they're very graphic. And it describes the trajectory for this malady, and it's always deaf.

And I didn't put that in the foreword just because Betsy was reading the foreword and I didn't want to. She knows that she's got a terrible disease. She knows that she has enough cognizant recognition of what's happening. She knows I'm not like I used to be. And so I started learning everything I could about this and there's no particular medicine for it.

There's other medicines that are used for other purposes. And so I very quickly learned to rely on, you know, our pastor, who's a devout believer and a great leader of the Lord of a wonderful parish and in an Anglican church and good friends who had been through these kinds of things on our kids, two of whom are nurses, one of whom is married to a doctor and eventually to hospice. But in the middle of all that, you're going through this incredible, well, as I said, the biggest challenges of my life, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Never been through anything like it. And by the way, I've got to stop you on that because that says something because you've been through quite a few challenges. Oh, yeah. But nothing like this.

You're right. I've been almost dead a bunch of times. And just like you put in this book, there are times when it is deeply, deeply depressing.

If you sit and dwell on that long enough, you can see why people who are caregivers sometimes precede the person they're caring for in death. Now, I'm not that down, but I've been down. And so when you're discovering drug interactions that nobody knew about or when you're experiencing what I now call sundowner syndrome, you know, four o'clock in the afternoon, the world changes. Make sure you get the right medicine two or three o'clock in the afternoon.

And if you don't, you're going to pay a price. All of those kinds of things that are happening were new to me. And what helped immeasurably was this little book, which I guess you could take all hundred and whatever chapters it is, just one a day for that length of time. I ended up sitting in the bathroom, 15 chapters at a time. Okay. And just desperate to get that kind of input and to have reinforced in me those Bible verses, Romans 828, knowing where she's going, Romans 10, nine, if you confess to the ellipse, Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart, God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. So we know where we're going.

I just didn't expect it to be happening right now. And so I'm grateful for, if you're listening to this broadcast and you're a caregiver, you need this book. And the other one that I got open in front of me, and that's the Holy Bible.

So that's how I get through it, brother. And you're very gracious. And that's one of the reasons I wrote this book and all of this for me, Colonel North, is my efforts to speak to the 22 year old version of myself who married a woman with a broken body and just had no clue.

I was dumber than a box of hammers. And I put it in simple ways. And I wrote, I was writing out an interview for a written interview I was doing.

They asked me a bunch of questions yesterday. And one of them is I made a bold statement. I said, because I speak fluent caregiver, every sentence in this book, a caregiver is going to understand. And I mean that because I, people say, well, you could, you know, your stuff applies to more than just caregivers. You could have a bigger audience.

And I said, I'm not called to a bigger audience. I'm called to reach my fellow caregivers to comfort. One of my favorite verses in scriptures is when Paul says in Corinthians, you comfort one another with the same comfort that you yourself have received from the God of all comfort. And that's, that's kind of where I live because I realized what do I have that I have not received?

And I remember asking my pastor many years back in Nashville, when we lived there, Jim Bachman. And I said, you know, I've been listening to amazing sermons, amazing teaching. I've had the benefit of all this. What is my stewardship opportunity and responsibility with this? I mean, am I just, is this supposed to just be stuck with me or do I have a responsibility? And I do have a responsibility and I believe scripture teaches that. So all I'm doing is passing on what others have poured into me.

I've just aggregated it, but doing it one minute at a time. And I loved what you did with your Ford. You just got right to it. And one of my favorite chapters in the book, there was a scene from that movie. We were soldiers, which is one of my all time favorite movies where Mel Gibson playing Colonel Hal Moore. And I imagine you knew how more, and he got up and when, when everything was just going to hell and it was just all falling apart and those young men were so scared. And he said, we're going to take that Creek bed. We're going to take that hill. We're going to do this.

Everything was very micro stepped out. And so when you wrote your forward, again, very terse, just like a Marine would, but I think that's what we need as caregivers. We don't need these long treatises. We need it one minute at a time. Say it clearly, say it understandably so that we can function because when it's all coming at you, I don't know about you, but I get very disoriented at times.

We're solid ground. Just a sidebar on Hal Moore and Mel Gibson. When I interviewed Hal Moore for the documentary we were doing for Fox, he said to me off camera, I wish it had been on camera. He says, I said, well, what'd you think of the movie? He said, well, if I'd ever led a charge with my 45, like Mel Gibson did, that if court-martialed me instead of giving me a medal. You as the Marine, and I grew up with a father who's, you know, the military is extremely important to my father and I have a bunch of family members who served.

My son was in the army, but you bring a lifetime of discipline and training of tactical and strategic thinking. Did that serve you well as a caregiver when you found yourself in it? Were you able to go back and lean on it? Did you have to re-up end it?

Did you have to, how did that work? No, no, because in combat, what saves the lives of those who are responsible for the lives of others and theirs is situational awareness. I had no situational awareness whatsoever. I had no way of preparing for this.

The wonderful thing about the military is when they send you into combat, you're about as well-trained in our military as you could possibly be. There's nothing like it in the world, but there's nothing that prepares you for what's going to happen to you as a caregiver. So the spontaneity of life that was there, the kinds of things that you plan to do on your bucket list that are never going to happen, everything that you do every day takes longer than you ever could think of it being possible. And I'm not trying to be crude, but there's personal things that have to be done for personal cleanliness and things like that, that it takes me 15 seconds to deal with. It takes me 15 minutes to deal with it for Betsy. Okay.

That and I'm not smart enough to write a book in 10-minute increments. You know, I've gotten some special time right now because one of my dearest friends who's a doctor, retired, is keeping Betsy at bay long enough for us to finish this because 10 minutes, about every 10 minutes I get Betsy, I got a question for this. I got a question for that. I need to go to the bathroom.

I need to do this. And sometimes I'll look at my watch and say, ooh, ooh, I missed the three o'clock dose of such-and-such medicine. And you can tell because, or the oxygen, you know, she's got 24-7 oxygen now.

Well, who thought about doing that? And they started out with these great big tanks and now we're in these little generators and things like that. But you've got to make sure that those things are working right. Everything in life takes a lot longer. I fix the evening meal every day and breakfast most days. And it takes me a lot longer today than it used to when I just run downstairs, put the burgers and dogs on the grill, make the salad, put the tomatoes on top of the buns and bring them upstairs.

Not anymore. Everything takes twice as long as you once thought it would. Meanwhile, everybody's going, hey, we got dinner tonight.

Hold that thought. I want to talk about that more when we come back from the break, because the pace of caregiving can take its own toll on you. And I love what you talk about with loss of situational awareness.

We become disoriented. We're talking with Colonel Oliver North. He published my new book called A Minute for Caregivers When Every Day Feels Like Monday. This is Peter Rosenberger.

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An independent associate. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. I'm Peter Rosenberger. That's my wife Gracie from her CD, Resilient. I wrote that song, I Can Only Hold You Now, with my friend Buddy Bundlant back in Nashville.

Gracie did a marvelous job on that. I think it's appropriate to the conversation that we're having today with Colonel Oliver North, that we have to live here in this moment. We know there will be sorrows. We'll face that somehow. My hands can't hold tomorrow.

They can only hold you now. I want to circle back to something that you were saying in the last block about the friction that happens when the pace changes. I mean, that caregiving will force you to a pace that you may not like very much, and that's where a lot of friction comes. Fair statement? I would. Right word.

In fact, most of us want to have some degree of control over what's happening in our lives. In fact, one of the things that frustrates Betsy so much is she knows, I mean, this is a woman who is incredibly capable. I mean, remember, I was gone for most of our marriage up until this. She was at Camp Lejeune drinking the water down there for two and a half years. I was probably on the base with her and her family for less than four months total over those two and a half years. And that's because we were always deployed somewhere. We went off for two six-month deployments to the Mediterranean. I spent two full years overseas in Vietnam in the aftermath of that. And so my life was one of being absent and in total control because I was the boss, right?

I was either the company commander or the operations officer for the battalion or controlling what was going on in my life. And she was doing the rest of it. She did all the bills. She paid the mortgage. She made sure that the lights stayed on and the water kept running and the kids got to school and they had all of that stuff.

Did the taxes every year. In fact, worked for H&R Block. This is a very bright woman. And as I said, married up, Proverbs 31. And so I look at those control things of hers and mine that no longer exist. She can't tell you why she needs to go to bed. She just has to go to bed. She can't tell you why she's got to get up in the middle of the night, but she has to. She can't control over what time she's going to eat something. She can't just go and stand up by herself and go get a cookie or have a cup of coffee that she has no coffee at all anymore. Tastes have changed completely.

And so the lack of spontaneity on my part and the lack of spontaneity in hers creates enormous conflicts. So for me to take an entire hour out of the day, if I didn't have a really close friend and a doctor friend who'd been my radio operator in Vietnam, by the way, just your average Marine, right, comes back and becomes a doctor. He's now retired. We were trying to find one of the granddaughters to ride down here, got the beach with us from Virginia. And Jim and I were on the phone right after, because they've all got, they're going to this camp or they're teaching that or they're doing this sport.

Well, we ran out of caregivers. And so Jim said, I'll ride down with you. He can do that. And he did, thank God.

And so what we've got is Jim out there running plain guard. My exhaustion factor was I don't get to work out at any time I want anymore. If I can get a 10 minute workout in on the elliptical that the kids and Betsy bought for me years ago, so I don't have to run anymore, just get on the elliptical. I'm blessed, but I don't get to do that three times a week. And it's because every time I start something, something else happens that I got to pay attention to. And sometimes it's a doctor's appointment. Sometimes it's a nurse calling.

Sometimes it's one of the kids calling with better advice than I was getting from somebody else. But all of it needs to be done. And it's just, this book, by the way, this Minute for Caregiver. No, seriously, forgive my shameless promotion of this book.

This book saved me. Okay. I was desperate. We had not yet started hospice. This has been an enormous help in our neighborhood.

It's not the same way everywhere. I understand that. But in our case, it has been a tremendous help and I would never have started it.

But for what I read in this book about the need, a caregiver's need for help giving care, that's what this is. But see all this for me, I learned this all at the school of hard failure and I've had ample time to make pretty much every kind of mistake you can make. I think for me, Colonel North, is that I chafed against what I thought needed to happen. And there was an epiphany that I came to that, can I be settled in my heart? Can I be at peace no matter what's going on with Gracie? She lives with relentless pain every day. It's brutal for her.

Must I be miserable? Does that help her if I'm miserable while she's feeling all this pain and misery? No, it doesn't.

Well, if it doesn't, then what do I do about it? And more importantly, what does the scripture say about it? I can be content in all these things. Scripture says I can. I can be at peace with the pace. The pace of caregiving will dictate how we're going to live. Can we be at peace with it? Are we going to chafe against it? A lot of people quote Jeremiah 29, 11, which is, I know the plans I have for you.

And that's, I love that passage. However, they don't read a couple of verses up above it because they were praying, please get us out of here. Please take us back home. We're done with this. We don't want this. Take us out, which is kind of the caregiver's prayer.

Get us out of this. And God says to Jeremiah, be still. I put you here, go ahead and get married, build houses, plant vineyards, have children, have grandchildren. I'll move you when I'm ready because I know the plans I have for you. That's the context of that verse. For me as a caregiver, that was an incredible moment to understand that, that God says, this is where you are. This is where I've put you. I have not abandoned you.

Be still and trust me. And how do I know that I can trust him is because of the cross. That's solid ground for me to say, okay, he saw to it that I was born. He saw to it that I believed, and he will see me all the way through to glory and Gracie and Betsy and Oliver and all the rest of us that put our trust in him. This is what anchors me in those moments when I hang my head and weariness and frustration and grief and sorrow. And I look at it, I say, Lord, please.

But then I go back to that. My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches and glory through Christ. This is why I wrote this book that you were so gracious to publish because I wanted my fellow caregivers to see this and understand it in a way that made sense to them as a caregiver. And I can't thank you enough for affirming that, that I hit the mark from one, just one caregiving husband to another.

What are your thoughts about marriage as a husband in this situation? Cause a lot of men now are starting to become more caregivers more than they used to be. Well, in sickness and in health, good times and bad, never expected that I'd be in that situation. In fact, almost everybody who's known us any length of time automatically assumed she would bury me. So I've got my, my spot at Arlington already picked out right in the case of a military person, they put him down eight feet so that you can put her down when she comes. And that's most often the way that they inter the wife on top of the husband.

So Betsy's always said, well, I'm going to be in charge. And so I got you honey. The fact is, I believe, I believe the vows that we took in marriage. I believe that marriage is the best thing that ever happened to us. The byproducts of that marriage are those four kids, their mates, and now 18 grandkids. So my mission in life is not just to prove to them what a good caregiver is, but to show them. But I want those 18 grandkids to say, I mean, not all the battles, not all the medals, not all the stuff, but on the back of that gravestone of Arlington, I want them to put down, he showed us how to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Now for Maureen, the word semper fidelis aren't just a slogan, always faithful is a way of life. So I have no choice.

I have to be a good caregiver, the best possible caregiver. That's why your book helped. There's a passage in Mark's Gospel, 9th chapter, Jesus is walking along through town and the father comes up and says, my son has been afflicted with the demons ever since he was a child. And he's thrown himself in the water, tried to kill himself, tried to burn himself. Your friends over here tried to save him and couldn't.

Why couldn't he drive him out? And Jesus said, you have to believe. And he says, I do believe, but help me in my unbelief. Right? That's my favorite passage.

Okay. And you know what? Caregivers know all about that. Even if they don't know that verse, my prayer has been, Lord, you work miracles. You can solve Betsy's problem, boom, like that.

You can you can do it with any of us. And Jesus goes up and asks a bunch of questions. He knows the answers to.

Why is he doing that? Everybody around pay attention because I'm going to do something really important here. Jesus already knows the answers to all the questions he has, but he wants those, the 12 and the crowd that's gathered around him to hear this because it's important.

Jesus has been teaching me how to be a better follower of him. Just put my faith in him. It's going to be all right.

It may not work out quite the way I think it should, or Peter thinks it should, but it's going to work out okay. Romans 828 is true. Romans 10 9 is true. You have to believe in Mark's gospel is true. And so my encouragement is that you are encouraging thousands and thousands of others like me caught in what's the right answer?

Why is it? Why isn't there a miracle? And so my prayer has been, Lord, work a miracle.

But if that's not to be, please take her gently. And unlike most people who've ever been afflicted with this, she is not in pain. After she fell and broke her hip, the only thing she had for pain was Tylenol. The government of the United States gave me a brand new knee. I took every pain med they had. It didn't bother me a bit. She didn't need it. It's because the good Lord says this isn't going to bother you.

Your hip's going to be all right. And that happened right here in this building on New Year's Eve. After she'd already been diagnosed with this degenerative critical basal stuff, we were down here for New Year's. There was this crash. All the little kids had gone to bed.

The grownups were still outside watching the ball drop up in New York. With Griff Jenkins, my cameraman, for all those earlier trips, now is on the correct side of the camera. He's got his own show. And he was down here to film. The Chinese balloon was shot down right off my wife's walkway out to the beach. Well, it started out here in Montana. And somebody said, well, you can't shoot that down. You need a 50 caliber. And I said, we're in Montana.

That's not going to be a problem. Well, I wish you had it because literally the camera, the long lens that captured it was the Fox camera. And it was right there on the walkway out to the beach, right from her house here. So, yeah. But look, bottom line, what you've done is inspire me. I think it's going to be inspiring to everybody who reads it.

If you're going through any of the things that Peter and I have just talked about and you don't know some answers, you got to read this book. And I'm grateful personally. And I can assure you, my kids are grateful too. Dad, you got a better attitude now.

Yeah. I got inspired right here in this book. Thank you. Well, Colonel North, that's incredibly meaningful to hear from one caregiving husband to another. We have a savior that understands caring for a wounded bride. And that gives me great comfort and great, great hope. Thank you, brother. God bless you.

Thank you so much for the time. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is hope for the caregiver.

We'll see you next time. You've heard me talk about standing with hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs. And this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called CoreCivic. We met them over 11 years ago and they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks, all these things we can reuse and inmates help us do it. Before CoreCivic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville and I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere, and feet, boxes of them and so forth.

I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me and it got to be too much for me. And so I was very grateful that CoreCivic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction and we'd love to be a part of this. And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb.

And that's where the focus of Standing With Hope is. That's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prostheses. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years.

So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking. And it goes to this prison in Arizona where it's such an extraordinary ministry. Think with that, inmates volunteering for this. They want to do it.

And they've had amazing times with it. And I've had very moving conversation with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see, again, all of that at slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be. And we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope. Take my hand, lean on me, we will stand.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-03 08:19:10 / 2023-06-03 08:37:29 / 18

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