• Kim Q. Ivey

Father's Day

So, in the meantime, Father God, help me. I'm at an impasse and I guess I just need you to show up for me in a very miraculous way and put me in a job that works best for me and Jonathan and gives you honor and glory -where You show up in me on a daily, continual basis, and I don't lean on my own understanding or fear, but entrust myself entirely to you. Prayerfully, you do this before CA ends - before my savings dry out by end of July. I have to believe you will do it.

On this Father's day, 2019, be for me the Father you have always been. The word says, if a child asks for a fish, will his father give him a stone? No. If a loving, earthly father knows how to give his children good things, how much more shall my Father in Heaven grant me the desires of my heart!

Waiting on you God. Trusting in You Father. Hoping - BELIEVING - that the next time I visit here it will be to post that you have answered my prayer. - June 9, 2019

Well, rather than a year later, I'm writing now, almost 2 years later, to report that, soon after this post, an answer to my prayer started to gain momentum.

I was contacted by Walmart eCommerce in response to an application to complete a returnship with the company as a Technical Program Manager. I found out about returnships (opportunities for professionals who stepped away for caregiving reasons to return to their field and build new skills and potentially land a permanent gig) while searching for work on LinkedIn. Through Career Attraction, I found myself increasingly applying to Project Management positions, though by no means did I want to return to the field. The post on 6/9/19 was really about what I truly wanted, which is marriage, a home and family to care for, and the freedom to write and edit.

God saw fit to not fulfill that desire, but to, as I should have known he would, put me smack back where He seems to want me: Doing work that I feel utterly ill-equipped to do, usually with a great team of understanding, hard-working, creative and supremely intelligent folks. After extensive support and help from some of my Career Attraction gal pals, who helped me put together a required Program Manager status presentation, I was blessed with the returnship in August 2019, and then, in the 11th hour, when an offer for a permanent position with the great manager I'd worked for during the returnship almost fell through, I was blessed once again, getting picked up by yet another great team for the Technical Project Manager assignment I'm currently in - since December 2019.

My first manager and the gentleman with whom he interviewed me with are now both gone. They were part of, the company Walmart eCommerce purchased to essentially steal their intellectual capital and CEO. Once they got what they needed, a lot of the founding engineers got sweet package deals to go off to do something else (and the former CEO resigned to go do more fun start-up stuff and put in a bid with Alex Rodriguez to purchase a basketball team). My manager, Bernard, landed a CTO position at a cool start-up - basically doing what he had done at Jet but with more responsibility (and financial reward). He landed on his two feet. I once again landed, wobbly, on one.

Am I grateful for my job. Yes. I'm being paid more than I've ever been paid in my life. Again, my team is absolutely awesome. The only real issue early in my time with Walmart, outside of my persistent sense of being a fraud and not wanting to work in technology, was the 2 hour commute each way to Hoboken, which was killing me. It ate up my time with Jonathan and whatever energy I needed to be more consistent with spending time with my parents. However, beggars can't be choosers. This is what the Lord provided and I had to accept it with grace and thankfulness - and make sure I let others know that indeed I was grateful to be working - having felt like a lazy bum for the prior 6 years being in and out of work and seemingly living off my mom as a grown-ass 50 something woman!

And then the pandemic hit.

With it was the end of my daily commute and the dream fulfilled of working full-time from home, which is now Walmart Global Tech's (our new name) way of working. That is a HUGE gift. And one more reason for me to be grateful, thankful, maybe even enthusiastic about my gig and being able to do it working with such great people. Knowing Father God is indeed working through me in it, because, as it's always been in this world of technology, I don't understand what anyone is doing nor have been able to achieve any real understanding even after frequent questioning, reading, being tutored, etc. I remain lost and endlessly confused and I guess that's just the way He likes it.

I hate it. Even more so, I hate it today.

Though I title this post, Father' Day, it is not Father's Day yet, being only 5/2/21. Mother's day is next Sunday, and on it I believe I'll finally be able to spend face to face time with my mother after a year of pandemic restricted contact. She herself contracted and recovered from COVID last April, only to come out of it, even less of her former self, because of COVID's relentless attack on her existing dementia. She survived COVID - but little of the she that she was remains. A year ago, we could still sit down and talk to her, take her out. She was still mobile - she generally recognized us. Today, the memory loss is significant, she's no longer mobile, her countenance more ragged - aged. It's been hard because she neither looks like herself, nor has any remnants of the sweeter nature she had begin to walk in during these latter years of her life. There was still fire -- particularly in those years when the dementia was just starting and she would rage and I was fearful for both Jonathan and I -- but she had settled into a sweet place in Memory Care. It's been hard having video chats because she can't negotiate looking into the tablet camera - generally looking down or away - dozing at times. In person outdoor visits across a long table not much better. I've felt impotent getting the staff to make sure she has her dentures in - to secure her new glasses after the pair she had went missing during all her different covid treatments. My hope is that it will get better once I'm able to see her in her room again. At the same time, there is a stealth sense of terror about now going to visit her - spending time with her in her current state. Especially now...


Daddy -- Daddy through the pandemic was wonderful. He remained his giving self...not wanting to be a bother. Always more concerned about us than wanting us to be concerned about him. Even after the one kidney decided to not act right so that he needed to start dialysis. He did it without complaint.

During 2020, my job got crazy -- the hours intense. So many COVID related projects. That stealth sense that the lie of me being a true TPM would eventually be found out - so I needed to work harder - more hours. As a result, I didn't call him like I should have (in reality, maybe I never did). I didn't set up enough video chats - or go out to visit him enough for outdoor visits during the summer and early fall. I kept forgetting to forge out time to do it. And then he would call and I'd feel guilty and ashamed that I hadn't called first, using my evening wine/tv therapy to forget how much I wasn't doing - how I was failing both my parents.

As the pandemic lingered on, Daddy got a bit depressed - the lack of personal contact and the absence of his regular activities (bible study, doing daily announcements, even just sitting outside) were eating away at his peace and joy. I thought maybe he should be put on antidepressants. The nursing home agreed and it was the miracle elixir. His mood returned to a place I hadn't seen it since before his injury in 2013. He was motivated to not need the hover lift to get in and out of bed and soon was able to get in and out of his chair with limited assistance and to get to the bathroom on his own - and he was walking again on the walker with assistance! He was chipper and it was exciting to see what might happen next. Maybe once again, as in 2017, they would feel the need to take his chair (that decision being thwarted by a diagnosis of cancer which resulted in the removal of one kidney). Just maybe God was doing something miraculous after so many years of things in our family being killed, stolen and destroyed.

But early in the year, my dad started complaining about pain in his neck and in his back. X-rays were done, but only arthritis was found. He kept complaining and with each complaint, he was getting weaker and weaker. His pain was causing him - this strong man - to even weep.

Late March he was admitted to the hospital. A week later, the diagnosis that the cancer had returned and was pretty much everywhere. The suggestion: Hospice. It would be best based on his age and his weakness. One more attack when things were turning around for him in the midst of his confinement. God was again allowing the enemy to stick it to our family - to twist and grind it in as deep as possible.

So, Daddy, Deacon Robert Ivey, started Hospice on 3/26/2021. I spent time with him daily - finally - in his room. It was a sweet time - and a bittersweet time. This job had initially bit into my ability to be there on a really consistent basis and then the pandemic. It was as if almost 1.5 years of our time together had been stolen -- like so many other things in our lives.

Yet I had those two weeks to spend with this kind, gentle, good, Godly, sweet-natured man. Even though we always had this awkward way with each other out love for one another was deep. Yes, I regret not spending enough time with him, but in reality, I don't think I could have ever probed for more time. During those months when I wasn't working but feverishly looking for work I would think - you should just go sit with Daddy during the day - or the same with my mom, once she went into memory care. However, my dad would have questioned why I was coming around so much. In fact, I never even let him know when I wasn't working. I was ashamed. He had worked a hard manufacturing job for 40+ years. No complaints. When I asked him during hospice about his time at CCA, he said he loved it because he learned a lot there. That was my father. He saw the good in everything and everyone. Just like my mother. He noticed the good in Vivian Orders, as she stood, 19 years old, 6 months pregnant, at a bus stop. He loved her. She was not always the kindest person to him. She was the choleric to his sanguine. He loved her as she was - he was able to do the same with me. He loved purely. Just a good, good man.

On April 11, 2021, my Daddy went home to be with the Lord. It still aches. I want to talk to him again. Touch him again. Hear his voice. I prayed over him and anointed him with oil, believing for a miracle the whole of his last week this side of heaven. I wanted him to remain here - be my emotional support for my mom's care - to be the active, parental presence that my mother no longer can be. He was the last man - and the most important, to have left this world and our lives - especially Jonathan's. These three men, while on this earth, loved Jonathan so well in the way they could: My dad, my brother Brandon, and our family friend, Mr. Norman. All gone. They all three also loved me well - and I didn't deserve it. I don't believe I ever to any extent loved them the same while they were here. I took them for granted. Father please, please forgive me.

At the funeral, I was celebrated by my parent's pastor for my care of my parents. Like my job, I've felt incapable, really a fraud in the role of caregiver - in the role of daughter, sister, mother, friend. It's a crippling way to live life - always being afraid of being found out. Just living a lie in terms of my expectations of what or who I should be and who I assume others believe me to be. This way of living is killing me - slowly - through wine, overeating, and depression. It has to end.

I won't be able to personally wish my dad a Happy Father's Day this year - but I can, even today, make a pre-Father's Day request of the Lord. It has less to do with obtaining my dream job, as expressed in that Father's Day post in 2019, than it is in me being able to accept the real -- the real of loss and dreams deferred - of brokeness, theft and death - but also the real and TRUTH that in the midst of it all, we have been - I have been tremendously blessed. There's also the real of me being unworthy of these blessings and being a real mess up at times, especially over these past 8 years - where I've made some dumb choices (usually of a financial nature) and chosen earthly spirits, food, and TV to distract me from some of the hard things I need to deal with, rather than time soaking in the presence of the Holy Spirit - my true comfort. Again, please forgive me Father.

Lord Jesus, help me to accept the real of me. Help me to be thankful for who I am and what I have and what you've done and not done and what you are doing and will do. Let the legacy of my Father's acceptance of his life - the ups and downs - even the loss of his freedom - spending his last 8 years confined to a wheelchair - his last year in a pandemic restricted nursing home - without the contact and activity he enjoyed - but still encouraging, caring, loving, kind and without complaint - let this way of living resonate in my life as well. His memory deserves that it does...

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