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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: Confronting My Enemy
By Venice Kichura


“You didn’t give me my pain pills!” My mother-in-law screamed, stomping her cane.

“Did TOO, Nana!” I shouted back, showing her the signed paper where I’d scribbled down her afternoon pills.

“Did NOT! Even so, I need more---you’re mean!” My demented 85-year-old pill-head mother-in-law threw her TV Guide at my feet and hobbled back to the couch to watch “Days of Our Lives.”

When the sun came up, she wasn’t so bitchy, but when the sun went down, all hell broke loose. But that’s usually the case with patients suffering from dementia, better known as the “sundown disease”. But today she was getting an early start. It was only early afternoon and she was already riding her broomstick, shouting profanities at me, demanding more pills.

Caring for this senile old lady, who couldn’t remember what she did five minutes ago, had taken a toll on my mental health. A little voice said throw the blasted pills in her face---tell the old battleaxe, “go ahead and kill yourself.”

Instead, I left my bitchy mother-in-law alone to watch her soaps in the living room. I escaped upstairs, typing an email to my husband in Iraq. I was even angrier with him for joining the army. And the terrorists for this never-ending war. And, because my mother-in-law was five decades older than me----it wasn’t yet my time to care for a senile parent. Only thirty-five years old, but I was already part of the sandwich generation. I was also angry at my selfish brother-in-law who didn’t take responsibility with his own mother. Therefore, everything fell on our lap. Now with Ron gone off to war, everything fell into my lap. And I wasn’t even related to the old battleaxe. I was mad at the world.

I glanced at my red-hot face in the mirror. My eyes had hardened to angry pinpoint, the veins in my neck about to burst. Slamming the bedroom door, I stooped down to pick up my six-year-old daughter’s homework. I stared in shock at her artwork. The teacher had instructed the first-graders to draw pictures of their family. With her father gone off to war, she hadn’t even included Daddy in her drawing. Instead, she drew stick figures labeled, “Mamma” and “Nana”. Both women were raising their fists at each other, shouting, with Mamma hiding a bottle of pills behind her back.

Now the anger had transferred to my precious child. Her father has to know what this is doing to our daughter---Nana has to go to a nursing home before we all lose our minds. I just can’t take the rage in this house anymore.

“I’m so mad I’m spittin’ nails,” I began my email without even an introductory “hi honey.”

Before I could click the “send” button, a heard an inner voice gently whispered,she’s not your enemy.

Trying to ignore the little voice, I walked into her bedroom to straighten up her room when my eyes fell on her family bible. I opened it and unfolded an old letter penned to Nana from Ron’s Aunt Dottie, Nana’s oldest sister. The letter was dated, just days from our wedding, fifteen years ago.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I read, “I thank God for blessing my baby sister with such a lovely daughter-in-law. Now you finally have that daughter you’ve always wanted. I’m so thankful you love her.”

Yet that didn’t change the fact I was still angry. I refolded the letter, tucking it back in the bible. Then I thought how it had been awhile since I’d even opened a bible, or spent time in prayer, alone with God. But with all the stress caring for Nana, I was exhausted.

Then a verse jumped off the page…..”For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”*

Get angry at Satan! Another little voice spoke gently. He’s your real enemy. Not your mother-in-law.

I took my “sword”, Nana’s old bible, and opened to another underlined passage, taking authority over spirits of strife and confusion.

A peace settled in my heart and mind, as I prayed over our home. I commanded the ungodly spirits to leave in Jesus’ name.

Then I sat down at my laptop, finishing my email to Ron.

“Yes, I’m spittin’ nails mad,” I continued. “But now I know who the enemy is. And, just as you, I’m dressed for battle---I’ve gone to war.”

*2 Corinthians 10:4 (WBS)

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This article has been read 1147 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/09/07
You certainly captured the topic in this piece. I can feel it teeming from every sentence. I love the last paragraph too.
Chrissi Dunn08/10/07
Very well written. I could feel the narrator's anger as I read on.
Betty Castleberry08/10/07
This held my attention. You captured what Sundown Syndrome does to people very well.
My main suggestion for this piece would be to replace the mild profanity (the "B word) with something else. I'm not a prude, but just feel it could be said in another way. Having said that, this is a good piece that really shows the frustrations in dealing with a senile person. Well done.
Kristen Hester08/12/07
Oh, this touched home. My mother-in-law just spent 12 days at our home. She needs lots of help and was ugly and rude to my children at times. I needed your reminder last week! This is an excellent story. You have captured the MCs feelings and emotions well. Great job.
Jan Ross08/13/07
You captured the emotion of caring for an elderly MIL so powerfully. I would also suggest choosing another adjective other than the "b" word. I think it would enhance the power of the article. We had my MIL for several months when she was suffering from full dimentia among other things. It's a challenge, to say the least. I found myself getting angry and also had to remember she wasn't my enemy -- I was the daughter she never had. Great writing! :)
Mariane Holbrook 08/15/07
It was almost as if "the sins of the (parents) were being visited on the children". In this case, the sin of anger. But hey, we've all been there. I always like to see the word Bible capitalized because it's the word of God and I think it shows respect. But other than that and the "b" word which is easily corrected, this was an honest, well-written account of "having it up to here" in anger. Good job!