From the Author

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caregiving hero

Recently a family member died with hospice care at home.  He had been ill for many years but had the most wonderful caregiver.  His wife, Sandy, was with him for 50 years as his helpmate and lover. She was always willing to be available for encouragement, physical and emotional needs and supported him in his dreams, sometimes at the expense of her own.

As his illness progressed over 10 years, he required more and more care and eventually was unable to assist with any of his own care. Sandy unselfishly became his caregiver 24 hours a day, sometimes to the detriment of her own health.  She did all of this with a gentle, loving touch and with a deep faith.

When her husband died, Sandy was very sad because she was the only relative who was not crying. She felt relief that her husband was no longer suffering.  She could not understand why she had no tears, since she had been crying frequently in the last years and especially in the recent weeks.  She thought there was something wrong with her.  She was experiencing anticipatory grief with her grieving spaced out over the years as her husband's mind and body deteriorated.  Her worst sadness was the loss of the ability to converse with him. She lost the person she married years before the death of his body.  She had already grieved the death of his personality.

Sandy thought there was something wrong with her, that she didn't love her husband enough.  In fact, she did everything right and was the best wife, caregiver and friend her husband could have had.  She exemplified the beauty and dignity of a true marriage based on faith and love.  She just did her grieving slowly and steadily over the course of her husband's illness.  She was truly exhausted and could not have maintained her role as primary caregiver indefinitely.  She was relieved for him as well as for herself.  I have the greatest respect for the many caregiver heroes there are in this world. Thank you!

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