As I have stated in other posts, I have been caring for my husband in some form or fashion for the last ten years. June 17th was his birthday, he turned 67. Diagnosed at 57... so young, so much life to live, and so much still to accomplish. Because of his birthday, this inauspicious anniversary has been fresh in my mind for the last few days; a decade in the on-going saga of this thankless endeavor called, 'caregiver.' This is a title no one ever strives for, it is assigned without any fanfare or preparation.
The emotional roller coaster for the caregiver throws us from side to side and up and down with relentless movement. A brief lull may occur, hardly time to catch our breath, and the wild ride begins its violent motion once again. The one thought, or prayer, if you will, is “When will this wild ride end...I want to get off!” And then, of course, following quickly behind that thought, is the guilt that accompanies our ever waking moment and accusing voices in our head, that reiterates deep seated thoughts of inadequacies and weaknesses. I need oxygen! A friend gave me a bracelet with a little charm on it that simply says, “Just Breathe.” It's surprising sometimes just how much effort it seems to take to just do that.
I really don't mean to complain, that is not my intention. I simply want to help those of you that are watching from the outside gain a little clarity of those of us that are in the midst of this carnival ride...understanding brings comfort.
The other morning my husband looked as if he was taking a downward spiral almost to the point I thought I might need to call in the family...the situation passed. The interesting thing that came from that early morning event is that the thing I thought I wanted caused in me an unexpected panic at the realization of the loss that might be at hand. It is at times like these that I have come to the conclusion it is a lose/lose scenario for some of us. The on-going care is draining but the reality of the loss of his physical presence brought about a lament in my heart that was seismic. It may seem to be lose/lose for me but it would be a win for him to transition out of a mind and body that refuses to engage...in that I must find comfort when this roller coaster ride coasts to a final stop.