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Oh my, where do I start? How can I describe the fear that sets in when a loved one is changing? The only true love of your life is moving into a new realm.
We Can’t Change Life.
There is nothing to be done and nothing to change. When we have problems, we pray and have faith, but we cannot be sure God will change the circumstances. Instead, he may choose to make us stronger so we can handle what is to come.
No, where in the book of Life does it say we will live forever, and everything will be perfect. But when Life is young, and our bodies move freely, we never believe that day will come when we have to give into reality.
I sit at my computer and put these words to paper. I wonder what it must be like when a couple is married 40 or 50 or even 80 years, and sickness and death separated them. How can they go on?
1 Corinthians 10:13
Then I remember the grace of God. How he never gives us anything that we can not handle. It’s not that we are so kind and perfect but rather because his grace is so sufficient.
As I have mentioned many times in the past, I am an ER nurse, so I see things before most people do. Maybe even a year before others might notice symptoms. Also, I have witnessed the pain that elderly couples go through when their spouse nears the end of Life.
So Many Go Through It
I watched my mom go through the pain of watching the love of her Life pass away from pneumonia when he had Parkinson’s. He was not my birth father but more of a dad to me than I had ever known.
I sat with him while she slept because the demands of the care he required were too high. My mom was an incredible person. She loved this man with all of her heart and in death as in Life, she wanted him to have the best.
She is an example to all of us going through the times that we know are inevitable. She cooked for him, cleaned for him, and cared for him. She did what was expected of her even when he had no idea what was happening.
Then I think of my father-in-law who cared for his wife when she had Parkinson’s disease. It broke his heart when he had to put her in a nursing home. She had no idea who he was and became paranoid from the disease process.
Every day he went to the nursing home to see her and remind her she was loved.
I also have a young friend in her 50’s who has a sick husband. I have watched him decline and the workload on her increase. But she doesn’t notice how much work it is because she loves him and it came on slow. Each day seems like the one before.
Is it love that gives us this incredible desire to make sure the ones we have vowed our lives to get the care they deserve? Or is a sense of duty?
For some, it is love, and for others, it is a duty. Not all couples have an undying love that goes to the grave with their spouse. Everyone handles Life differently.
How does one deal with this incredible pain? How do they keep going each day when the one they love forgets what is said or no longer remembers them?
How we see life
You’re probably wondering why I would even think about something like this. The profession we work in throughout our lives tends to dictate how we see Life.
An accountant thinks in terms of numbers and runs situations through the numbers or finances. An engineer thinks in terms of black and white. There is no grey area. As does a medical professional, will think in terms of sickness and disease.
A pediatric nurse will always have a fear for their children, more than others. An ER nurse is faced with death every day and will see Life in the aspect of Life and death.
I could go on and on, but I am sure you understand what I am saying about how we think and deal with situations in Life.
How do you deal with this?
Back to how does one deal with the illness of their spouse? I am not sure they do. I think it sneaks up on the caregiver.
We never expect to lose the one we love. All of our lives, we enjoy each other, and then one-day things seem to be different. You see the thought processes change and the trips to the hospital increase.
If you stop to think about it, the fear will overwhelm you, so you keep going every day doing what you need to do. When the tasks at hand start to dominate all of your time, it came upon you gradually, so you don’t realize that your Life has changed.
Your mind adjusts, and you keep going because to quit is not an option. And if you stop, the fear will take over, and you may dwell on the outcome. The end is too painful, and the circle continues and perpetuates.
It is only in the quiet hours of the night when all is calm that you have time to think. But you push it from your mind because tomorrow will start over all too soon.
How many years did I see this cycle in the people who came into the ER? But I was young. I could see the underlying pain, but I could not understand how it felt. We can not know what another is going through until we reach their age or go through it ourselves.
I pray for your strength
For those of you who know what I am writing about and feel the words in your Life, I pray for strength for you and your family.
Prayer is the only way to handle a situation such as this.
You can’t change it, and you can’t accept it. So, to continue in strength and love will be the only way to cope.
The loss is real
The real difficulties will come when the care is no longer needed. You will feel the loss to the inner core of your existence.
I leave you with these thoughts. And I urge you to feel these words so you will have a better understanding of what it is like to feel the pain of the one you love. Offer support to those in need. They may not accept, but they will know you care.