Thursday, December 19, 2013

Today I Grieve For What I Have NOT Lost


Very early this morning, before the first light of day had begun to break in the eastern sky, I sat in my recliner/rocker watching my husband breathe. In and out...in (long pause) and out. He has sleep apnea and sometimes it takes a while for the breath to come out. I have been putting his oxygen on at night the past several weeks. Especially with the pneumonia and the medications that all tend to suppress respiration. And as I watched him breathe I was going over what this year had been to us. It is so very hard to put my finger on why it is I feel so sad. I always seem to be sadder at Christmas than at any other time of the year. But this year it just seems to come upon me at crazy times and I feel the tears sting my eyes and the sadness over-whelm me. That is what I felt early this morning.

I had been awake off and on all night. He had called my name a few times. He needed to be reminded that he had a catheter or I needed to assist him with a drink of water. Or pick up the Kleenex box that had dropped on the floor. It is easy to feel the anger. But I remind myself that none of this is his fault and there isn't a thing he can do different. It is the disease. And I hate the disease.

Last year, at this time, we were sure that Richard would not survive past Christmas. But here he is still with us. Weaker, yes! More confused, yes! Needing more from me. Needing more from the kids. Just plain needing! If you know what I mean. It has been a hard year. But if I think about what the other side of this coin would be like, can I complain?

I am suffering from anticipatory grief. This kind of grief is so much like the grief that one goes through after the death of a loved one. Yet, the loved one is still here. I have read that there is far more anger involved in anticipatory grief. And I do feel the anger. And then I feel the guilt for feeling the anger. And then I feel depressed. It is such a vicious cycle. I find that I am struggling with the balance of 'holding on' and 'letting go'. I feel that grieving this way is giving up hope. And I know that there is NO hope. He won't get better. There is no cure. And he is almost 81 years old. And would I want to see him last, the way that he is, for more years. Or can I let him go. It is so hard. Letting go would be so much easier. But I don't want to let go. And I don't want to feel this sad. I want to wake up one day and not think about dying. I want to wake up one day and find some joy. I want him to know that I will be okay. Maybe that will bring him some peace. But right now I don't know that I will be okay......

10 comments:

  1. Paula, you took the words right from my mouth. May God send you the peace you so deserve and you WILL be okay...not right away and never the same as you were before this challenge but okay you will be...you are a strong woman.

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    1. Yes Wendy, I know that I will be okay. But I am getting awfully sick of being the strong one. I know that you know what I mean!

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  2. I wish I were there to cry with you. I pray for your peace. I don't really know what to say except that I am thinking of you and praying for you and just wanting to give you a hug and hold your hand for a little while. I love you Paula.

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    1. Thank you Cristy! I wish you were here too! Someday we will meet and have the time of our lives.

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    2. Yes, we will and I can't wait. :)

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  3. Christmas has been hard for me as well and increasing over the years. And I know exactly what you are saying about anticipatory grief. Exactly. I,too, wrote a post about my sorrow for my mom who has failed greatly this year. I didn't post it yet wondering if it was just the season bringing out this emotion. I will post it before the end of the year because posting releases some of those pent up emotions. I hope it is so for you as well.

    I share your tears as a caregiver. I wish I was close enough to give you a hug. Sometimes just a hug is enough to help you take another step.

    Consider yourself hugged.

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  4. I can't imagine what you're going through Paula, but I am always saddest at Christmas too, and have been for every year that I haven't had my daughter in my life. It, in no way, shape, or form, is anything like what you are going through, but sad is sad. I'm going to go to work Christmas day at my old building as a floor nurse, and try to give a little love and Christmas cheer to the elders under my care. Hopefully, that will chase my blues away. Much love, and know that I have you and your family in my thoughts.

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    1. I am sorry Lisa that I just saw this comment. You are so right. Why is it that it is always sadder at Christmas?

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  5. Oh sweetie. I can empathize so much with this. I just finished up my post about grief. I think you posted on it. Thank you! <3

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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    1. Yes I think it is harder to grieve for what we have lost than for who we are losing....

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