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......