Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When My Husband Left Me with Three Kids!

Time for another One Word Wednesday! Lisa at My Sweet Peanut hosts this awesome little writing challenge. Today she said that we had now done 25 weeks of these. WOW...time flies. This week the word is one that speaks to my past care-giving days:

CHILDLIKE

After Richard's stroke in September 2011 (in fact it was three years ago today) I can remember feeling like I had lost my husband. I felt he had left me alone with three kids. Two were the grand-kids and the third was the one he had become. And, since I had to quit my job to take care of him, I also felt like I had lost half the income. Well, in fact I did lose half the income. I became the caretaker of the family. The caretaker of the home. The caretaker of the finances. The caretaker of everything. 

I have worked with older adults for many years. I have seen how childlike they become. But when it was my own husband acting like that....it gave me pause. He had to have his way. And we let him. He was in charge of the TV remote and if someone would say something he would have a tantrum. It got to where he messed the TV up every time he had the remote so I managed the TV for him. It was funny at times. And at times, not so much. He totally became one of the kids. He would argue with them. Spar with them for my attention. Be upset and whiny when he didn't get what he thought he should have. Most of the time I could laugh about it. The kids accepted that part of him much better than I did.

One day, I had gone to the grocery store. I took Darian and left Harley home with Papa. That is usually how it worked. One would go with me and one would stay with him. This particular day I had finished my shopping and was in the check-out line when I received a call from Harley.

Harley: Grandma, Papa won't let go of my ponytail.

Grandma: What? Why?

Harley: I wouldn't give him the TV remote. Just like you told me. He started talking to me really low and I couldn't hear him so I leaned forward towards him and he grabbed my ponytail and won't let go.

Grandma: Oh for God's sake. I can't even go to the store. I'll be home soon. Give him the remote. (and I hung up on her)

In about 15 minutes I walked into the house and looked into the living room. And there was Harley, head in Papa's lap, and his fingers were firmly entwined in her ponytail. And he wasn't going to let go. I had to pry those fingers loose. And he was mad. And it wasn't his fault. He didn't do anything wrong. It was all her fault. See what I mean?

Childlike! 

18 comments:

  1. I read somewhere that we can often hide things we don't like about ourselves, for instance being childlike like wanting to control the remote or other behaviors, while we are in good health and at our prime because its easier to control, but once we start aging or lose some of our functioning, it is harder to contain them and those behaviors that we don't want to exhibit end up being exhibited. This seems like what happened with Richard. Prior to stroke, I'm sure he would never had done such a thing. I saw similar things with hubby's parents as they aged and no longer had the ability to control that they might not want to display. Make sense?

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Paula ... you all managed so well and it must have been so difficult for you and the grandchildren - with thoughts on this 3rd anniversary ... and hugs - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't all that bad until towards the end. And then I think it was because we knew the end of coming...

      Delete
  3. Wow. That sounds a bit intense. I feel like that would have been hard to see. It's good you were able to laugh, too. I bet that helped things. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all laugh about it now. And tease Harley too. She now finds it funny

      Delete
  4. It was all their fault! Yep, the words of a child. You wrote a wonderfully apt blog for your prompt. I see the pain behind it, watching your man revert to a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sue. It is hard to witness...hard to deal with you partner as if he is a child.

      Delete
  5. Mom does the same thing - if I dare to talk to one of the kids about something she is not included in - she gets so mad! This weekend, I was talking to my husband about the kids' upcoming schedules so he could request times off to see their games, etc. and mom started "dee-dee-deeing" and when we just kept on talking, she "dee-dee-dee'd" even louder and at one point she leaned over and got right in my husband's face (and I mean RIGHT IN HIS FACE) and "dee-dee-dee'd" at him twice. Then she smiled, folded her hands in her lap and started to hum....we both had to run outside so she wouldn't hear us laughing...but it was an official temper tantrum!!! There is a special place in heaven for the caregivers (and no one pulls ponytails or dee-dee-dee's!!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yet we manage to keep our sense of humor. We'll be in that special place together Lisa!

      Delete
  6. I wonder how long it takes for the last memories to fade away and for us to start remembering them as they were before they weren't themselves any longer. I don't want all my memories of Mom to be about her illness.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank Goodness I have many more good memories of Richard that have nothing to do with his illness. I am sure you do too, Wendy.

      Delete
  7. Bless you Paula. It has been a long, hard road.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Seeing this gives me such insight to my mother's behavior near the end of her life. Obviously too late for mom and me -- but like so much of your witty (and raw) content, I hope it helps to ease someone else's path.
    True, I don't "KNOW-you-know you", but I feel pretty sure you never dreamed of carrying that proverbial lamp so others might take a lesson. Thank you, Paula.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome Myra. And I feel like I know you, know you!

      Delete
  9. They do, indeed, act like children at that stage. I know how heart breaking it is. But there will come a time when you can remember all the good things you two had from before, and with a lessening or the heart ache. You are still grieving. That is normal. Richard was a wonderful guy, and you will remember all of that as time passes. You said that you felt some anger at God. That, too, is normal. Blessings, Paula

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Zippi. I am getting through this only with the help of my bestest blogging friends...

      Delete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!