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Monday, May 25, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 9 - Fairness

Caregivers live in the shadows.

The attention of family and community is on the soon-to-be-dead-dude, and the caregiver generally gets a pat on the back, and "that must be rough (and better you than me)".

A caregiver gets sick, and expects of herself a quick recovery, to be back in harness soon.

The person becomes the role, and that's unfair.

YOU are important, for yourself. Your health is important, not because it has an effect on caregiving, but because it has an effect on your life, your happiness.

I am the dying dude. Please trust me on this...as I fade, I want my wife to bloom. I want her to be healthy and happy, and NOT to feel forever defined...and having her 'after the battle' life diminished...by this experience.

And one cannot, and should not compare pain. A stubbed toe hurts. It doesn't hurt as much as pancreatic cancer, but the latter simply isn't accessible to the caregiver.

But the toe, nail crushed and bloody, still hurts.

And it is my privilege to try to kiss away the pain, because it's real.

And it affects the person I love more than anyone.

I don't want her to hurt.


  1. When we participated in Relay for Life, we were asked to walk a caregiver's lap for the care we had given our baby through her cancer treatments. Military men were on the sidelines doing push-ups as we walked ... for us. That will humble you to your knees. Tears. I never thought much of the care we gave her ... we had to, wanted to ... it wasn't till it was all over that I really allowed myself to feel it. Oh mercy, and it washed over me like a torrent.

    1. That's lovely, Shelli...thank you for blessing us with that!

  2. Oh my, Andrew! What words you share - always! The caregiver IS defined by what they do - this is true; but you are so sweet to understand (and know so well) that there will be a time she will need to define herself as...something different than a caregiver.

    Your words bring a lump to my throat! "...the person I love more than anyone". What beautiful words! Does your wife have any idea how powerful your words are to those you let read your heart and soul?!

    Thank you for sharing...praying for you both!

    1. Thank you, Barbara!

      I do try to let her know how much she means to me...and the next post, that just went live, says it pretty directly.

  3. Amen & Amen to this one!
    When we cared for my mom a few people saw what we were doing and stepped along side to help. Not enough, but some, and it was deeply appreciated.
    If you know a caregiver, how can you help them?

    1. Thanks, Paul!

      I think the best way to help is to be direct...ask "how can I help you?" in a way that bespeaks your sincerity...and then do what's asked, promptly and well.

      Then do it again, and you'll be entrusted with Bigger Things.

      Thus, I think...comes help.

      Sorry it took me a few days to reply. The weekend was hellish. Pain simply stopped me, hard.