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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 198 - Words Are Important

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages. Please visit for some really good posts on marriage.

This is going to be a short one. I feel awful. Sorry.

In the Bible it's called prophesying - speaking predictive words about or 'over' a person. Usually it's good stuff...a hopeful and faith-ful desire for that person's happiness and success.

But caregiving grinds you down, and it's not hard to get into a bad place with words, with the best of intentions.

"You're doing worse..." said sympathetically.

"I could see the day coming when I'd have to help you bathe." And one does want to help.

"You'll have to be using a walker soon...and then a wheelchair, I think." This is called 'helping to get ready for the inevitable'.

And, in speaking (hopefully) out of earshot of the patient...

"I don't know how much longer he can go on. I think we'll lose him soon."

It's tempting to say that these are partially selfish, the caregiver having to face these apparent truths him or herself, and talking them out. That may have an element of truth, but I really believe that they are said with the bet of intentions, to help ease what can be a very difficult path for a dying spouse, by expressing sympathy and understanding.
Trouble is, they often make the situation worse. A person who's in a very hard fought to make it through each day upright doesn't need to be told that it's all in vain and that the deterioration will continue and indeed accelerate. He or she already knows that this is the likely course of events. A reminder isn't needed, and isn't really welcome, regardless of the good wishes with which it's delivered. The good wishes alone are really enough.

After all, God did make the world round so we couldn't see too far down the road.

Marley update...he's received a lot of support, but STILL NEEDS HELP TO BE SAVED.


He's up to nearly 200,000 signatures, but the local authorities are dragging their feet. They think that we'll give up and go away. We won't.

If you have a mment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

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  1. I love that last line about God making the world round, Andrew! And yes, it is so hard for you or anyone in your shoes to be here and yet not in the capacity you want or knowing it will all end very soon. I hate that you are facing that pain. On the one hand, I'm so very glad you're still here with us, but on the hand, your slow death must be excruciating for you and others to witness--especially Barbara. My prayers are that you feel God's comforting presence that eases the pain in some way.

  2. Still with you, Andrew, as you are still with us...yet, with the pain you are in, I pray that it eases somewhat soon so you aren't in the situation you are now in. I totally understand the talk; not to say "the wrong things" in front of the "patient"; not to talk at them instead of to them!

    I find myself sharing with my family and/or friends when I feel my husband's situation getting worse; or pouring it out in my writing. I totally understand...

    Sending HUGS though they hurt; and PRAYERS hoping they help!

  3. Andrew, this is such good advice. My son with MD is now in a wheelchair most of the time. He doesn't need to be reminded that his muscles are deteriorating. We need to just encourage him as much as we can to continue pursuing writing and drawing and moving forward at his own pace. We can still pray for healing but look to God for strength if healing doesn't come in this life.

    So sorry you've been struggling more lately. I pray that God will strengthen you and that you will know His presence every moment of the day.

    So glad you are still with us. Your words are making a difference and you are such an inspiration. I pray for you and your wife during this difficult time.


  4. I think at the heart of this is the humanity of a person. We want to be us, not our condition. If we lose a limb, we don't want to change our identity. Inside, we're still the same!
    The closest long-term condition I can empathize with you here is the three pregnancies I was blessed with.
    People didn't have anything else to ask me about except my health and discomfort and growing swelling body.
    Sometimes I would wish my pregnancy were invisible because I tired so of the same comments and remarks.

    So, I'll ask you if the sequel is close. I'm so eager to hear what happens next! :) Before your diagnosis, you were Andrew the Bold. Now you are Andrew the Brave. You're still Andrew, only better.
    You still have the same interests and desires. You have not ceased to be wonderful you. The pups know. We should be more like pups.