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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 4 - Death Wish

This is an ugly one.

There are times when you are going to wish your mate will get it over with, already - and die.

You may put it into warm and fuzzy colours, like wishing the suffering would end, or wishing they could go home to Jesus...but the fact remains that a part of you is hoping for a death.

And you'll feel awful when those thoughts come up. You'll try to banish them, try to rationalize them away.

But the truth is that it's very likely that at some point on the dread passage, you'll wish the trip OVER.

Long goodbyes really suck.

For your mate, and for yourself.

You'll be tired of the road that leads to a door through which only one of you will pass. You'll reflect the strain of having a future while supporting someone who's got none.

You'll want to be released.

And that, dear heart...is all right. It's normal. It's how we cope, when the roads have to diverge.

It's what a hurting and very human being does.

But it's still not easy to process, not easy to live with that in your heart, so there are some things you may want to do.

First, try to keep a sense of perspective, looking at how rarely you actually have those thoughts. They loom large, but that's only the monster-shadow they cast. Journaling can help here...but be sure your journal is securely kept, for obvious reasons.

And it helps to have a shoulder to cry on. A counselor, pastor, or trusted friend can hold up an honest mirror that will bear a fair reflection.

Also, be sure to exercise self-care through involvement in activities that speak to you as an individual, and not as a caregiver. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, don't let this slide. You're important, as you.

One thing NOT to do is share the "I wish God would take you home" thought with your dying mate.

Aside from the fact that you can't fully know the 'state of faith' at that moment - he or she may be scared witless - that comment negates the good he or she is still trying to do in what life is left, with what strength remains.

Life is often the most precious to those about to lose it.

And your yearning for an ending, sometimes, reflects exactly that.

Your life is precious to you, because it's YOURS.

And it should be.


  1. Hard truths. But appreciated ones. May I keep these in my heart for now and may God release them again to me when the time is right. You're still blessing us, Andrew. Thank you, friend. Prayers are with you for this day.

    1. I gave this one a lot of thought; I've seen the phenomenon from both sides.

      The most important thing is that these feelings don't indicate a lack of love. They're simply the result of being placed in a situation in which there's no really positive outlook, and the heart takes the self-defense posture of looking past the ordeal.

      And thank you so much for the prayers.

  2. A brave post.

    Also true of dying relatives, not because you don't love them but because the pain, suffering and fear are so overwhelming.

    But of course the eventual death only exacerbates the feelings.

    I always pray people use this time to bless and say words of affirmation--clear the decks if you will--so that both the loved one and you are at peace when the end finally comes.


    1. Thanks, Michelle; you're absolutely right that the eventual death just snowballs the emotions.

      Clearing the decks is a good metaphor, and intentionally speaking words of affirmation is vital.

      It's also important to give a degree of hope, insofar as it's possible. This means, say, for a writer...encouraging him or her to keep writing, to stay engaged in the wrought community. There may be no reasonable hope for representation, or time to go through the implementation of a publishing contract, but just trying can raise morale, and give a person reason enough to face the day.

  3. Your words, as always, strike a chord with me...although my spouse/mate/whatever is not actually dying...I know there is that possibility for the future - at some point; and my thoughts go to the "single status" again sometimes; and that is not how I should be thinking of a spouse who needs someone to be his ears and his whatever, as well as his loving spouse. It is hard; and as I read about Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses from the sick person's perspective; and read your posts from YOUR perspective - it helps to put my mind and heart and thoughts in the right perspective.

    Keep on writing and sharing as much as you can; you are a blessing to one and all - and still praying with you, Andrew! Thank you for all of your words!

    1. Barbara, your road is harder than most can imagine.

      My prayers are with you, and I appreciate yours...and yeah, I'll keep writing.

      It's my best legacy.

  4. I remember watching my dad die from a rare sarcoma. It took him rather quickly--in about 4 months. But I also remember him saying that he prayed that God would take the cancer from him. This astounded me because he was a pastor and loved God deeply. I thought with all the pain he was going through he would want to go on, but he didn't on that day. And this broke my heart. I wished that he wouldn't say that because I just wanted him to be okay with dying--so I could be okay with him dying. Selfish, I know, but it was the way my thinking went on that day. Prayers for you, Andrew!

    1. Oh, Beth...that must have been so very hard.

      I have found that there are days I'm ok with dying...and other times, definitely not. Usually, it's "not"; not from a lack of faith, but because I'm just very irritated with the whole process. I am very highly trained to survive, and I am very good at it.