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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 5 - Hearts (Wedded Wednesday)

"Hearts are not flint,
and flints are rent;
hearts are not steel,
and steel is bent."

Sir Walter Scott, "Rokeby"

It's a road that's going to break your heart, but that, as they say, is the price of love.

Hard comfort, that. Is there anything that can make the path less painful?

Well, yes and no. Watching the love of your life fade away is never going to have its good points, but there are some things you can do that will at least minimize the regrets that will inevitably accompany every look back.

First, and this is a recurring theme, take care of yourself. Keep things in your life that identify you as something other than a caregiver. This will give you the grounding and perspective that will be an armour against hopelessness and resentment.

Second, document the positive. There are two ways you can do this, and I'd recommend using both.

Journaling can help you work through your feelings, and when you write things down - positive things - you preserve them. There's the saying that if you didn't write it down, it never happened...so write down  your mate's good days, and the joy you still share together.

And make a visual record, with photos and video. It may be a long time until you have the heart to go back and look at them, but both the immediate action of preserving the moment, and the knowledge that the images will be waiting will be a balm to the heart.

When a house burns down, why do you think the first thing people try to save is a photo album?

Finally, share times with friends and family. Shared memories..."remember when he did THAT?"...can bring back the best parts of our memories.

With tears, yes.

But as Gandalf said at the end of "Lord Of The Rings"...

Not all tears are an evil.


  1. Andrew, as difficult as it is to read your words—knowing you write from personal experience and wishing it wasn't true—your thoughts seem spot on. Take care of yourself. Document the positive. Such wisdom in these words.

    Praying for you tonight, friend.

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. I do need the prayers. Today was not a lot of fun.

      Still here, though. And still writing!

  2. Definitely not all tears are an evil. I often think of tears as a cleansing and as I've heard somewhere in the blogosphere as "liquid prayers." Thank you, Andrew for sharing what only a dying spouse would have the perspective to share. We are inspired by your courage at this time.

    1. Liquid Prayers...I really like that.

      And...thank you so very much.

  3. I've been reading through this series ... Andrew, you have such a way with words. "Please don't die" ... I hope to remember these tender words forever.

    1. Shelli, I'm so glad you're here. My internet time has been very limited, so I haven't been able to stop by your place, and I can never get back to B&S until the conversations are over...but you have been in my thoughts and prayers.

      I still aim to go for a while yet. I love a challenge, and survival is my biggest one now.

    2. I've missed you. You can't go ... you're probably my greatest encourager. Jennifer Major is right up there with you though. :) I can only imagine the many others you continue to encourage. But you know you're in my thoughts and prayers continually ... a day doesn't pass that I don't think of you. I'll be glad when your internet is back.

    3. You just made me cry, Shelli.

      Good tears.

  4. Thank you as always for sharing your words. It is true that these words could only be written from the perspective you give to us, your readers/followers/connections/
    FRIENDS...You are a very brave man and I appreciate your heart-felt sharing with these last few - well all - of your posts! Thank you - prayers for you and your wife and family...

    1. Barbara, thank you so much. Y'all are truly my friends...and y'all have carried me farther, and through more than you know.

  5. Your words are so kind... real gentle, understanding advice here. It's a wonder and inspiration to see this, when many others would be blinded by their suffering to others' needs. You are such a blessing.

    1. Thank you so much, Ruth.

      The one salient feature of this journey hasf been an appreciation of the value of compassion...and that receiving it with grace requires the ability to show it.

      For all the travail has been a learning I would not want to have missed.

  6. Andrew, am reading your posts in this series and my admiration for your bravery has been taken to new heights. Thinking of you. Helen