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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 111 - Counting Blessings

We're linked with Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday; please visit them for some really great marriage resources!

Terminal illness is a pretty awful road, for both the caregiver and the patient...but there are good things, true blessings to be found along the way.

We just have to look for them.

First and foremost, the inessentials of life are quickly burned away. When there's no energy to spend time doing things we think we should do...spending time with people we don't like, for instance, or attending social functions and entertainments that really bore us to tears...they're a lot easier to let drop.

Sure, there's an excuse..."Sorry, he just isn't up to it"...but the sense of relief can be palpable.

And that frees up what can become quality time. When there isn't all that much time left, minutes and hours matter, and while pain and fatigue can engender pettiness, they can also give a sense of generosity and perspective.

Why get upset about a dropped dish, even if it was Grandma's favourite?

It's just a dish...and one of this couple, living now, is going to be dead soon.

Do you think Grandma would be thrashing in her grave, spitting fire, under the circumstances? (OK, some Grandmas might...but not most.)

Another blessing is the possibility of finding new kinds of togetherness. Maybe you can't go ski-ing together any more...but there's the possibility that both of you might find that you actually enjoy chess.

Who would have known?

What all of this takes is a certain spirit...a spirit of intentionality, and the willingness to face reality.

You can't turn back the clock to a time of health, so why not embrace that which you can  embrace, in the here and now?

And don't forget the most important embrace of all

Hug one another. A lot, and passionately.


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  1. My best advice to any couple is treasure the time you have together you don't know how much you have left. Although I am not the exact situation as you, but with my husband in prison I long for the days when we got into a stupid argument and wish I can take back so many things. As always, praying for you and Barbara

  2. You and Barbara are making choices that matter each and every minute of your day, aren't you, Andrew? And well you should! Time is precious and that has been brought into stark reality for the both of you. Keep those intimate moments of playing chess or giving a hug the priority over stressing and straining to go to another "get-together." There will always be more of those times, but not necessarily more of your days together. Great thoughts, my friend!

  3. Wow, Andrew! This was the happiest, most tender post yet. You're a changed man. Dare I say we're seeing the softer side of the man of steel? Congratulations. Not only is this so necessary, but very positive in its perspective.

    :) Finding new things you enjoy together is sage for any couple, but especially one whose countdown is visible. Encouraged to read your words.

    (p.s. If you visit bravegirlcommunity.com you can read my most recent post. "not forgotten".)

    Cheerio, good chap. You have not lost your fight, and you never shall, for your earthly death will be your greatest victory. There, death shall lose its sting as you declare Christ your King for all eternity.
    Until then, battle on, brave soldier.

  4. I LOVE this Andrew! ALL couples need the counsel you have blessed us with today.

  5. Love this, Andrew! This post made me wonder - why do any of us spend time with people we don't like doing things that make us miserable? It's a good question. The lesson I'm taking away from this post is that I don't need to be living with a terminal illness to live intentionally. Thank you for this!

  6. Good counsel for the land of the living. Give Barbara my love.

  7. Good counsel for the land of the living. Give Barbara my love.

  8. Oh yes...HUGS are always good! And doing things together you never would have thought...chess, huh?! I never learned that one; but in my family - minus my husband - we have always enjoyed puzzles, cards and board (and other) games; especially once my mother went into a nursing home. My oldest grandson would love to go with me to visit her and play bingo; the other residents LOVED to see him...he is now 16 and is such a loving young man; so tender and caring. Growing up, we always had games going when we'd get together. So happy to hear that you and Barb are finding enjoyment in what CAN be done together.

    I'm not going to be jealous...but it would make our retirement so much better IF we did things like that together. I'll just be happy that we can share some TV shows like American Idol or other talent-type shows.

    Enjoy what you can, when you can, while you can, Andrew!! And gather all the hugs you can handle...consider yourself {{cyber-hugged}}!!