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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 123 - Pushing It

We're linked with Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday..please visit Beth for some great marriage resources!

Not to be immodest, but I used to be in great shape. Had to be, for my job.

Illness has made thing different; of the 'big three' of running, situps, and chin-ups (which is all you need), the last I could do were the chin-ups.

And I noticed something. If I set a goal during one set, the last chin-up was hard.

But if I set the mark one or two higher, getting past my previous 'goal' was easy.

The lesson here, for the caregiver, is that we can do more than we think we can, and that our expectations do, indeed, limit our performance.

So you can lean on your terminally ill spouse, a bit, to do more.

This is not a cruelty/ We all need to be needed, and we all need to live with the expectation that we will pull our weight for the common good for as long as we're able.

Trouble is, you see someone who's hurting, and you want to let them rest. It's natural, it's kind, and it's wrong.

For their own good, for their own self-respect, you've got to push the dying.

This isn't carte blanche to say, "Well, tough, I need this done, you can die later". (That would work fine for me, by the way.)

But it should make you feel more free to ask for help in the household duties that your dying husband or wife can reasonably do.

Mowing the lawn may be out, but addressing Christmas cards...probably not.

You may get some push-back, because indolence becomes a habit, when justified by pain and fatigue. Please believe me; I deal with it every day. There are things I should do and don't want to do, because it hurts...but I feel worlds better when I get them done, or at least do something.

When you push, you do have to be conscious of what's happening...you don't want to cross the line into thoughtlessness, and it's easy to do, especially when your spouse is eager to help. You need to see when helping becomes pushing becomes overdoing, and then...gently...slow it down.

We all need to be needed, even at death's door.

Let your mate know that you do need their help.

It's the best gift you can give.

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  1. "We all need to be needed, even at death's door." Thanks for sharing this, Andrew. May we all remember it!

  2. we all need to be needed...thank you for this reminder Andrew. And sometimes I wonder if my 'helping people' when I think they might need a rest, is actually not helping but rather letting them sink into a more weary spot. My question is how do you know how far is too far...just taking it by ear? start with easier things? change your expectations? thank you so much for this.

  3. I have the same type question as mytoesareblue. My DH has deep seated mental issues from his childhood. You'd never know he did by looking at him, but he struggles with depression. I try to do all I can around the house, and not put too much pressure on him to do anything. But...sometimes I feel like I am doing EVERYTHING. When I do ask him to do things, he says he will, but turns out he doesn't. Then, after a few days, I just do them myself. I know he needs to be needed, but he can't/won't lift himself out of his funk. Am I expecting too much, or should I stop cleaning up after him or doing what I asked? I leave it for as long as I can stand it, or do it after it has been so long, but I struggle wondering if I am letting him off too easy and not expecting him to uphold his end of us.