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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 245 - Was My Life Worthwhile?

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages; please visit Beth's site for some great marriage resources.

If you're caregiving for your spouse, you may be stunned to hear this question - "Was my life worthwhile?"

Indeed, it may hurt; in the face of a shared life, shared joys and sorrows, it may well feel like a slap in the face.

"Does he regret our life together?"

The short answer is no. It's not about you, and not about the life you shared. It's fundamentally about a lie. Two lies, actually.

The first is the Lie Of Hindsight, in which the dreams one cherished were possible, looking back, with an assumption of time and resources and position and abilities one simply didn't have. The last part of that equation gets lost, and the resources are assumed to have existed if one only had the gumption and faith.

So very untrue. Life happens in between our hearts' desires, and it spreads to fill our days with the mundane...and the necessary.

The honour of sitting up nights with an ailing parent are overlooked; the only thing that counts are the dreams, unrealized, of hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim.

The second lie is the Lie Of Relative Value, in which the very dreams themselves are questioned. What worth, in hiking the grand Canyon while millions are starving in the Sudan?

The answer, of course, is that life is about choices. The life that your mate lived was an integral part in the functioning of society...a small part, perhaps, but someone had to be there; someone had to show up at that job.

But it's hard to see, when even the Christian media trumpets the heroes of compassion...the rest of us are kind of left out. But those heroes need an infrastructure; we also serve who stand and wait.

Of course, pointing these out as lies isn't too effective. Your husband or wife has blinders on; in a real sense he or she wants to measure up as a failure, because at least the initial ideals were high!

So, what to do?

The best thing you can do is to accentuate the present positive. Be thankful - verbally - for the things your mate can still do for you. Be thankful for kind words and support, and for the prayers your spouse may offer in your behalf.

Say, "I'm glad I married you." You don't know how important that is to hear, when everything elses is slipping away.

And give your husband or wife a hug and kiss, whenever you can. That, YOU will never regret.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone  you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, 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.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. I needed to read this tonight, my friend. Thank you.

    1. Marie, I am so glad I could help you. You're in my prayers.

  2. I love your words, Andrew, "accentuate the present positive." We should do this more often in all situations--well or sick. And I can totally understand why a terminally ill spouse would ask the very question that begun your response here in this post. We all want to know that we matter to our mates, if to no one else. I do hope you get to hear more than just once or twice that Barbara is glad she married you.

    I hope Barbara's bout with the flu is better. Been praying for you both!

    1. Beth, thank you for this. You're so right, that ultimately that 'relational' question, and the 'spousal' answer, is for most the ultimate definition of a well-lived life...being loved, and loving in return.

      Barb's getting better, but the side-effects are lingering. Thanks so much for the prayers...you and yours are in ours!

  3. As usual, our words are putting me into carpe deum mode. I don't want to wait until the very end to take care of these relationship issues. Thank you for using your incredibly hard road as a platform for topics that are difficult, but necessary.

    1. Michele, you're so right that it's best not to wait too long. And thank you so much for being here today.

  4. Your words hit me in a tender spot today. This past year I cared for my dad as he declined in health and passed away the end of August. I admit there were times I was not very grateful and even frustrated. My dad has always been a very patient man and he leaned in over and over to really get to know me. We ended every conversation by telling each other "I love you". Your words make a difference Andrew! Thank you!

    1. Mary, thank you for sharing this. Caregiving is so hard, and it can be very frustrating. I'm so glad that you and your Dad were able to let each other know the love you shared.

      I'm so grateful for your presence here.

  5. "..but someone had to be there; someone had to show up at that job.

    But it's hard to see, when even the Christian media trumpets the heroes of compassion...the rest of us are kind of left out."

    So many words from here sunk in deep. I think this post spoke to me more than anything I've read in a long time. ((hugs to you and yours))

    1. Meg, thank you so much for your kind words! It is easy to feel left out when we here the stories of the 'giants of charity', but what's never really mentioned is that charity has to begin at home, in the form of love, compassion and patience for those around us. It won't help the starving multitudes to neglect one's own wife or husband.

      I'm so happy to see you here today!

  6. Richard never forgot to tell me that he was glad he was married to me! And even though taking care of him was tiring, frustrating, and scary, I was glad I was married to him. In fact, I would happily have him back and do the struggle all over again. But that would be so selfish of me to deny him where he is today. It is so important to continue to hug, kiss, and touch each other!! Hugs from me to you today!!

    1. Oh, Paula, thank you for sharing this, and giving us a glimpse into your heart...and into Richard's. Your words really shine with the love in your heart, and with your faith.

      You are a hero to us.