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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 283 - How Can I Help?

This post will be short and sweet, because I'm really feeling awful - and considered putting up a "too sick to write" sign.

However, there's something that needs to be said, a mistake I tend to make in being a good patient. So, dear caregivers, stick this one under the nose of your ill husband or wife...at the right moment.

Often Barbara asks me, "What can I do?"...or more wistfully, "I wish I could do something."

Being something of a fatalist, my stock answer tends to be, "There's nothing you or anyone can do."

It isn't meant badly, but I have realized that it can be a terribly hurtful thing to say. The desire to help is sincere, and even more sincere is the despair at not being able to do anything effective.

To have the hopelessness o the position underlined isn't pleasant. It may be 'bracing' for me, but it's also selfish.

Far better to say, "Thanks, I really appreciate it, your care means the world to me."

And better also, to ask for and graciously accept a small favour, like a glass of water, or a light for my cigar (yes, they still help against pain and nausea!).

The point here is that caregiving is interaction; it's not a 'job', it's the continuation of a relationship, and the required courtesies and kindnesses still apply...on both sides.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.

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... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

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 love (and need) this call to relationship, Andrew. It's so easy to slip into duty without compassion.

    1. Michele, you're so right...thank you for this.

  2. Acknowledging that their love and concern still have value is a HUGE factor in keeping love alive. Bravo for fighting for every word to bring life. Your pen is mighty and will defeat the enemy's sword as he attempts to sever marriages tested by terminal illness. You, Brave warrior, have struck swiftly and deeply today!!
    And Bravo to Barbara whose strength and courage are worthy of sonnets.
    Much love to you, my friends!

    1. Tammy, thank you so much for this lovely, uplifting comment! We are truly grateful.

      I wish I could write a sonnet, but the best I can do is an adaptation of the Notre Dame Fight Song...

      Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame
      Their defense is really lame!
      They are big and they look tough, but
      they play like little girls!

      Offense just hasn't a clue,
      they just don't know what to do!
      If the manage to get the ball, they'll
      give it right back to you.

      Special teams are really a mess
      (but the kicker looks HOT in a dress!).
      Guess that's why they have a priest,
      they've got lots to confess.

      Yeah. Pathetic.

      Love back, from all of us!

    2. Ba ha ha! This is great, Andrew. And now that they've lost their championship game, you predicted their lament. And now you're kicking them before you knew they were down. :D

    3. Barb is from Indiana, and her aunt is a huge ND fan...I kind of wrote it to give her a wry smile.

      And, actually, I am an ND supporter, too...but am hoping they have a sense of humour.

  3. Oh my - this is so wise and so right on! This goes for caregivers too: I remember people asking me what they could do to help when my son was ill and I was determined to be strong, to brace, as you say, and ride it out. I answered similarly to you - but over time I learned to accept help and thank each for their care, concern and support! Great post, Andrew!

    1. Carol, thank you for this...it's so easy, and can feel so RIGHT to want to be strong.

      And so hard to realize that truly our strength comes from making common cause with those who love us. A single reed is easily broken, but a bundle will defeat the strongest man.

  4. Andrew, I totally get it. Thank you for sharing. It's a great reminder to be humble.

  5. Yes and amen, Andrew. I think your words are spot on. Letting another help is important. For Barb, you give her a way to "love on" you. When one of my boys asked how he could help me recently, I almost gave my pat response, "I've got it." But, I'm modeling for him the grace that comes in accepting help and finding a way for him to help. Serving is a way to love.

    I'm glad you found a way to let Barb love you, even in the midst of your pain. Well done, friend.

    1. Jeanne, I know the phrase "I've got it" so VERY well!

      But you're so right; we have to model grace and the service that is love.

      Thanks so much for being here, my friend!

  6. I couldn't agree more, Andrew! I remember watching with astonishment (as well as horror) at how my young husband was so freely willing to have everyone and anyone do him favors. I was always SO independent and never wanted to be a burden to anyone. So this, as I mentioned above, horrified me! Until I saw how these people liked doing him favors. It actually endeared them to him. It was as if he was doing THEM a favor! That was when I realized that keeping everyone at arms length by remaining so self-sufficient wasn't a relief at all. It changed my entire view and trajectory when this situation presented itself time after time later. Now, I will say, I still have trouble accepting help or favors from my hubby. But I am so much better than I ever used to be. And I can totally see how this would draw you and Barbara together more. Her options for connecting with you are very limited, so I'm so glad to hear you say that you see this and are opening up to her in this way. Thanks for this powerful, albeit brief, post. Praying that you feel God's comfort and are sustained for as long as you want to keep on going. We sure are grateful you're still around, my friend!

    1. Beth, thank you so much for sharing the experience you guys had...that really ads a lot to the conversation, and I appreciate it.

      One thing I came to notice in myself is that I love doing things for others, especially secretly...and have a hard time accepting favours, as you do. I wonder if those are connected?

      Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful words, and especially for the prayers.