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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 305 - Oversharing

TMI is a watchword these days. Too much information.

Didn't need to know that.

Unfortunately, it's an easy trap for both caregivers and patients to fall into., and it can cause some problems down the road.

Caregiving is an unasked burden; even though it's implicit in our wedding vows, we wouldn't be human if we didn't hope that we'd never have to face it. And that holds true when we do it well, with all of the love we have, and all we receive from Above, flowing out to the patient.

It's a burden, and burdens need to be shared.

Unfortunately, the need to share doesn't always coincide with being in the company of the right person to share it with, and one can find oneself confiding descriptions, hopes and fears to the wrong ears.

Not hostile ears, but ears that are uncomfortable with what is said.

That's why every caregiver really needs a same-sex supportive friend, or a counselor, or a support group. There are places to bare one's soul, and we all need to find these, as places of safety to weep, and to mourn the loss that is coming, among people who understand.

The same thing goes for patients. We've all heard of the 'organ recital' of the chronically ill who will assail all an sundry with their symptoms, and it's a stereotype because it's all too true. I've done it, and even though I try to avoid it I have done it here, on this blog. (For which I offer an embarrassed apology.)

The patient's main outlet, especially when activities and travel are restricted, is the caregiving spouse. It's a tough burden, but it's real.

(It shouldn't go the other way...as a caregiver you should not unburden yourself to your sick husband or wife. Believe me, he or she already feels like a burden as is. This may be the topic of a future post, but meanwhile...please don't do it!)

What it all boils down to is this - we want to be heard. We want to find some affirmation in the words of others that what we're doing really matters, and that we are, in fact, doing our best in a situation that may seem, and in truth be, hopeless.

We owe it to ourselves and our husbands and wives, in our care, to be heard by those who understand. And we owe it to those who don't want or need our confidences not to impose them.

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please visit for some great marriage resources!

Music for today...how about Asia, and Only Time Will Tell?

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. And yet, the raw reality sometimes grounds us that death is not romantic, and I would not imagine any of your readers faulting your sharing. It's not been overly descriptive but it's where you are.

    Your first post I ever commented on was a shock piece but you are much more refined now.
    Cheers to honesty, and to friends, and to Barbara!!
    Love, Tammy
    PS "Did you hear about the corduroy pillow?"

    "It's making headlines."

    "Ha ha ha."


    1. The corduroy pillow...actually, that sounds kind of cool! Always loved cords.

      I do try to be real with this. It isn't pretty, and it isn't a Hallmark soft-focus-fade-out ending. But there is grace for those who have the nous, and perhaps the love, to seek it.

      Love back, from all of us!

  2. I can never sound like Tammy B so suffice it to say, your TMI hasn't offended me. And I send the same love and blessings as Tam' to you, Barb, and the woof-woof's. xo

    1. Susan, thank you so much! Love, blessings, and mad joyous barking back from all of us!

  3. I'm sure there's a tendency in any ongoing and strife-filled situation to want to share--overshare--with the wrong people. My husband and I have done this regarding an ongoing, painful situation in our lives. But we've also tried to be selective about who we share with. So I totally see how this could develop, but appreciate your words and warning about the sensitivity and discretion that is needed in these situations.

    In your situation, I would think it would be more than hard enough to go through your sickness, as well as being so dependent on your spouse through it all, but to then have the details of your day-to-day struggles be given to someone who should never be privy to such intimate and vulnerable moments would feel especially wounding. I don't know if that's what is going on for you, but I will pray for you, Andrew, on that front and, of course, on the health front as well, my friend. Thank you for the valuable resource on caregiving that you are!

    1. Beth, you're so right...we want and really need to share, for affirmation, reassurance and validation...and sometimes just to vent. And so, all to often, we mistake bonhomie for a friendship of a more intimate depth...and embarrass the heck out of ourselves and the person we're talking to. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

      I am lucky in that I tend to be pretty self-contained, and illness has forced me to develop a philosophical and theological framework that keeps me upright. But this is me, and I'm well aware that too much internalization has a price. It's better to live in community, and have the resources for sharing what is too painful to bear alone.

      Thank you so much for the prayers, my friend - I do need them, seemingly more than ever, day by day.

  4. I haven't felt you share too much. It is what it is. However I do not think caring for someone we love should ever be considered a 'burden' It is hard but it's not a burden. It's what we signed up for with for better or worse. I just kept telling myself that! Take Care!!

    1. Paula, thank you so much...and thank you for the perspective that caring for a loved one should never be thought a burden. It is indeed what we signed up for...but I fear that very many people truly felt it would never come to pass.

      So glad you're here!

  5. It is good for the caregiver to have someone to talk to about his/her hardships and grief as a caregiver. Even with having someone to talk to, it can still be isolating for the caregiver because unless someone has walked a similar path, they just don't get it.

    I don't think you've shared TMI here at all. You keep a good balance! It's good to be honest and realistic, and you are, and I thank you for that.

    Praying for you and Barbara tonight.

    1. Rachel, you're so right that it's really important to connect with someone who's walked a similar path. Some things are so hard to explain unless you;re talking to someone who is living them, or has in the past.

      I sure appreciate the feedback. I do try to keep all this honest, with no sugarcoating.

      Thank you for the prayers; we pray for you daily.

  6. Andrew,
    I haven't commented on here for awhile, and for that I apologize. I have, however, been keeping you and Barbara in my prayers.

    I'd like to go on record for agreeing with the voices above: I don't think you are guilty of TMI. I think you share what's important and needs to be heard, albeit perhaps not often talked about.

    I admire your courage for putting in the energy and effort it requires to get your feelings and thoughts out in these posts...I know it's not always easy. (And I don't even have the additional challenges that you face!)

    Continuing to hope and pray for a miracle...and so very thankful that you continue to stop by each week at our little "Coffee and Conversation" party... It makes me smile to see Sylvia ;-)

    1. Pat, it's so wonderful to see you here! Thank you!

      I sure appreciate your kind and gracious thoughts and words. They mean the world to me, and so, especially, do your prayers.

      I will tell Sylvia you said hi!

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