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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 399 - Caregiver, You Have The Rest of Your Life {#write31days}

This is a brutal truth. When you're caring for a terminally ill spouse, he or she is going to die, and you will go on.


You will have to live the rest of your life. Don't throw it away.

When death comes, it will literally cut like a knife. All of the routines of both caregiving and marriage will suddenly end; the life that was fenced in by routine and duties and the small joys of life on the edge of eternity will vanish, leaving...


You will be bereft, and alone.

Yesterday will seem so close1 It will feel like if you reach far enough, you can bring it back. it can't be gone!

But it is, and you're alone, facing a future that is eminently depressing in its freedoms. You'll have your life back, and you won't want it.

But you've got it, and you have to decide what to do.

Mourning is necessary; no question. You will have many, many days when the pain of loss of your loved one and the caregiving routine will be more than you can bear.

But one day, you'll wake up and the loss won't be the first thing you think about.

You'll feel terrible. Guilty, like you're abandoning someone who needs your thoughts, your memory. It's hard to let go.

Those days will come more and more often, and then one day you'll realize something...you've been happy, and didn't realize it.

Looking back at the ordeals will be like looking back over a landscape. The details that hurt so much will become obscured by air and distance.

And that is when your future will begin. You'll always be freighted by a certain wistful sadness...at the very least...but the sorrow will pass, and lose its power to harm.

But you will remember the one you loved.

And you'll recognize him or her in heaven.

And here ends 31 Days of Caregiving, a project I didn't intend to pursue until literally the first day...but I'm glad I did. Energy permitting, I'll turn this into a short book, if it might be a helpful guide. perhaps with an appropriate Bible verse for every entry, so that it might be a sort of devotional.

What do you think?

And we'll go out with the music of the King, singing You'll Never Walk Alone.

My #write31days posts so far are:

October 2 - Talk To A Caregiver
October 3 -  Create A Caregiver Haven
October 5 - A Caregiver's Trust
October 9 - A Caregiving Plan?
October 13 - Taking Care Of God
October 19 - A Caregiver's Brave
October 21 - Caregiver, Give Hope

Write 31 Days prompts - 2017

I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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. Andrew, beautiful post. I haven't walked the post-caregiver path yet. But I kept thinking of Barb as I read your words. Please know I am praying for her, and I will continue to when that day comes for her.

    And, yes, I'm praying for you. I'm so glad you share so honestly here. Your words matter.

    1. Jeanne, thank you so much for this. My words are all I really have left to offer. That, and my prayers.

      And speaking of prayers, we're very grateful for yours.

  2. Having walked this post-caregiving path, I would encourage most extreme caregiver widow(er)s to find a good grief counselor. Everyone won’t need it but it’s sometimes hard to recognize that you do. If people in your life whom you trust are expressing concern don’t ignore them. Rediscovery of your new self is a big and sometimes overwhelming job!

    Andrew, as always, you are spot on.

    1. Shelby, you're absolutely right - a good grief therapist is a vital part of the healing. healing will leave a scar, but informed help will make sure the wound heals from beneath, leaving no infection.

      Thank you so much for being here!

  3. I'm glad you did the 31 days! And it will be a good little devotional book. Trivia for today; my uncle played on the studio recording of this tune.

    1. Christy, thank you..and so cool about your uncle having played on the studio session!

  4. Death and grief are so hard. But it's part of the journey of life, We must grieve those who we love. I'm so thankful you've walked this 31 day journey with us. Your words will be a gift my friend especially to Barbara.

    1. Tara, you're so right; death is the price we pay for living, and grief the price we pay for loving.

      It's been an honour to have you along for the 31 Days and beyond, my friend. Thank you for the gift of your friendship.

  5. I'm so glad you've been able to reach this place of acceptance in your grief process, Andrew. I know that for Barbara, this day won't come for quite some time. But your serenity is always a present here in and through your writing. I think it is one reason we flock to your blog! God has taught you much through your suffering, my friend! Hugs and prayers!

    1. Beth, it's been a hard road, but I'm very glad to be where I am. I had often wondered how I would face the prospect of death from a fatal illness (I already knew how I felt about the prospect o getting shot or blown into a red mist!).

      And finding that I'm OK with it, with a solid faith (for which I owe you quite a bit, as you helped me develop that personal relationship with Christ) and a kind of humour over it all. That, I know, drives some people a bit crazy!

      I'm so grateful for everyone who reads this; I hope I've done them well. And so grateful too for the hugs and prayers!

  6. MOST definitely a book. PLEASE. xo

  7. i love this post andrew:) it is so freeing to those who are left behind. there is nothing sadder than seeing the people who are left behind being stuck, tied to the one who passed away in an unnatural way. we want to remember the one we have lost realistically, not in a morbidly unrealistic way...where we remember them as if they were little saints on the wall who never did anything wrong, never had anything but the purest of motives. that isn't real life. we do them a disservice to remember them in such a fake way. it is much better to remember our loved ones in all their grittiness. it is the mix that is what we loved about them...not their perfection. they wouldn't be real if they were perfect.
    i love being able to remember you as someone who fought hard...despite his pain, miserable incontinence, and all of it. that is what gives your life the texture that makes it a beautiful piece of art. it wasn't all smooth. it was rough in lots of places. that was great. that was you. a rough and tough soldier to the end, yet someone who was also touched by GOD's grace as well along with the tenderness that was affected by war and the ugliness of it. it isn't the classic kind of beauty, but it is beautiful just the same. thanks for your story Andrew. it has been very moving to read it each week:)

    1. martha, I really don't know what to say except, THANK YOU. This lovely, loving comment has moved me deeply, and I will treasure it to the end of my life and beyond.

      To be remembered and loved for who one was, I think, is the greatest honour we can be given...and I am sure it's one of those things that we take into the Lord's Presence, so that we might shyly show it to Him, something like a child offering up a straight-A report card.

      I'm so grateful for your presence, and your friendship.

  8. Even after years, grief can suddenly pop up again when something triggers a memory. But caregivers do still have lives to live after the person they cared for is gone. I think your posts would make a helpful booklet for counselors and pastors to share with people who are in the process or who have recently lost the one they loved.

    1. Jan, you're so right...this sudden reappearance of grief is something that's happened to me. A sound or smell can bring back the face and voice of a dead friend, an then I have to lose him anew.

      I'm so honoured that you feel these posts could be helpful to those who grieve, and to those who care for them. Thank you for this.

  9. Congratulations on 31 days of insightful content! Finishing a project is rewarding. A book would be lovely.

    1. Norma, dear friend, thank you so much! There were times I did not think I would get through it. But I'm glad I did.

      And now onward to the book...