Monday, September 29, 2008

When you are no longer needed as a care giver:

I met someone in the store yesterday, I did not know the lady but somehow a conversation started. She had lost her husband to pneumonia, 6 years ago.
He also had Alzheimer’s. We compared notes. We became animated in explanations on what and how she had made it work or in some cases just give up.
She mentioned that his passing was a blessing. He did not reach the last stages so she still had some communications with him.

Yet, the interesting concept she shared with me is that she was “peeling off the Alzheimer’s residue” from her own being.

Think of it. Peeling of Alzheimer residue.
What do you mean, I asked?
She said :” I am not the person I was before my husband got ill.
I re-act differently to circumstances. I am concerned for my own state of mind. I constantly think that I have to adjust my daily hours to his disease and yet he has been gone for 6 years.

I had to learn to decide what I wanted to eat not what he wanted.
I had to take care of my own health and mine alone so I had a check up which was years overdue.
I actually had to relearn to have freedom.
That part is the hardest part.
Just to know that I have the freedom to sleep when I want is a big one.
I had to adjust all my rest according to him.
I still wake up in the middle of the night to see if he is breathing.
Then I see the empty bed and fall back to sleep.”

The undoing of care giving, she told me is like the beginning of care giving.
You learn it one day at a time.

We hugged, we learned from each other and we did not even know our names.

I shuddered at the thought that “undoing” is equally going to be hard.
I no longer know the person I have become.
My boss told me the other day that I am so different from 3 years ago
when she hired me.
I said: How so?
She replied:”you are somehow more accepting of your situation, almost like it is all-normal “

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