vintage photos, wedding album, and packets of love letters

I made a vow to love my husband in sickness and health and I’m doing my best to honor that vow. It’s taking everything I have out of me.

Every day I get up and do all the things that need to be done. Including taking care of my husband.

I expected the burden of raising a family, supporting ourselves financially, and keeping house would be a burden we would share. Instead, I carry this burden on my own.

I can’t go out with my friends. I can’t do the things I used to enjoy. I leave the house for work and errands, other than that I feel like a prisoner.

People tell me I’m a good wife, but honestly, I miss being a wife. I miss cooking dinner with him. I miss the every day banter and running errands and the mundane moments no one thinks about until they’re gone. I miss him kissing me, of feeling like a woman.

People think I’m fine, but things are very far from fine. There’s hardly any laughter or joy in my life anymore. I don’t know how much longer I can go on, but I know I will. I have to.

Before he got sick I’d thought about leaving him. I decided I couldn’t, I’d taken a vow. I stayed, worked things out, accepted the way things were. Then they got worse when he got sick.

I’m so busy taking care of everything else that I can’t take care of myself. I can’t take care of my own health, his has to come first. My mental health, my need to leave the house to get a glass of wine and laugh with friends, my need for a few hours of peace and quiet, comes last.

Who would I even get drinks with? What friends are left after these past few years? What hobbies did I even have? That life seems like so long ago.

D. Alexander

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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20 Comments

  1. Our children were both under 10 years old when our medical crisis began. It’s almost 20 years now. Many times I felt like a single parent. I have been responsible for everything, including his care. I would love to do things With my husband, not just For him. I miss doing every day activities. Excellent piece here. I could have written it myself.

    Reply
  2. I DID TWICE..I HONOR MY WEDDING VOWS..TWO GREAT HUSBANDS ..I WOULD DO OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR THEM…LOVE, RESPECT, HONOR………MISS THEM SO VER MUCH…GOD BLESSED ME……

    Reply
  3. Been married almost 43 years and my husband has been sick for 20 of them. For the past 10 years I have had to do everything and I understand those vows very well. It would be nice to have a break before I break!

    Reply
  4. I am doing the same, 15+ years. It is very hard and you so miss the companionship.

    Reply
  5. I did the same.. til death do us part.. I wouldn’t have changed that experience…

    Reply
  6. Please know your far from alone. We may all be at the end of a computer but all these guys and yourself are awesome.
    I’m right where you are,(except male) . My frustrations,my loneliness,depression and for myself feeling the only way out is death. I know that sounds dramatic but that’s just me. We also have three kids,the eldest isn’t exactly reducing stress right now. Being a carer is hard enough without the outside world putting more stress in you.
    Have you tried finding old friends on Facebook and rekindling the friendship. I have and although most have moved away the ones left are as good friends as always and the ones that have moved away are always a call or click away.
    Stay strong and mostly,breathe. Lots of love.x?

    Reply
  7. I understand! I miss being a team with my husband. Even just running errands together. It’s so hard. He depends on me for everything now. Feel more like his mom than his wife. But every once in a while I get a glimpse of his old self and that keeps me going. I know that God has a plan and I am waiting expectantly and hopefully for Him to show it to us!

    Reply
  8. Please know you’re not alone. There are many of us who share the same journey. I’ve been at this for almost 20 years now. Also, if you’d like to connect privately, please send me a message. I would love to have a glass of wine with you.

    Reply
    • Amy I saw your comment and it made me think back a little, although my caregivinh ended 2 yrs ago with my mom. 12 yrs ago I began to lose my family (all my immediate family except 2 sons.) My 3 siblings passed one after the other, then my dad, the my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We moved her in with my husband & I and 3 yrs later my husband passed of cancer. 2 yrs late, my daughter. I lost my mom to the Alzheimer’s 2 yrs ago. What was so unbearable was that my siblings were still young, the youngest was 43, and it was all so very fast (in the blink of the eye.) I quit my career early, took care of my mom, dad, & sister. Soon it was taking care of my mom & husband. My daughter died suddenly, and her son my grandson died two months ago at only 26. When these things occur as they did one after the other it can be almost like living in a nightmare. So I guess I just am thankful I had the strength to take care of their needs and have the last of their time & love they had left. It doesn’t make them not being here easier, but I have no regrets. We weren’t promised our time together by anyone, so it’s true, love them while there’s that time!

      Reply
  9. This journey is not for the faint of heart. I understand the frustration. I see some that as soon as their spouse got sick they left. I have seen some stay and endure ungrateful spouses that just make the situation unbearable. I have to be honest, if my husband had not been a good man to began with and has continued to be, I don’t know that I could stay. So I won’t cast a judgement here. I do know for ME I will be here for him. I have been blessed to still have him after almost 11 years of this. No it’s not butterflies, roses and kisses all the time. However, we have actually grown closer. He’s still my best friend. I do on occasion want to bite his head off and spit in his neck. At the end of the day, it’s worth it.

    Reply
  10. I’m there til the end. I take my vows seriously. No matter what happens I’m going to be there.

    Reply
  11. Exactly I even had to quit my job for him. Love til the end but I don’t remember one sided do for me ugh mixed emotions

    Reply
  12. I was there for almost 10yrs and it is a very hard road and very lonely.

    Reply
  13. I definitely feel this way. I am a mother first then caregiver for my adult dependant kids then payee

    Reply
  14. I understand, 42 years and I am in that very boat. 24/7 for 8-10 years, my husband has advanced pd. He started at 48 years old, it has been a long and hard lonely road.

    Reply
    • My husband was diagnosed with PD 10 years ago at 47 years old. I’m 53 and have so many different feelings. My friends are finally understanding when I say it depends on if we have a good meds day, that I may or may not make an event. They were stopping inviting me because I couldn’t get out of the house. I sat down with a few and said to please keep inviting me and I will always try my best. It gives me an escape from being “on call”.

      Reply
    • He is now 65, not too many days are good enough for me to go unless I have someone to sit and that is rare. We have become invisible in almost all circles. I wish you well.

      Reply

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