dreary city

One day you know how your wife will die.

You don’t know the day, but you have an idea. Not a good idea. Just enough to leave you in constant worry. Sometime in the next six months. Or less. Or more. There are survivors who’ve lived for years after they’re told they have a matter of weeks. Others never see the months they expected to have.

But it’s soon. ish. Soon enough that you can’t make any plans. Everything besides living is put on hold. Her living. ‘Your’ living is in the ‘we’. You’re living as a couple; anything you’d do as an individual is cast aside. How can you say no to someone who you’re about to lose? How can you be so selfish as to worry about how the bills will be paid when she’s gone?

You can’t even imagine life after. You don’t want to. Although sometimes when it’s so dark, you start to look forward to it. Not to losing your wife. No, to the idea of this pain, this uncertainty being over. Maybe looking back at these memories will hurt less than living them. Maybe they’ll even gain a fondness as you forget how bad it is right at that moment.

But when it’s over she’ll be gone. Forever. Even now, she’s not quite here. Is she herself? Your life tossed aside for someone who can feel like a stranger. And then one word, one look, one familiar scent or sigh and you know it’s her. It’s always been her and you’d do this all again if it kept you together.

It’s funny how knowing leads to so much uncertainty.

By Isaac R.

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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6 Comments

  1. Yes and it is the most unnerving thing I have ever experienced and I am a medical professional but when its your husband that is ill uncertainty takes on a whole new meaning.,

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  2. This speaks to how I was feeling in the last year of my mother’s life. I was so tired, so drained, and no one helped me with her but one relative and that was hit and miss. There would be days I would imagine how it would be without her, and I would cry and feel guilty. I wanted my life back, not at the expense of my mother dying. Its not a day goes by that I don’t feel some type of guilt for feeling the way I did. In the year since her death, Ive felt, relief. I can sleep not use all my days off to be at the hospital or at home with her when the state paid care giver didn’t show up for work. BUT I feel guilty too because she had to die for all this to happen. My sister and I have different fathers. Her grandmother is now in stage 4 breast cancer. I help her father where I can, but I am so resistant to step into that caregiver role again! And I feel guilty for that because she has always treated me the same as my sister. This blog made me feel a little better. Its not that i wanted my mother to die, I just wanted a break. I wish I could just bring her back and say Mom Im rested now. We are good to go! I am here to help you on a full battery. 🙁

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  3. I fell in love with my wife the first time I saw her when I was 16. It was twelve years later that we were married. We were kept apart by circumstances, but I always knew she was the one. 30 years later we have two wonderful sons, two grand children and the promise of more. Our future was to be golden as we thought about retirement and the freedom that possibility held. . She had problems that finally were labeled ALS. I googled it, and stopped reading after two paragraphs. Now this wretched disease crushes her once vibrant and agile body on daily basis. “Incurable”and “deadly” are words we live have grown accomstomed to. The longevity statistics are frightening. We have learned to live in the “now”. Our future is next week. Perhaps, we are lucky. Some simply lose their spouse in the blink of an eye, and never get to say goodbye. We know what is coming and try not to miss a moment. This is the best and the worst time of my life.

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  4. This rings so true. I lost my husband about 6 weeks ago after 3 years of ‘knowing”. I’m grateful for every hour we had together and yes, I’d do it again, still and forever if he were still here with me.

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