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Spouse or Partner Caregiver Forum
Hello my forum family and friends
It's been a little over 5 weeks since DH Jesse passed due to early onset Alzheimer's Disease. I am doing reasonably well, I guess. I feel very lost. Sometimes I am deeply sad. Other times I remind myself to be grateful that Jesse is no longer suffering. Other times I am very angry because it seems so unfair that a vibrant soul like Jesse was robbed of so much. He was only 58 when he died. He packed a lot of living into his short life. I do have wonderful and joyful memories of my time with Jesse. I am grateful for my memories.
I am experiencing some minor physical symptoms that I am attributing to the grief. For example, headaches, forgetfulness, scattered thoughts, even chest pain. Although I attribute the symptoms to my grief, I will see my doctor Friday for the opinion of a medical professional.
I have joined a grief support group. I have joined a gym. I go to the grief support group more frequently than I go to the gym. I am dragging my feet about finding a therapist, but its on my "to do" list. I'm spending time outside in the yard: mowing, gardening, enjoying the birds and playing ball with Hap the dog.
I am re-injecting myself into my parents' day-to-day routines. My dear mom has dementia. My dad is her caregiver and he is frazzled. I hope what I learned caring for DH can be shared with my folks and will help them manage better.
I am definitely still in a caregiver role by helping my parents. The responsibility is not 24/7 and not usually direct hands on, but there are indeed challenges. Challenges/Annoyances include:
Good to hear from you Lady Texan. It sounds like you are doing all the right things and taking care of yourself. You are right that Jesse isn’t suffering anymore. Life was cruel to him in the end, but you have the good times to look back on. I know that is hard, and I think we all struggle to do that.
Lady Texan, it’s good to hear from you. I didn’t realize Jesse was so young. Life is sometimes so unfair and I don’t blame you for being angry. I’m angry too, angry for all us who who are enduring this cruel disease. And now your mom too. And you are caregiving again, even if it isn’t full time. Definitely not fair.
I’m glad you have joined a support group and a gym. Hopefully you’ll feel more like using the gym as time passes. I’ve had all those minor symptoms in the past week and I attribute them to the stress of taking care of my DH and seeing him progress much more quickly than I expected. Last July he was still out walking for over an hour every other day and taking care of bill paying. Now he can’t dress or undress himself and needs my help with eating.
I’m grateful for this forum too. I’m pretty new here but have come to depend on it not only for solutions to problems which seem to change by the week or day, but just to know we aren’t alone.
So good to hear from you!
Grief seems to have a life of its' own. I think all we can do is to put one foot in front of the other until that horrible, raw pain lessens and we can manage more and more.
Please, do not be a stranger....a lot of us are Stage 8.
Lady Texan, I have thought of you,over the last few weeks and am glad to see you,post.
Regarding those items you think might be part of the grief process…they are. The forgetfulness, in particular, has a name amongst my also widowed friend (20 years for me this month)…Widow Brain. The stories we shared about what our widow brain produced…lost keys, keys and or phone in freezer, paying bills twice or not at all, did I eat today…well…let;s just say they brought chuckles as well as the thank goodness I am not alone feeling.
I found a grief group very helpful. Rather like here…peers who just get it and don’t drown you in platitudes. For me, a therapist also helped. She was not specifically a grief counselor, but a very empathetic person who just allowed me to talk, cry or what ever. It can take time to find the right one.
Regarding helping you parents. What a generous heart you have to do this amid your own grief. You could be helping yourself as much as them in the end. And, you are a peer who absolutely gets the whole drill. Won’t make that walk perfect, but you are def giving your dad the respite you keenly know he needs.
Many, many hugs to you on this continued journey.
LadyTexan I had just thought about you. So good to hear from you.
Lost 37 year old sister in past who had two very young children. I did ok but yet did have a few issues. PCP told me that when something like this occurs to a female there is a change that occurs in your brain by PET scan and it takes about two years for it to return to normal. Doesn’t last near as long in a male. Another doctor at work who I had not said. Thing to, mentioned this also. Just give yourself time. With time our mind heals. One day you will think of Jesse and smile. It will feel good.
Hi Lady Texan,
I hope I'm as resilient as you in the future - you are remarkable.
Like everyone says, take care of yourself. I think we just patch ourselves together for so long while we're caring for our LO that stuff really falls apart when the pressure is off. Or just a result of so much grieving, I don't know.
I can totally agree with the things that annoy you about helping your parents.
Very good to hear from you. Thank you for so honestly sharing your feelings, it helps us all.
Lady T, glad to hear you are doing something’s for you. Prayers for your mom and your family. Glad you enjoy gardening. For me that is my refuge, I can talk to my plants and tell them all my problems while I’m weeding and they never judge me! I can feel God’s love so stronger getting my hands in the dirt and taking care of flowers and vegetables. That may sound silly but it works for me.
Take care of yourself sweet lady.
Thank you, LT, for checking in with us and letting us know how you’re doing—and what you’re doing. Many of us have followed your journey closely and been inspired by your devoted caregiving.
Sounds like you are exactly where you ought to be and doing the things you need to. Sorry your Mom has advancing AD and that keeps you in a caregiver role.
Hoping that in the weeks and months ahead your good memories help temper your grief.