I address this article to those of you who are the remaining spouse, having placed your loved one into a care facility:
Perhaps you are the type person who needs to stay busy rather than just sit at home in order to cope the best with this situation known as Alzheimers. I would suspect this is the case, and God is making a way of escape for you by leading you to influential people in order to make a significant difference in the lives of otherl Alzheimer patients and caregivers!! As far as your PERSONAL life goes, you are in the midst of living your grief out already. Even though your mate is still alive in their body, you have and are sustaining DAILY losses of them - Their personality is deteriorating along with their body - you are completely separated from your companion of a lifetime. You know that nothing is ever going to be like it was before - your home which you shared is just an empty reminder of better days and also of the trauma which you endured when they were there with you.
Grief started for you long before they got in the care facility and it will continue on after their physical death for a period of time too. The feelings you have are NORMAL, given that you are suffering losses every single day of them in some form or another. And you probably never intended to be apart from them until one of you died. But in alot of ways, they are dying in front of you on several levels. Although you KNOW that their spirit remains unchanged and lives on forever, it is not very often that you SEE this side of them when you are together. Right now, it is hard for you to grasp that YOU ARE NEVER ALONE, even though they are leaving your life a little at a time every single day....you know the grief of caregivers around the world, the grief of separation from a lifetime partner who has not left this world yet. You will one day face and accept that they have gone on to Heaven and left you behind in this world. But please remember, NONE OF THIS WAS BY THEIR CHOICE - For some reason none of us may ever understand, this disease took them away from you and they cannot come back like they were, strong and dependable, communicative and protective - Those days are gone for good.
Part of the grief is facing these undeniable painful losses as they occur and then finding the strength in God to overcome their staggering potential - I believe this is what you are attempting to do by continuing to be a part of the world around you. The longer you have loved someone, the longer and more pronounced your grief will be - You grieve NOW while they still remain in their body - You will grieve MORE when they leave - But eventually that grief will turn to a form of peaceful acceptance, and you will know they have gone on ahead of you, but it will not bring you pain and devastation any longer. You will have come to a place of acceptance over all of this, every single bit of it. Grief is a process, does not end overnight and the more sensitive you are, the longer it takes. You can expect grief to last up to 6 months or as long as 5 years, depending on the person. It is because you are so sensitive and love so deeply, that you grieve so much. But it is also this quality that God uses in public avenues to reach those who need to HEAR, who need to SEE, who need to LEARN, all that YOU can teach them as His vessel. So, lean wholly on the arm of the Lord, He will not fail you ever - Try not to reason out WHY all this has occurred, because you will not find any answers this way - Take every day as God leads you, and never lose sight of the truth the you and your loved one are ONE, for ETERNITY, whether in your bodies or not - And remember that LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMODITY WE HAVE ON THIS EARTH. Walk in it always, and you will be okay in the outcome, I promise you this……
Copyright © 2000 Dorothy Womack
Published in Today's Caregiver. Used by permission of the author.
Background Copyright © 2000 Brenda S. Parris