In 2006 my husband, Wayne, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy type c. During the course of his disease he declined to the point that he was basically dependent on me and those who helped me for all his care. He suffered many losses during his disease. I also suffered many losses as his caregiver.
On January 2, 2011 about four and one half years after Wayne’s diagnosis my son and I found that Wayne had passed away during the night. Some time in February of 2011 I started attending some Christian grief/share sessions. One of the things our workbook mentioned in every lesson was that the loss of a loved one results in layers of lost. There is a lost of a relationship, of time, of dreams, help with duties around the house, and sometimes possessions.
If you are the caregiver of a loved one with a terminal disease you may have already begun to experience some of these losses, however. I definitely experienced many of these losses during my caregiving years. Dreams for the future are often lost when a loved one becomes terminally ill or contracts a disabilitating disease. Relationships also often change. I felt my relationship with Wayne in many ways changed from a husband wife relationship to a caregiver-care recipient relationship. My husband in years past had always been very handy around the house. I also felt that loss.
In April of 2009 I wrote about the experience of the loss of my husband’s companionship. I wrote the following:
“I went to a musical program with a friend last night. It was very enjoyable with lots of nice variety. There had been some frustrating moments at our house on Friday and Saturday, so it was so nice to get away with a friend. I also love music.
I enjoyed the program last night very much, but it did bring back memories of going to musical programs with my husband at this same building in the past. Now because of his disease my husband is too tired to go to many places, or he is too unmotivated. Sometimes the logistics are too difficult. Even though I enjoyed going with a friend, I do miss those days when my husband and I enjoyed doing those things together. Sometimes I go places like church alone too. There is a certain loneliness in that. It makes me feel a bit like a widow already especially when I see couples together seemingly happy and healthy. This is my path now, however, and there is a divine purpose in it all.”
Dear Christian Caregiver the losses can really hurt. I think the loss or change in a relationship that one once had with one’s love one is the most difficult. The Lord does want to be your constant friend and help through all this, dear Caregiver. The Lord God will never change, and He always will be with you. Lean on Him during those very difficult moments.