September of 2010 proved to be emotionally draining in many ways for me as a caregiver. It was the beginning of many exceptionally stressful days and the prelude to my husband’s death on January 2, 2011.
On September 2, 2010 my mother-in-law passed away in the early morning. She was 88 years old, and except for her last two years of her life when she was fighting ovarian cancer, she lived a healthy life. It was difficult to say good-by to her, but we knew she was now free of all sadness and sickness and was experiencing only pure joy with her Lord. We were happy for her.
During the week of my mother-in-law’s funeral there were the joyful highs of having all three of our sons home together for the first time in three years. One son from London flew into the States. My son from IA and his family drove in from IA that same day, and my local son and his family were also close at hand . It was sweet to all be together for a few days. My husband, Wayne, also had a great day on the Sunday we were altogether. I hadn’t seem him smile that much in a long time.
What was sad was the occasion for our being together. There were also the stresses and lows of Wayne having a very difficult day both on Monday, the day before his mother’s funeral, and again on Wed., the day after the funeral. On those days he did not function at all well and transfers were very difficult. There was also the stress of wondering if Wayne would be able to function well on Tuesday, the day of the funeral. (He did function well on Tuesday, and so was able to attend the funeral.)
Also as great as it is to have family around there was a lot of stress in having a household of people along with taking care of my husband’s needs. My daughter-in-law did bring in a couple meals which helped immensely.
In the days and weeks after my mother-in-law’s funeral and our children’s families returned home there continued to be a whirlwind of emotions swirling around in my heart. My mother-in-law’s decline and death and its accompanying grief tended to blend with my grief connected with my husband’s illness and decline.
There had been good and precious moments with family in between, but the constant ups and downs of my husband’s disease really became wearing. So often Wayne would have one or two relatively good days followed by a “crash” day where he slept most of the day. These “crash” days sometimes also involved it being difficult to manage his transfers to the bathroom etc., because his brain had difficulty processing making the moves he needed to make until it had recharged itself with a huge amount of sleep again.
Sometimes Wayne would act out in his sleep also. One day he was sleeping in his chair, and he was really agitated. He was acting very angry, and even though he was sleeping it appeared to be directed at me. He also said some cruel things to me in his sleep. It was really freaky, as he would open his eyes. Yet I knew he was asleep. It was difficult not to personalize some of that.
So those weeks in September of 2010 consisted of emotions swinging from one extreme to another. Those weeks I felt grief due to my mother-in-law’s death and because of my husband’s disease. I felt joy because of my family being there and because of my faith. I felt stress because of all the emotions and all that had occurred. I do not know how I would have gotten through those days without the Lord. Dear Christian caregiver, lean on the Lord in those emotional roller coaster days.