(This is yet another chapter from my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers available at Amazon and elsewhere online.)
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. It was an emotional coaster month.
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 had 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. 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. Yet, as great as it was 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.
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.)
In the days and weeks after my mother-in-law’s funeral and after our children’s families returned to their own homes 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.
By September 2010, the constant ups and downs of my husband’s disease really became draining. 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 difficulty in managing his transfers to the bathroom, bed, the car, etc. His brain was simply having difficulty processing and making the moves he needed to make.
So those weeks in September of 2010 consisted of emotions swinging from one extreme to another. 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.