Today I launch a new feature – The Caregiver Series.
Serving as the primary caregiver for a child, an ill or injured person, or an elderly relative, takes a tremendous toll on an individual’s wellness, both physically and emotionally. I am not sure that we as a society do a terrific job of exploring these issues because so many caregivers are in the “thick” of things. Their voices often go unheard.
So today, I begin to bring those voices to you. I start with my own mother, Sally. She shares the story of my father’s cancer diagnosis with her first post. Subsequent posts will explore his stroke five years later and the struggles she has faced providing him 24/7 hands-on care.
I hope that these posts will encourage others to speak out and seek camaraderie. The issues that caregivers face hit upon some of the most crucial issues in our society: healthcare costs, insurability, family leave and employment protections, end-of-life, and self-care.
The End of My “First Husband” – A Guest Post from Sally
For nine years I have been on a journey I never thought I would be taking. I have had family and friends with me but, until yesterday never realized that strangers could benefit from what I have learned. However yesterday and today I was put in a position to try to find words to help someone. That made me think that blogging would be a good way to help others, too.
I think I will begin about forty years ago when as a newlywed, my husband and I decided to have our children as soon as we could. We decided we could raise our family and then when we could afford it, we could go out and enjoy life in his retirement.
In retrospect, the expression that comes to mind is:
Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
We raised our children, and as they left the nest we looked forward to all the things we were going to share. My husband had worked hard and saved some money. Avid golfers, we wanted to travel and play golf together as much as we could. First on our list was a trip to Scotland to play St. Andrews. We were also going to a couples’ golf tournament in Nevada where we planned to kick some booty. We had all sorts of great ideas.
Plans changed on the day that I was standing in a department store and he called for me to come to the golf course right away.
Naturally I thought he was hitting the ball poorly and wanted me to tell him what he was doing wrong. I hurried over, and as we stood on the putting green he said he had run by the doctor’s office and the doctor had said there was something really, really bad going on.
I didn’t understand how he could be talking so calmly. I asked if he wanted to leave and go find another doctor to get a second opinion.
He replied, “Yea maybe. But I need to play this round first.”
Little did I know that was the beginning of the end of the man I now refer to as “my first husband.”
More next week, but in the meanwhile, if you are a full-time caregiver to someone who is ill or injured, what do you recall of the moment your world changed?