Saturday, September 20, 2008

I've struck gold...

....in Bloggerville. I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I last posted. I am pleased to say that your gentle comfort and sincere support has me completely overwhelmed!

Thank you all so very much.
I am blessed to have such wonderful friends.

As I was writing that last post, fingers of guilt poked me in the ribs.
Why are you whining again?
How can you possibly complain when Hubby's needs are much greater than yours?
Stop your complaining and smarten up.

Maybe a teacher's voice, or my parents. I don't know.

But MY "voice" (once I posted it) was met with comfort, kindness and support.

I half expected a scolding. Nobody told me to stop the pity party. Nobody tried to point out how fortunate I am just to be out of the hurricane zone.

I knew I had to write how I was feeling. And take a chance. Take a risk that people would stop reading my blog. Or think me awful.
For every "guilt" finger poked in my side, another voice spoke up..

"You have the right to feel your feelings - whether judged good or bad, you have that right. After you've acknowledged them, then you can deal with them - or the situation."

So, I listened to that voice and published my Somewhat Cocoon.
Feel my feelings. Validate them. Then figure out what to do.

Whether it was my "putting myself out there", or your sensitive and soothing comments, or the healing Prayer that Bear Naked sent, I slept better these last 2 nights than I have in a long time.

And with a better night's sleep, my level of energy improved and with that my overall mood. I felt lighter. A little happiness crept into my being.

Ahhhh - well, I'll just pick myself up, dust myself off and begin to pull myself out of the bottom of that pit. And you know what?.... a funny thing happened... that simmering resentment just melted away.
Whether or not it comes back, doesn't matter right now. I'll deal with it another day.

And with that resentment out of the way, a little space was created to enjoy the mundane, the routine of our days I usually find so boring.

On deeper reflection, I became aware of a pattern to my relationships with men. Why do I choose men whose needs are greater, more important than mine?

Hubby #1 always told me his needs were greater. They weren't. But I gave in to him all the time. After 20 years I got fed up and finally, finally left.

Serious boyfriend (sounds weird at my age - I met him when I was 40) helped me over the guilt I was feeling over destroying my first marriage. After a while, however, it seemed like he also, had "important business needs" which always came first, keeping me waiting at home for his calls. After 2 years I decided I'd had enough. I left.

Then along came this Hubby. Hubby #2 - the Right One. Instant magic. Happiness, true caring, honesty, respect, mutual support and love. This marriage was everything I'd dreamed it would be.

Then, just like in a novel, everything came crashing down. Hubby's energy level was visibly waning. He couldn't keep up with me on bike rides or walks anymore. He had to take naps in the daytime. Something was very wrong.

As you all know, COPD was diagnosed 6 years ago and Hubby was instantly tethered to an in-home oxygen system.

Now his needs really are greater than mine. His issues are life-and-death. I can't (nor do I want to) walk away this time. I will stay in this situation until the end.

Ah, but what's the lesson here? I will need to think about this some more.

21 comments:

beckie said...

Wendy, I am so glad you are felling a little more rested. And with that rest you ARE more able to deal with what ever life has given you. You know that is part of this-being a caregiver. You have to put yourself first so that you can deal with his needs. Just as on a plane with they are giving oxygen mask instructions. Put yours on first so you can help with others.

Of course we all care about you and most understand that sometimes you have to let the 'voice' have it's say.

Take care dear Wendy and be kind to yourself!!

Bear Naked said...

It really is amazing isn't it when sleep is more restful how much better your body (and mind)feels.
So glad to hear that you are feeling better and that my prayers are helping.
Any time you feel like venting, use your blog. It is here for YOU to put into words what you are thinking in your mind.
Have a great Sunday.

Bear((( )))

Carin Fuchs said...

I am glad that you do feel a bit better. Whether because you write your thoughts down and thus were able to view your thoughts and emotions from a different angle or because of the comments - and through them the support - made you feel better doesn't really matter.

Your 'OH's' needs are great indeed but please don't forget that yours are just as great, - different from 'OH's' but not less important.

Every comment at your 'cocoon' post I've read shows that there are a lot of sensible women out there trying to provide a 'net' for you, so I don't think you need to be afraid to let yourself 'fall', they'll try to 'catch' you.

Lots of hugs
Carin

mary47 said...

Un saluto da Venezia, la città più bella del mondo!!!

Mimi said...

I'm with Carin. We all get that way. We all let the guilt eat us... but you shouldn't. You can only carry so much. We are all here for you!

Shammickite said...

You said "Ah, but what's the lesson here?".
I don't think there is a lesson.
You have made a decision to stay and look after him, because you love him and want to make his life easier, not because you have to, not because guilt is making you stay... but becuse you have decided to.
It's a hard choice. But you have needs too... and you must look after yourself, both physically and mentally, before you can look after your husband. Be kind to yourself first, and you will find being kind to your husband will be much easier.

Wendy said...

Hi Beckie - thanks for the reminder to put myself first. It really is a foreign concept, but your example of the oxygen on the airplane makes sense. Thank you for your understanding and your friendship.

Aww, thanks BearNaked. I hope the Prayers worked for those others in your blog too.

Carin - that is so nice! I am very very happy that there is huge bloggerville net. Never thought of that. You are one smart and sensible friend. Sending lots of hugs your way.

Rose said...

I'm so glad you're feeling more upbeat, Wendy. Beckie's comments are so right on the mark--and she has had some experience in this area, so she is a good person to listen to.

Your history with relationships reminded me of a dear friend of many years who had two unsuccessful marriages. All of us felt that she had bad "luck" in picking men, because she is the kindest person you could ever meet. Finally, in her 50's she met Mr. Right, a widower. They have been happily married for 10 years now, but 4 or 5 years ago he was diagnosed with cancer. It's been a constant battle with the disease for both of them. Life sometimes just isn't fair!

Wendy said...

Hi Mary47,
Thanks! I've never been to Venice, but I have heard it is beautiful. Glad you stopped in.

Hi Mimi - oh yeah, that horrible guilt stuff. I really need to get rid of it. Thanks for your kind words.

Hi Shammickite - thank you so much for your words of wisedom and your kindness. I will think on what you have said.

Wendy said...

Hi Rose,
Thanks for your and Beckie's good advice. Your friend's story does sound similar to mine. My heart goes out to your friend. I do hope they have some happy years to share and the cancer goes away for good! Please send her lots of hugs from me.

Maggie May said...

You are an amazing lady. Don't put yourself down ever!
Glad you are feeling more rested. It is very difficult to be on top all the time, though and you need to let off steam.
My father died of this type of illness and it was not easy for my Mum.
You have been very kind to me on my blog.
I am pleased you are also feeling the warmth of a lovely blogging community.

annette said...

You should write a book on what it means to be a caretaker, warts and all.

You are an inspiration to those of us who are caretakers.

Any time you need prayer, we are here for you.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Wendy, I am struck not only by your honest appraisal of how you are struggling with your husband's disease, but also how it touches so many others. I wonder if that is not the "lesson". To be brave enough to reach out with your honest and thoughtful posts, and to see how many other women identify with your struggles in some way. We may not be going through exactly what you are, but at some point in our lives, we are all caretakers in some fashion. And to be honest, sometimes life IS a struggle, and we do have to work at making sense of it.

I am so glad you are feeling more rested. Consider yourself cyber-hugged!

Jenny (morning glories in round rock)

Cheryl said...

Dear Wendy......I read and re read your previous post......we are at the end of the day human....I have nothing but respect for anyone who is a caregiver....there are many who walk away......hugsxx


Why would we desert you....none of us would....you are our blogging pal and we care what happens to you and yours..........

Beverly said...

Hi, Wendy,
I really don't know what I would do if I were in your situation. I trust that I would be strong enough to do what you are doing. When my husband was taken so suddenly in that horrible accident, I somehow breathed a prayer of thanks, not that he was gone, but that he was not left to suffer. I know that a person doesn't really know what they would do until they are in that particular situation.

I look at you and JeanMac and others that I read, and I am in awe of yhou. I hold you up in prayer that God would give you the grace and strength that you need each day.

I had a dear friend whose husband was just getting ready to retire when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He lived nine months. She never left his side, caring for him and loving him. After he was gone, it took a long time for her own health to be restored.

I'm so glad that you have this outlet.

Wendy said...

Hi MaggieMay - the more people I reach out to, the more similarities I find. I am sorry for your Dad - and your Mom too.
Thank you for your kind words and support.

Hi Annette - thank you for your offer of prayer, especially since you and your community are struggling after the hurricane. Life certainly brings us challenges and friendship helps to heal. I am glad you stopped in.

Wendy said...

Hi Jenny, thanks for your kind words. I am absolutely overwhelmed at the people who can identify with me - and at those who care and support. I never thought I'd make such connections, such good friends by blogging. I think life throws us many lessons to learn....

Hi Cheryl,
I am so glad you're back. Thank you for your support and friendship. I dunno - I guess I thought people would think me selfish or whining and not bother any more. I am glad you decided to stay.

Hi Beverly,
You're right - we never know how we'll react in a given situation until we're in it. I think for you it must have been such a horrible shock to one day kiss your hubby good-by and the next - he's gone. I also have a friend who kissed her husband goodby - he was going on a bike ride. He had a heart attack and never came back. Horrible.
I can totally understand your friend taking a long time for her health to return. I am going to do some serious thinking about mine. And yes - this is a good outlet. I'm glad I have it - and glad for so many good people out there who care to comment.
Hugs to everybody!!

Q said...

Dear Wendy,
So glad you were able to get some rest! The world is a bit brighter when we are rested.
We are here come rain or shine.
One of the reasons I love coming to see you is your honesty in your emotions. Thank you for honoring us with the real you.
Hugs,
sherry

Grammy said...

Wow, you words hit home for me. I have been married 28 years. And deal with hubby sitting around like he is waiting to die. It affects me to. and my health has declined. Only this year have I tried to save my self. And try to learn to be happy. And make friend to help me get through the day.

Wendy said...

Hi Sherry, Thank you for your kindness. I used to hide my feelings a lot more. But then when I read "works" by others and they expressed real feelings I thought "oh, somebody else feels like I do" and it brings us closer together.

Dear Grammy - God bless you and I hope it works for you. You don't say whether your husband is ill or not, I'm presuming he is. It sucks, but we do have to look after ourselves. Hard at times, but with the support of friends it will help.

Grammy said...

Hi Wendy, Thanks for stopping by. Yes he is sick and now disabled. We went through allot. The last 2+ years. I started a blog. To make me feel better. But I decided to make it about thing I like to cheer me up. I had started one on depression. It felt good to vent. But I deleted it. Till I can write one to help other people through what we had to go through. I am not ready to write about all of our pain and loss. You inspire me with your blog thank you. My husband and I both have copd. But he has heart and other issues.Bypass surgery was the end of his working life. Now He can not do much of any thing. I am like you and decided this year. I am going to learn to be happy. And maybe how to have fun.
Big hug.