Monday, February 16, 2009

Finding the balance

This weekend was special.
I bought a dozen red roses for "us" to celebrate.
We ate shrimp and chocolate (not at the same time).
We said "I love you" and talked about how lucky we are to have each other.

I remember hearing people say:
"Cherish the time you have together. Have no regrets at the end. Do whatever it takes to make your loved one feel loved and comfortable."

I have a feeling this will be his last Valentine's Day.
I may be wrong. I've been wrong before.
But Hubby's been so weak and tired lately.

We talked about the good old days when we were both younger and stronger. How we worked and traveled and enjoyed life thoroughly, thinking it would be like that forever.

"Sometimes," says Hubby sitting on the edge of our bed, "in those hazy moments before waking up, I totally forget I have COPD. Just for one quick moment, I think I can jump out of bed - the way I used to. Then I remember (he tugs at the oxygen cannula in his nose) and my heart sinks to the bottom of my feet."

I turn my head so Hubby doesn't see how quickly my eyes fill up with tears. What must it feel like to live with a sick body? Day after day, tethered to an oxygen hose. Wondering if you can make it across the room; up the stairs; to the bathroom. Knowing that time is running out. It must take a really strong person to live like this without going crazy.

This afternoon I jump in the pool, grateful that I can. Grateful I can swim with my friends. Grateful I can sit with my daughter and drink coffee, while I cuddle my new little grandson.
"Gramma! Put Nafan down!" commands little Jasmine.
At 2 years old, she still wants to be picked up. She wants me to play with her - not baby Nathan. So I scoop her up in my arms and dance around the house - grateful.... once again.

When I get back home, Hubby is sleeping.
I suffer a moment or two of guilty panic.
Until I check his breathing - and find he's o.k.


Naturegirl said...

Oh my dear friend I admire the courage of both your hubby and you.
You have touched my heart with this post. Blessings to you both.xo aNNa

Beverly said...

such a raw expression of your feelings...and your empathy for him.
you are both so blessed to have each other...happy you can remember the good times in the past to get you through the present.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Wendy, I am so very very sorry. I don't know how you do it...I know that God gives us strength to get through the tough times, but if something happened to George, I sincerely do not know what I'd do. The hardest part for you I'm sure is not being able to do anything to help or change his situation. BUT--just remember, Wendy, that you are a wonderful wife and caregiver. You both will always remember the times when you could do things together. It's those great memories which keep us going.

Hugs and Prayers,

Beverly said...

Hugs to you. Yes, cherish the moments that you have had and have now. Say all the things you want to important.

peppylady said...

First of all I offer you my blessing and so glad that you still find a special feeling in your heart under stress you have.

Coffee is on and so are fresh steamer clams.

beckie said...

Wendy, such a touching post. I admire your ability to express so clearly in words your feelings. i could envision your conversation and your tears.

It does take a strong person to deal with impending death, But I think they have done a lot of thinking about the full happy life they have lived and have come to the conclusion that it was all worth it and have no regrets. For me that would be the most I could hope for...what we all hope for.

So no pity-only love.

femail doc said...

I think about that shortness of breath often, how our shortness of breath with exercise is that pleasant pull of exertion and theirs a frantic struggle with each inhalation. Walk a step (never a mile anymore) tethered to that O2 cord--can't even imagine. Tough road we travel.

Maggie May said...

I am saddened by your remarks about your husband.
My Dad faced a similar illness and you bring memories flooding back of oxygen tubes and shortness of breath & how helpless it makes you feel.
Then I think of my own husband battling his cancer and daren't think too much about the future...... I just think of now, but occasionally the mind wanders to the future.
Like me, you have grandchildren to love and live on. They are a great blessing.

Carin Fuchs said...

Couldn't (and didn't want) surpress it, had to cry.

Lots of hugs

amelia said...

What a very sad and honest post. Made me cry as I'm sure it did many others.

The older I get, the more grateful for my good health I am. Not one of us knows what lies ahead and I always think of the old expression 'There, but for the grace of God, go I'

My grandfather died of emphysema and too see him struggle for each breath was awful for us but much worse for him..

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Dear Wendy, It is amazing the strength we find when we are called upon to have it. If it weren't for these tests in life, we would never even know it was there growing within us.

You may be right about this being Hubby's last Valentine's Day. I think it is important to listen to those feelings.

What a sweet moment in time to savor your health and the ability to hold and dance with your grandchildren. So often we go through life blind to the amazing gifts and blessings we have. Just to be able to hold and witness the miracle of a newborn baby is priceless. Jasmine sounds just precious. There is nothing quite like the spirit of a two year old! Give them a squeeze for me.

Hugs filled with love,

Q said...

Dear Wendy,
Like many others I too had tears as I read your post. Thank you for your honesty. The difference between sitting on the bed with hubby and dancing with the grand children really showed me how strong you are. It is a rare person who can know life on all levels.
I respect you.
Thank you for reminding me to say to all my loved ones, friends as well as family, how special they are to me.

Allie said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your strength and love is so inspiring.

Abba's Girl said...


I have had just a taste of what you experience in care giving because I care for my mother and until 3 weeks ago my father. I watched as he would have a great day and we'd go to lunch or the Lion's Club meeting, watch a movie and the next day I was praying he would take a breath. I cannot imagine what you go through caring for your beloved husband.

I love how you savor each moment and thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

You and your husband are in my prayers.


Wendy said...

Hi Anna, thank you.

Hi Beverly - I write what I feel. Thank you for your kind comments.

Hi Betsy, yes it is - those memories do help us get through. Sometimes, though they make me cry.

Hi Beverly, you know......

Hi Peppylady, thanks for your blessings. I'll take the coffee, not sure about the clams, though. Would rather eat chocolate. LOL

Hi Beckie, I think you are right. It's been 7 years since hubby's diagnosis, so he must have thought a lot about his life and whatever comes next. Thank you for your love. I don't need or want pity. Everybody goes through their own hardships and somehow we survive. I know it's my blogging friends that help me through.

Wendy said...

Hi Judy, I hope things are stable at your house. No, it's not fun. But as I said to Beckie - we'll survive and our blogging pals help us through.

Hi Maggie, I'm sorry for the pain in your life too. Yes, grandchildren are a blessing.

Hi Carin, thanks for your empathy. I hope everything in your life is going well. Hugs

Hi Amelia, yes, that's true. We must be thankful for our good health for as long as it lasts.

Hi Jenny, oh you know quite well how much fun grandkids are. I hope you are feeling better these days. Hugs.

Hi Sherry, thanks for your kind words. Sometimes I do feel like I'm being pulled in all directions. I guess that's the way life was meant to be.

Hi allie - thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. My writing helps me through.

Hi Annette - I understand your pain too. Thanks for caring and sharing.

Ruth said...

Beautifully written post that touches the heart.

Amy said...

I so hope you're wrong about this Valentine's Day, Wendy.

Such a lovely, lovely post. His strength matches yours, I think.

Mom2-2goodboys said...

Another great post Wendy. I love the way you weave the good and the bad into your writing. There is a sense of balance. I am happy that the two of you can have conversations about the good old days and tell each other "I Love You". For many couples don't have that. Keep looking for the good Wendy, even while you deal with the bad. Keep the balance in your life.

Rose said...

Wendy, "Cherish each moment" is so true, and your special Valentine's celebration was one way of doing that. Your husband sounds very courageous, and you are a special person to care for him with the love that you do.
Enjoy those precious moments with your grandchildren, too.

Wendy said...

Hi Ruth, thank you.

Hi Amy, thank you - I hope I'm wrong too.

Hi Mary thank you for your support. I try to stay positive, sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. Writing my thoughts down and blogging helps me process all this stuff.

Hi Rose, thank you. Grandkids really are blessings. I do try to cherish each moment, but sometimes, get depressed or angry instead.

white_lilly said...

Thank you for sharing just a beautiful and tender post.Life is so precious and so are you and your hubby.

I appreciate the time you gave to comment on my blog. My heart and prayers go out to you and your hubby during this time.


Cheryl said...

Dear Wendy....with tears in my eyes words do not come easy.......I do so respect you for your courage and devotion.....
it was a beautiful thing you did for Valentines day.....

To spend time with grandchildren is need this time.......

Anna said...

Wendy, I will be keeping you and your beloved husband very much in my thoughts ((((()))))

Shammickite said...

I'd like to give both you and your husband a big hug and tell you everything's going to be all right, but it doesn't always work that way.....

Shammickite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kanak Hagjer said... heart goes out to you and your husband. What a touching post. Reading about COPD makes us realise the many things that we need to be grateful for.

Your strength is amazing. My love and prayers to you both.

Wendy said...

Hi White Lilly, thank you for your kind words. I enjoyed visiting your blog and will be back.

Thank you Cheryl for being a good friend. I think grandchildren are our reward for having to go through challenges in our lives at this stage.

Hi Anna, thank you.

Hi Shammickite, thanks, I appreciate the gesture. Life does not always flow the way we think.

Hi Kanak, thank you for your kind words. I enjoy coming to your blog as a way of soothing my frazzled nerves.
Hugs everybody.

Mary said...

Wendy, I've missed so much here. Your words brought tears to my eyes! Your honesty and love for your husband is wonderful...

I always felt guilty to tell my Mom a story of something we did for fun - something she's never be able to do. Sometimes I just didn't tell her those things. I know...

Keep living. Everything will be alright.


Abba's Girl said...

PS - I love your new background!