For many in caregiving situations, the holidays can be really tough. Adding to the difficulty are memories — both positive and negative ones. To make things worse, it's also the time when everyone else is cheerful, yet you still have to face the struggle.
For those who are no longer caregivers, it can be especially difficult to remedy the memories of the past with your present, whether from moving the loved one into a facility or in the event they’ve passed on. It's the uncomfortable part of being human, the "touchy-feely" mess that we try desperately to ignore.
It sneaks up on you. In my case it started because I didn’t want my wife to be embarrassed. I was protecting her. When she could no longer respond to her emails I would type her reply, and she would click “send”. I would cover for her on phone calls from family and friends, and I started signing birthday and holiday cards for her (one dear friend told me later that she noticed this and knew something must be wrong).
Molly was an incredible communicator – she called, wrote, emailed every day of her life. As the disease took this lifelong passion away from her she became increasingly frustrated, and started to get angry when I was on the phone or at my computer answering emails. It got to the point where I had to close my business, and quit communicating with friends.
When she couldn’t be left alone I quit meeting friends for lunch or a coffee break. One day I realized I was very much alone. Isolated! My approach was absolutely the wrong thing to do. Informing family and friends early would have been much better for both of us. We would have had much needed support and understanding. But I didn’t do it that way and I ended up in a very bad place. I needed to let my extended family and friends in, but didn’t know how.
What did I do? I’ll tell you in my up next blog.
Care card Blog
If you have a loved one receiving long term care The Care Card can help ensure that their needs and preferences are always met.