My husband Alex is a rock. He’s no longer muscular or athletic, but he has strength and wisdom that one only acquires through experience.
He lost his first wife to lung cancer. Yesterday we were talking about caregiver anger, and I asked if it had been an issue for him.
He said, “YES! I was angry with Amey because she wouldn’t quit smoking. I was angry because I had just taken on a huge new job and then suddenly I had to learn how to do all of the things she had always done. I was angry because I knew she was going to die and I didn’t know what my life was going to be like when I was left alone.”
Predictably, he also felt guilty for being angry about all these things. He then said, “I never felt angelic. All I felt was stress.”
We went to the beach this weekend to celebrate our granddaughter Melissa’s 6th birthday. I took the photo of the rock from our hotel window. The strength of it, standing out there in the ocean by itself as wave after wave relentlessly crashed into it, made me think of Alex and all other caregivers.
Like Alex, you may not feel angelic. You may have moments when you don’t feel strong, or capable or even kind. However, there will come a day when your role as a caregiver will end. You will never forget the person you loved, but you will be able to move on and create a new life. At some point, you’ll look back and you’ll realize that you found the strength to do what had to be done, and as hard as it was, you did the best you could. That’s all anyone could ever ask for or expect.