I have grown old really, in many ways, my back is bad, my neck is bad, I have PTSD, and my teeth are going. I am almost totally bald and I have outlived all my parents by many years now. I have done at least two of everything a man can do in life, yet, I know, my time is coming probaly soon enough. I am now 65, a Disabled Veteran and Cancer survivor myself.
My wife is hurt, ill and cancer ridden, and not with me now, I have a big four bedroom, three and a half bath home to clean out and I am alone to do so. I know she can’t come home, unless by some miracle they can shrink a growth or mass in her head without damaging her brain further. Her cognitive functions are lost, and she can not walk or stand now. They can’t even biopsy the mass, it is too deep in her brain to reach without damaging her. I don’t think even radiation can do it without hurting her worse.
My days now, are started by coffee and then feeding her cats, checking her plants, cleaning myself, then getting dressed to go see her and sit with her for 3 or 4 hours a day, till she gets tired, run down and falls asleep or is being worked by Physical, Occuptional and Speech specialists in a Rehabilitation Facility down the road from me. I remind her each day I see her, she has to stay in bed and she can’t walk, so she won’t fall again and hit her head.
28 Years of being together, 7 living together and 21 married and now I face this alone, really. Her Daughter and sister don’t fully understand or want to believe she won’t come home again or that she can’t come home, they hope beyond hope that she can, as do I, but I also have to face the reality of said situation and her said conditions, and know it is now time to be real and start to break down and clean up the home we built and get ready to move to a smaller place for myself. So much to go through, so much to get rid of or sell, or throw out, where, can I begin?
I guess I should start with lowering the cost to live. So the first things to do will be eliminating bills, and costly items of any kind. The cats will have to go, they cost food and time and in the end veternarian costs too. Then I have to eliminate bills, by cancelling what I can and saving money there. Then, I have to start in one place, go through box after box, in each room, pack up what is necessary and then dump what is garbage, I can’t use. Yet I hesitate to do so, because she is still alive, and if by some chance she wants something or needs something or gets to come home, even for a minute, do I want to have her see it all gone? So, I wait for official medical word on her conditions, before I can do anything, it is like being frozen, in time.
I hate growing old, I hate my predictament and hers too. Fate and God is now in charge not me. It is up to the Doctors, the Rehab Facility and in the end her body and mind if she can recover or not. I don’t want to remove her hope, or will to live, or tell her. What am I to do?
As we age we face impossible occurrences and situations as we go along, but none is more impossible, scarey, or frightening, then, this one. I have an inability to tell her, or mention it to her or even deal with it, even though I know, the facts, here. If I remove the cats, or her plants, throw stuff out and start the clean up phase, then I have to go through what stuff will her daughter want, her grandchildren, her sister too. And I have to go through what memories do I keep with me for the rest of my life if she can’t come home or the ultimate happens and she passes on?
It is hard to believe someone you love so much, care for so much, been with so much, depended on and who depended on you, is in such shape! I know it is not my fault she is in this condition and that what has happened to her has happened, now. I know that much, I also know I did all I could for 28 years for her, through her cancer, and so much more.
I find myself rewinding in my mind what I could have done better, what I could have done differently, did I do enough, did i make the right decisions? Did I do right by calling ambulances, hospitalizing her, putting her in Rehab and then bringing her home and then having to call 911 once more 60 days later, because it all, reoccurred?
Did I make the right choice in trying to keep her alive, or am I prolonging her pain and being selfish now? Am I hurting her more, than helping her, just to keep her alive, when I should let, her go? I don’t know, no one is giving me odds, or possibilities yet, so I hang on and replay all in my mind daily, wondering what to do next.
If I move forward and clean up the house, pack up all thats hers, and sell the house and move to a smaller place, I wil be saying goodbye to my last 28 years of marriage and my home and wife all at once. Can I do it and move on and how long do I wait to decide, I am afraid of doing it while she is still alive?
I call this Impossible decisions, sad times, I cry by myself behind closed doors, I show a brave face in public of course and around her. But, inside I am dying with her!
So I ask, those who have faced this with a dying spouse, those who have been in my position, what did you do, what would you do, and how did you face it all?