In Leaning Into Sharp Points, Practical Guidance and Nurturing Support for Caregivers, Stan Goldberg, PhD, he talks about the fact that a person with a terminal illness lives every minute with it. As the illness progresses, the room becomes filled with medical supplies and equipment that only reinforce the dreadfulness of his condition. Goldberg writes, A popular saying among vegetarians is: “You are what you eat.” In caregiving, this can be transformed into: “You become what you see.”
My husband is spending more and more time in bed. It happens that today is a lovely, Spring day and the trees are full of fragrant, blossoms. So, as I straightened the covers on his bed, and put some laundry away, I opened the drapes and the light brightened the room. My husband turned to the window and said, “It’s nice when the window is open. It’s bright and cheerful.” He hadn’t really spoken all morning. Soon after he spoke, he fell asleep and the moment had passed. And it hit me, this man whom I love has a terminal illness and cannot escape it. He has to live with his reality, with every breath he takes. So, this small thing — let the sun shine in — became so powerful, and he depended upon me to think of it.
My relationship with my husband is changing — and it will continue to do so until the end. I see that now. It is daunting. It is hard. And we just do it.