One of the first things my husband did when we moved into our new home six years ago was to say, “We’ll plant a lawn, and I’ll put in some stepping stones so that you can walk across the lawn and look at the birds in the trees that you enjoy so much.” A simple act of love which today, as I stepped across the lawn in the morning light with my cup of coffee in hand, tugged at my heart.
Now, I find that I am a full-time caregiver for that dear man, and it comes with a subtle trap. Knowing that there are caregivers all over the world that have spent years at this, and for me, it’s been about two months, I share this with humility.
My husband has told me several times that his greatest fear is dying alone. That stuck with me and so for the first eight weeks or so, with the exception of a few mad-toad rides to the grocery store, I have not left him alone. I’ve returned to the house, racing to the bedroom door to make sure he survived the ordeal. Not good for the ol’ stress-o-meter.
At least a half dozen good friends or family have warned me. Take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be no good to him or anyone else. I’ve listened to them politely, knowing that I won’t leave him alone for one second, or at least until we need another loaf of bread.
And then, finally, it hit me. The only person or thing that I’ve had a relationship with in the last two months is my blog. My body is now formed in the shape of an ergonomic office chair. I’m surprised I don’t have permanent wheels on the bottom of my feet so I can just spin around on my own. And I can’t even remember how I used to apply makeup. I missed one of my best friend’s birthdays and I have no good gossip to share with my girlfriends because I haven’t spoken to any of them in weeks, other than a few email exchanges.
My choices: fall into the rabbit hole of resentment and self-pity and turn into a little wrinkled up apple doll, or get off my duff, get out there and take a walk each day with my friends and re-connect. I am blessed, indeed, because I’ve come to the realization that with faith comes the knowledge that neither my husband nor myself are ever truly alone. And with a cell phone strapped to my hip, and one taped to my husband’s wrist — I will venture out and take a breath of fresh air!