Thursday, January 31, 2008

Living with courage

Back at work less than a week now. As I've written before, I just let H and all his issues become too central to my life and it cost me dearly.

What I've realized now is that I've just been waiting for him to die in order for me to start thinking about and acting on creating that new life, post H, for myself. This in spite of the fact that he's dying now, albeit slowly.

One example of this is that I've shied away from management roles ever since H got sick, but even more so in the past 3 - 5 years or so. Why? Fear. Fear that I won't be able to handle the job because of issues with H and all that. One side effect of this is that I resent H for "holding me back," which isn't fair as it has been me all along.

But I've always loved managing teams and, if I do say so myself, I've been successful at it. And I've done it off and on for 20 years.

And so upon my return (and much to my surprise), I'm being recruited for a management job (which I WILL take) in the team that I talked with last year.

Well, the web is a wonderful and evil place and I found a great article about making the choice to make choices as though you have no fear. (This whole site is awesome, BTW.)

As part of my getting ready for live after H, I have to have courage (taking action in spite of fear) and pursue things that are a scary. Whatever happens, I know that I can deal with it.

After spending so much time with H the past few months (and years), I've just down shifted to meet his level and have been kinda stuck there.

Now that I'm back at work and not burned out eanymore, wow…people here are really smart and I've missed that. I find it incredibly energizing, exciting, and yes, scary.

The sad thing about all this is as I re-engage and do my best to go after whole heartedly what I want, it is much clearer just how far H is lagging. Happily, going for what I want makes it easier for me to keep H's issues in their proper place in my life.

I have this picture in my head of me accelerating into my life ahead and him decelerating, stumbling and falling. While I know that he is excited for me and my new position, he's worried that I won't be around so much anymore. And it's even more obvious to both of us just how far behind he is falling.

The challenge is not just to act with courage, but to also act with compassion since he can't keep up anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's going to be OK

I return to work next week after being on Family Medical Leave for the past 3 months. I'm looking forward to the intellectual stimulation and challenges.

My batteries are recharged at this point, but I'm anxious about burning out again given H's chronic health issues, his dementia and the craziness that it brings, and my own stamina. The sad thing is that I'll likely need to go on leave again at some point in the future, soon I think.

H sleeps a lot these days and I can't imagine what it would be like to only see the world in a few hours a day and to be stuck at home most of the time. He's been sleeping more (!) recently and is literally only up 2 - 3 hours a day from being up 4 - 6 hours a day. He notices it…that's a big percentage change for him.

I've become more concerned about his dementia as I've spent more time with him the last few months. Some very strange conversations…such as the neighbor is scheming to create an issue with our joint property line (unlikely), but that it's a big deal and needs to be urgently addressed (not so much). Then he suddenly tells me that there isn't an issue at all, that he made it up…he thinks...but maybe there's and issue...I've never trusted (our neighbor) anyway.

OK, time to put on my patience hat. But I didn't...I'm still tyring to find it.

While I won't repeat what I said, I did tell him two things: I'm having a hard time believing what he says anymore and that I'll take care of the whatever issue may come up and that it will be OK.

"Do you trust me to take care of it?" "Yes."

In retrospect, he was genuinely afraid that there would be a problem. I could see it in his face. There was so much drama about the issue…he's always been kinda high drama, but there's little modulation on it now. It comes across as abject terror.

Only when I told him that I will take care of it and it will be OK did he calm down. He so needs me to help him, especially with his worries. How sad that my once so very brave man is now so afraid.

I need to tell myself that it's going to be OK more as well. Well, it's not OK that he is going to die, but it will be OK for me after he is gone.

But for now, the only thing that I can change is how I react to what is happening.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Driving blind

It started with a talk about his depression.

He told me that I am in his way. And I told him that he is in mine. Sigh.

Not only is in he in my way, but I don't even know what my way is. (I didn't tell him this.)

While life may be a highway that you travel blind, there's a giant truck in front of me, blocking my view (of (likely) all the brake lights ahead).

I think that I have focused too much on him and his issues. Over 60% of placements happen because of caregiver exhaustion. Yup, I was there. And I was there because his issues and care had taken center stage in my life. It's hard because I care deeply, but that doesn't mean I have to make his issues so large in my life. Hmmmm, I believe I lost me my perspective and it cost me dearly.

I told him that I know that he would make it better if he could. Just like I would.

In any case, the cost to me is so very high. And it's all drama that gets in the way of me doing what I need to do, sucks the life out of me.

I need to start my work now to get him into his proper place (sic)…but he gets all the attention and I need to change that. All of my energy has been going to him, my horror and grief over what I'm seeing is draining me. And if I'm not careful, I'll find him dead and me not having laid the groundwork to go on afterwards.

Now, if I could just see around that truck.... In the meantime, how about listening to the radio and making the best use of the time I have.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I believe at least some in astrology, especially when I see a horoscope like this today:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"You may think that your opportunity has passed, but this is just a trick that the cosmos is playing on you now. You have entered into a time warp, so don't think that your chance is over. Let your frustrations dissipate, for you'll have another shot at what you want in the months ahead. "

I feel so much better now.

Happy new year!