Yes, this was the hardest thing for me to do with Gene because I wanted to be with him all the time, but I knew I had to take care of myself. Even if I wanted to take a five minute break and just go walk around the block, I didn’t do it at first because it may appear that I was NOT doing my job or I didn’t love him.
As the journey continued, I knew, I had to get over this feeling. He might need a reprieve from me too! Thank goodness my parents lived close by so I could call them to come over and have Dad stay with him while Mom and I would go shopping or even go to the grocery store. One time when Gene’s son came to visit, I allowed myself to go see a movie just to get out of the house.
There were times I would call some of my girl friends to have lunch with me. This was fun because I got to feel “normal” again and feel human. Once again if the inevitable happen, I had no control over this…and would feel this was the way it was supposed to happen.
Give yourself a break and rid your thoughts of the guilt.
Humor is what is going to get you through this passage. It may be a little on the dark side but if it gets you a giggle why care? I will never forget the time when Gene has lost quite a bit of weight and I decided to go on this cooking spree to fatten him up. One night as we were lying in bed, I raised up and told Gene were we going to have to sleep in separate beds. Of course this floored him and he wanted to know what was he doing to cause me to go to another bed? I replied…do you know those fat cells you are losing, they are finding their way to my side of the bed to my rear and he had better stop it. Yes, we got a huge laugh out of this. So look for the bright side and enjoy the moment. Forget about the what if’s, and live only in the moment.
If you are lacking in the creativity aspect, look for the red clown nose and you can have a lot of fun with it. Doctors do not know what to do when they walk in and find a red-nose caregiver in thier office. They love it because it breaks the ice and causes them to realize they are human, too.
One of the things I used during Gene’s journey with esophageal cancer and my breast cancer diagnosis was to use a journal for my thoughts. I found it helped a great deal to record my inner most thoughts because once I got them on paper, it relieved the pressure from within. This was an avenue I could release some stress even though there were times I was too tired to think much less write.
It was comparable to a healing process for me to get my thoughts on paper and not carry them inside me. Some people will use a legal size note book, composition book or a fancy pretty journal you can purchase at a book store in different sizes. In this case presentation isn’t everything. Use what is more convenient for you at the time. No one is going to read it unless you allow them to. Do you remember the diaries we used to use when we were younger and we wrote our teenage thoughts in this book? The only difference now is that we are a little older and our thoughts are more adult in nature.