Tag Archives: change

Learning to Let Go

6 Dec

We all know that learning to let go is a part of life.   There are so many occasions where we are faced with the reality that we must let go in order to move on.   When we go from one phase of life into another, it involves letting go.  We know the feeling of leaving a home, a job, a marriage, and even an old habit behind.  And those of us who have experienced losing a parent, loved one or dear friend, know the pain of letting go of their presence in our every day lives.

Since Ernie’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, both of us were forced to let go of  life as it had been in our normal married relationship.  I had to let go of my business opportunities and my every day activities in order to take care of his health and to stay on top of the new responsibilities of running a household and managing the finances.  Ernie had to learn to let go of the control of finances, driving a car, business dealings, and his love of playing golf, to just name a few.   As most of these let go’s were challenging for us both, we had no choice and found little time to mourn over these losses in order to keep proceeding forward.

When the disease advanced, Ernie had to move into a senior facility.   Both of us, again, faced letting go.  I was faced with letting go of married life as a full-time caregiver to a life of single living.  And despite it being somewhat of a relief from worry and exhaustion from being his caregiver, it was an emotional and extremely lonely time for me.  Ernie, on the other hand, had to let go of  the familiar comforts of his home and make the senior facility his new residence.  He had to learn to say good-bye to me each day/night I had to leave him.  Looking back, despite the emotional ups and downs, we handled these as well as to be expected.

Life now– as it has been for a year and a half — has become the norm with my visits to and from the senior facility which has become my home away from home.  The staff and other residents have become both his family and my family.  I know, deep down, that this is about to change.  Ernie is declining fast and I feel his time in this life is limited.

Over the last six months, he has lost 50+ lbs and is growing weaker by the day.  He is having frequent falls, now has a wheel chair, and seems distant and lost in how he spends his days.  Hospice visits him daily.  When not napping, he seems preoccupied with imaginary things in front of him at which he bats away or picks.  His conversation is  hushed with words that only he understands.  Occasionally, however,  a smile, a kiss or a touch of my hand surprises me as he comes into our “world” for a split second.  For that second, I give thanks.

Now, I am facing a bigger letting go…

I am not God, and don’t know the “when,” but I do feel the end of his life is approaching with each day.  I value our time together and, at the same time, am trying to prepare myself for the reality of his passing which seems imminent.  I know that the absence of Ernie from my life will be devastating and with it, will come the loss of Sunrise, “my home-away-from-home,”  its  residents with whom I have developed relationships, and the staff who I have fully trusted, and loved.

As we see it, we feel the best for Ernie now is to move on.  My prayers are for him to feel safe, unafraid, and loved whenever the time comes.  Still, I take in each day, and appreciate every moment I have with his physical presence and the visits with my family at Sunrise.   Am I ready to let go?  I’m not sure but I am certainly trying to move ahead the best way I can.  After all, letting go allows us all to move forward.


Focus on Can Do

28 Mar

Thought for the day –

Never let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do – Hayes

A friend of mine and author of, Shortcuts to Life’s Secrets, sends out a positive thought each day which I religiously read.  Some days, it fits my circumstances and other days, it just makes me smile!  Today’s thought got my juices flowing for my blog…

We all know that Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease.  It robs one’s intelligence, pride, and independence and creates fear and havoc for  the partner and the families involved.  For three years, I lived under a dark cloud while dealing with the ups and downs of Ernie’s memory loss.  After the shock of his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, our world became a series of negative thoughts and waiting for the next shoe to fall.  I was occupied 24-7  with fixing financial messes, household problems, medical consultations, communication and relationship challenges, and dealing with anger and depression.  All I could see was my husband’s disease and what was lost.  The more I focused on his losses and what he could not do, the more stressful life got!

With the help of a good friend’s kind advice to “stop focusing on the negatives and start finding the positives” despite the disease, I worked to change my perspective.  I asked  myself, What still works?  What can we still do together? How can we create happiness with such a sad situation?   My husband could still take long walks, communicate on lighter issues, smile, laugh, make funny jokes, and dance at weddings.  He could ride with me while doing errands, push the grocery cart, join me for dinner with good friends, and sit and enjoy movies, music, and concerts.  He could still hold my hand, hug me, and snuggle up on the sofa with me.  These were the things he still could do.

Today, as I visit Ernie at his assisted living facility, we continue to do what we still can do.  Although it is more limited, we take walks, smile, laugh and hold hands.  I occasionally bring him home for the weekend to make a special meal for him, watch a light movie, hold his hand at night, and enjoy our coffee together in the morning.  These are the things that we still CAN enjoy together.   And even though I realize that some of these can do’s will fade with the progression of his A.D., it is my goal to keep looking for what still can be done.

Hayes, thank you for your thought today.  Hopefully, it affects many of your readers and my readers the same way it has affected me.