@cbelen48 You husband Jay sounds like such an amazing person! The stories you have must be fascinating. And both of you in law enforcement - thank you both for your service. You put your lives on the line for all of the rest of us every day you worked and I, for one, am very appreciative!
The worst part of caregiving is not doing the caregiving tasks, it's seeing our loved ones go through it. Understanding how they must feel at times. Your husband's distress must have been so hard for you to bear. I hope he had a good sense of humor and could laugh about some of the things too! My Mom was so good about that. She had a stroke when she was just 63 and she lived 25 years with Aphasia, chronic pain etc. She also fell and fractured her spine in two places but that's a whole other story! Anyway she was great at laughing when we didn't understand what she was trying to say, or when I was helping her in the bathroom (especially in an airplane bathroom!). She was a great role model for humor and grace. Daddy used to laugh when early Alzheimer's and his vision problems. Like when I forgot to give him his false teeth and we went to a baseball game - or when he was walking around with one lens missing from his glasses but he had no idea!
What state do you live in? My parents lived in Arizona so I moved out there from Washington, DC 10 yrs ago (am in AZ now) and your story reminded me of how my parents drove around the state discovering places too - and old ghost towns!
Oh my gosh - your dog! My Dad had a service dog, Mr. Jackson, who was his constant companion for 8 years (and my best friend too) and he died a year before Daddy did. In may ways it was best as I know he would have been so forlorn without Daddy. I can just picture your dog there, looking behind you for him to come in the door. Does he have an article of your husband's clothing to sleep with, carry around and snuggle? Maybe that would help him a bit? The dogs feel the sadness so much. When Mom died Mr. Jackson grieved just as much as the rest of us did. He was glued to Daddy's side. (see photo below). We all just comforted each other so I'm glad you have your dog to comfort you. Love on each other.
When you say your family and friends are losing interest in your sadness, that breaks my heart. It's only been 3 weeks! I cried solid for the first two months! And it's been 8 months since my most recent loss and I am still not functioning "normal". (I just had a huge meltdown when I looked over at the chair where my Dad usually sat. It happens.) It is amazing, though how people expect us to get "back to normal" - especially after we've been caregiving. They think it's a relief. So many people just don't get it. Life will never be the same. That doesn't mean it can't be good - it will be and there will be joy in your life again I promise you that! But it will not be the same.
Your foot! - you've really been through the wringer! Glad it will heal soon, as you say getting out and walking etc can help. I guess your body wants you to rest right now. You're so right on - time to care for you! People told me that alot right after Daddy died, and I just didn't care. But I have been grateful for the sleep and catching up on health things. So glad you are aware of that need. Glad you are sleeping better but still not enough sleep. I can imagine your exhaustion!
So - today. Is there anything you can do that would acknowledge his birthday? Donate to some cause he loved, post on Facebook, read one of his favorite books, play his music (or maybe it's too soon for that?), buy his favorite flower, watch a movie he liked. Anything like that? I set up a scholarship fund at the locak children's theater where my parents were founders. Now I donate to that on their birthdays, Christmas and other times I miss them or wish they were here so I could do something for them. The other thing I've done that helps is I write a letter. Write him a letter about all you loved about him, wishing him happy birthday. It can be cathartic.
Sending you a virtual box of kleenex 🙂 Keep us posted...
Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert
Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and
Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones