Since the day we were married, we’ve always been together, seldom more than a few feet apart, holding hands as we walked into the adventure of life.
I can’t begin to imagine being without her, but we’ve reached a point where she requires constant 24 hour care and I can no longer do this for her by myself.
As the months have drifted by and her dementia has deteriorated, I’ve struggled more and more to meet her increasing needs, particularly at night. Like many Alzheimer’s patients, night time is stressful for her. She is agitated and confused, can’t settle down to sleep, and gets up repeatedly. I arise with her, help her find and use the toilet, guide her back to bed when she attempts to leave to visit her mom, help her change clothes when she must go walking at 3 a.m., and hug her when she’s shaking with fear.
Then I guide her back to bed, tuck her in, rub her feet, kiss her, and eventually she falls asleep, until she wakes again and we repeat the cycle.
By morning light, I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. Strangely, she’s not the least bit tired, eager for our daily walk. And a new day begins. To my amazement, she greets all we encounter cheerfully, while I find myself dreaming of a good night’s sleep.
But the price for this dream scares me, for to make it happen, I must let her go, must release her to be cared for by others. This is a day I knew would come, but it’s a Christmas wish I really don’t want to happen.
You might also enjoy: I Die Once More; My Dementia Diary
The care for your wife is amazing, Tio, and I wish you both a good night’s rest (especially you) along with some peace and happiness this Christmas season.
Your kind thoughts are much appreciated. Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays!
There comes a time when you need to let go. That happened for my late husband and me in 2012, a month before he passed. He was partially paralyzed by two strokes, so he could only use one arm and leg. Because his strength was declining, it was becoming increasingly difficult to lift him. A physical therapist determined that it was no longer safe for us to be at home together. Moving him to a nursing home wasn’t an easy decision, but my husband was able to understand why it was necessary.
Because your continual loss of sleep could negatively affect your ability to care for your wife, such a decision could benefit both of you in the long run. You two are in my thoughts.
Wish you strength as you navigate these challenges. Your caregiving is such a beautiful inspiration.
I’m so sorry you have reached this point. This step by step letting go is a hard road to walk. Knowing that taking care of you is critically important to beat supporting your wife doesn’t make it easier. Sending gentle love your way and asking God to bring you peace… and rest.