Feb 20, 2013

Being Alive

"We are often called further into experience than we'd like to go, but it is this extra leap that lands us in the vibrant center of what it means to be alive."  Mark Nepo

When people express empathy about my having a spouse with dementia, I find I sometimes say that I would have preferred not to go on this journey.  And, that is certainly true.  Except for the past few months where he has been in assisted living, I have been the sole caregiver for over seven years.  I know there are some of you out there who have done caregiving for even longer, and my heart extends to you.  Whatever the length of time, caregiving is an experience that many of us would prefer not to go into, much less be immersed in.  Even now with him being in assisted living, there are his tirades, his refusal to or difficulty in understanding his need for assistance, his demands to go home where he tells me, "You have nothing to do but to watch me anyway."  It is hurtful that he not only gives so little credit to what I have done and continue to do daily for him, but he is also unwilling to acknowledge that I deserve to continue on with my life.  As caregivers we have the right to a life of our own.  If that can be done while also keeping the care receiver at home, that is a good option.  That was not possible in our case bcause of his refusal to allow anyone else in.  Literally.  He would lock them out of the house after I had gone or be so rude to them they would refuse to come back.  It is still difficult dealing with his rants and demands, but perhaps this is taking me even deeper into the experience to the vibrant center.  At any rate, it is important for us to take the steps which enable us to be fully alive.  What does that mean for you?

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