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Here Comes The Sun - The continuation of “Memories We Share”

Updated on March 20, 2012

Last night, there was a power failure. I was folding the laundry and suddenly found myself in complete darkness, no street lights, no car lights, just black on black.

So, did I stand there and wait for the power to come back on? No, I struck out, inch by careful inch, scooting my feet across the floors of three rooms to gather the long handled lighter and four candles. Once I could see, I opened the windows and let in the cool breeze.

It amazed me when I realized this morning that, while this interruption was short lived, I immediately recognized the problem, went in search of the solutions and by being cautious, I managed not to bang my toes or trip over a piece of furniture. Not so amazing you say? Well, for me, in comparison to the way I have been approaching the other challenges in my life, it was completely astounding.

Somewhere along the way I had either forgotten that I have choices or I gave up on them, being too emotionally exhausted to even try. In the midst of my other problems, you would have found me sitting, or even lying down, waiting for some sort of solution to find me or for the end of the situation, no matter the result.

Perhaps it is because I loathe the end result that I have refused to take much action. You are dying from COPD. That is a fact and one that I thought I had been facing. While you were under Hospice care, that fact was in our faces every day. Then, as the months passed and your COPD did not advance as quickly as predicted, Hospice left. Slowly, I think I started to believe that maybe you were not going to die soon at all. No doctor has said this, no tests have confirmed it, but your breathing didn’t seem so very bad and the largest problems seem to stem from finding a happy medium with your pain medications. I have attributed you being asleep, dropping things, and not being coherent very often when you are awake all to the medication. I still believe you are over-medicated and will continue to ask our Nurse Practitioner to slowly lower the doses of Oxycontin at the rate of 10 milligrams every two weeks.

There is a new factor coming into play though, or perhaps one that I have chosen not to acknowledge. You breathing is getting more labored. You can no longer lay down in the bed and breath, even with piles of pillows propping you. You are also ever bent forward as you sleep in your chair, a sign I read about that means you are seeking to find a position that allows the most air flow possible. Last week you even turned on the oxygen for a short while, something you have not done voluntarily in months. Even you have made choices and are dealing with the COPD on your terms.

What have I been doing these past months? Hating your disease and watching you slowly die. I have, in effect, been dying with you. It didn’t seem right to do anything else. If I worked outside of the home and was not your sole caretaker then there would be other aspects to my life and no one, including me, would think it wrong or selfish that I attend to those areas. If you were suddenly taken by a car accident or a heart attack, I would be devastated but no one, including me, would think that I must then set about my own death. Yet that is what I have been doing, passively dying along side of you. Is that what you want for me? No, not at all, we have discussed this. This has been my choice, inaction to do anything to preserve my life or look toward any kind of a future for myself, if indeed you do die first.

I have had to ask myself a very difficult question. Do I even want to live beyond your time. I have finally made a decision and I no longer think it is a selfish one or that I am deserting you in any way. Yes, I do want to live and I don’t want to wait until you pass to start living again. There will be time for grieving, time for sorrow … after you are gone. There has been too much already, nine months of it since Hospice was first brought in last June. You did not cause this, you did not ask me to join you, that was my doing.

Will it be a difficult balance, to have a life apart from the reality that you are dying? Very much so, yes. The existence I’ve been dragging myself through has been difficult, as well. I need to set myself free, love. I will still be here for you as long as God allows, but hopefully when you are awake you will see a smiling face and a more relaxed and even calm life-mate.

Just as you will go on before me if this disease takes you first, and I can not follow, I need to go on by myself now to a place you can only visit briefly. I am going to a life without so much worry about the future instead of staying in an existence of anxiety. The curtains are coming open and the windows too. If you are chilled, I will cover you, but I need to breath. And it will be bright, your eyes will have to adjust, as mine have to darkness … look out now, are you ready? Here comes the sun.


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  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    I am honored that you felt this worthy of sharing. This is a precarious situation to be in, at best, and loaded with emotions of all sorts. There is more information now about the caretakers and their roles and needs to stay healthy both physically and emotionally and the sharing of this can help the giver as much as those who read and learn. I'm glad you learned these lessons for yourself while caring for you Mother. Our loved ones don;t need super heroes, but they do need to never feel their care is a burden. We can help by making sure we include ourselves in the care. Thank-you for reading, commenting and sharing.

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

    Well-expressed and true. I was the primary caretaker of my mother in her last years, and my guiding principles were: 1) that everyone has the right not only to live but to have a life, as full and enabled as feasible; 2) of course if the person is family I will help as I can as to their health and comfort and their having a life; 3) #1 applies to me, too. Translation: after months of 24/7 caretaking my hemiplegic and aphasic mother, I figured out I needed regular respite and made this need known to my siblings.

    A hospice situation is coming in my wife's family. It's a slow growing cancer that is by choice not being fought. So far so good -- life for the relation is pretty much normal. Your essay might be an indication of the tribulations to come.

    Up, Useful, Awesome, Interesting, and shared with followers.

  • Levertis Steele profile image

    Levertis Steele 5 years ago from Southern Clime

    I watched two of my sisters go through all of this. One felt guilty because she could not bear the pain, but hoped for a quick death, and then felt guilty. Although I had not experienced it myself, I had read so much about people experiencing such trauma. Her feelings were normal. I did my best to console and support her. Their husbands are dead now, and they are still healing. Sometimes they get angry at their husbands, and sometimes they express the greatest of love and memories. All normal feelings, I discovered.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    Eiddwen and SOH - thanks ever so much for your lovely comments and for reading. I'm putting those puzzle pieces together ... even if I have to cheat and cut some of the square edged pieces round and pound them into place. LOL

  • SomewayOuttaHere profile image

    SomewayOuttaHere 5 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

    yes need to find some light for you...more life....reach out and grab on...find your strength again...for you.... and for your love...we somehow forget about ourselves sometimes, don't we?


  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

    Oh my friend here are hugs and kisses just for you from my little corner on Wales.

    I think that the best way to cope is to carry on with what feels right and comfortable from within to you.

    Then in the future you will look back and realise that the road you are on is the right one.

    Thank you for sharing this one ;I am sure that many others will also benefit from reading.

    Take care and God Bless you.

    I wish you a nice weekend.


  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    I suppose it does ... well, I know it does. I have witnessed so very many families go on after losing a loved one. Releasing that person is the most difficult part, I think both before and after they pass. I've seen people who refuse to let go, way beyond mourning, but almost a bitterness toward the departed one and that is so destructive. We never know how we will behave though until it is our turn to walk that mile.

    Thank you for your kind words.

  • BlossomSB profile image

    Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

    That was like poetry written as prose. I've been there with my beloved and my heart goes out to you. The end of the journey for one is a sadness for those left behind, but the journey continues.

  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Dear Phoenix : What Mr. Vincent Moore said was absolutely right on, and true to the heart right. And you should, and you must go on, and honor the gift of life that God gave you. You are precious to everyone that knows you, and loves you. Naturally you are precious in Gary's heart.

    You have enough love in your heart, and wisdom, and talent in your mind, and kinship for your family , and loved ones, to still have a wonderful life with Gary here, or in Heaven. Your life is your gift from God, and from your mother , and dad, and it is still as precious as it was when you wore baby shoes for everyone that loved you, and still loves you. GBY Dear Heart.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    sweethearts2 - I have just read some of your writing and am now a follower. I am also terrified and have no idea how to function at this moment, this spot in the road we are on. It seems as if this "we" can never be an "I", so enjoined our lives have become. I read of your search and it scalds my eyes to read the words of loss and my heart feels as if it will stop as I feel your ache for the part of you that is now a memory you are keeping alive.

    "to whom much is given much is expected" - we were given so much ...

  • sweethearts2 profile image

    sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

    I lived with the pain of watching a lingering death. The recovery to a new life is also a slow lingering pain. This was beautifully expressed.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    "Love has the capacity to hold all of it together and with ease." I'm sure hoping that's the case, Denise. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

    Poohgranma-beautifully written and validating where you are in this moment...and they are ALL 'this moments'. My heart goes out to you in your journey between supporter of one who is transitioning to the end of life and one who is stepping out on her own path of life. The truth of the matter is that it is not one or the other. Love has the capacity to hold all of it together and with ease.

    Thanks for sharing. God bless.

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    Wait a minute, Vincent ... the woman in 'I want To Live" was executed by lethal gas ... and you want me to take a deep breath? ROTFL

  • Poohgranma profile image

    Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

    Ah, Vincent, first Charlie makes me cry and now you. Bless you for understanding and celebrating my choice with me. Big hugs!

  • profile image

    Vincent Moore 5 years ago

    You can't shut out the sun, you can try to bury your sorrow, however to live in darkness is not good, I assure you. If I were Gary I would want you to be happy, go about your life, spread your wings and open the curtains of your heart to everyone around you including the indoors. You can't give up LIVING if so you will continue to die inside.

    You have done so much these past 10 months for Gary and I know he must feel that. Remember the old movie "I want to Live" well my friend take a deep breath breathe out and BEGIN LIVING,by doing so you will not only be helping yourself and everyone around you, but Gary will feel the sun shining into his soul as well. Peace and blessings to you my friend.