We are spouses in a caregiving marriage. We won’t give up on each other. We stare into each other’s eyes and see the love between us. It’s still there. The embers of love glow dimly, but in the darkness of caregiving, it’s all we need to see.
He doesn’t walk anymore. He transfers from power chair to lift chair as I carefully watch and support him. Each day is another collection of transfers and the next disaster is just a missed step or bad transfer away.
Employment has given up on both of us. There is no magical monetary fund for the act of caregiving. It is an enlistment in love that can last for many years or decades. He is my employer in love and he is my career.
The concept of time can be lost in a caregiving household. A clock is a useless piece of furniture. Sleep can come at different times of the day or night. My sleep pattern depends on his and could be a few hours here and a few hours there. I am his waitress, cook, and chauffeur. I have learned from therapists how to give a good sponge bath. I hold his urinal, help him “land” on the toilet, and help him with anything he needs at any time of the day or night.
Caregiving becomes your day to day existence. There is no social life when your caregiving life requires all of your attention. You will dearly cling to the familiar reminders of a previous life as you stay true to making your spouse’s life as easy as possible.
You will make peace with yourself each day. You will remember each day why you are still committed. For me, it’s the smile on my husbands’ face and the laughter we share. If the tables were turned, I believe he would do the same for me. We will travel this journey together and be strong for each other when it’s difficult. We are a team in love. We are spouses in a caregiving marriage.