A husband/wife perspective

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Gromit, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Hi everyone - I hope you don't mind but I was after a bit of information. I am trying my best to support my Mum and help her cope with Dad's AD - however I am only able to get there once a month - but I am on the phone at least twice a day.

    I was just wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing (and if it isn't too painful) your experiences from the point of view of husband/wife. I can only relate to Mum from my point of view as a daughter. I thought it might help me to help Mum more if I understood her point of view. I don't really want to ask Mum questions directly as I don't want to upset her. And that also stands for you TPers too - only answer if you can.

    I suppose I am trying to get an insight into this from a different point of view. If you don't think this is a good idea then please don't hesitate to tell me!

    Kindest of regards

    Alison
    x
     
  2. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    81
    west sussex
    I think a lot will depend on their own relationship.

    My parents had a simply awuful relationship, whereas mum was outgoing, dad was always morose and angry (he was orphoned at an young age), and mum had quite a difficult time with dad...but being the generation of Italians that had never even heard of the word divorce, separation was never even considered - well think of the shame.

    Having said all that as dad's condition deteriorated mum could never do enough for him. The thing that I found hardest was that mum waited until dad could no longer speak, and she would then recount to him the incidences through their life when she felt that he had treated her badly, then adding "see how you treated me, and you never thought it would come to this, that I have to wash and clean you",,,(the polite version)

    and although my opinion was also that dad had treated her badly, I felt sorry for dad that he no longer had the power of speech to be able to defend himself.

    As time passed by the time dad died (he had parkinsons for 15 years, with the last 4 being a total nightmare,), mum had forgotton all of the bad times that she had had with dad, and the way she talked about him you would have thought that they had been "love birds", throught their married lives, and that he had been the most wonderful husband.
     
  3. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    Hello: My eldest daughter is 34 with two young children. The family visit us regularly (2 hr. journey for them). I feel she and I are the closest friends ever - she talks about her Dad, speaks freely how she feels and so I do in return. She adores her Dad but still sees the difficult side of him now. I just feel as a daughter it is better to treat your Mum as a very close friend - being honest, frank and loving all at the same time. I am sure you do all of that - what else can you do. I certainly do not expect any more from my daughter than her true friendship and love.

    Not sure if this waffle helps but it came from my heart.

    Beckyjan
     
  4. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    comforting

    Thanks Beckyjan, that is so heartfelt.

    I don't know what to say other than I am so grateful to hear that.

    I only hope I can continue to keep the same amount of determination throughout the whole journey.

    I really do appreciate you sharing.

    Thanks

    Alison.
    x
     
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,642
    Kent
    Hi Alison, I`ve wanted to reply to you, but haven`t known where to begin.

    The onset of dementia ends marriage as a partnership.

    I can no longer ask for opinions or suggestions, I cannot ask for help, I do not expect my husband to know when something is wrong.

    I have to ignore mistakes, and inappropriate behaviours, not ask him about odd things that happen, and be much more accepting.

    I have to try to encourage his independence and help him keep his self esteem, but worry if he goes out by himself, in case he gets lost.

    I have to understand when he needs help, and when he is able to do things for himself.

    I have to accept that, in everything, I come second.

    The love doesn`t change, but everything else does.
     
  6. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    Dear Alison,
    I'm a daughter like you so my opinions aren't actually what you are seeking. However, I thought I'd just comment on a few things I noticed when Dad was alive, in his relationship to my Mum (who has AD).

    Dad found it very difficult to accept the diagnosis and would always deny there was anything "wrong" with Mum. Sadly, this also meant he blamed her for behaviour she could not help - such as "You've said that twice already! What's wrong with you?" or "Where on earth did you put it? Why can't you remember?"

    I make it sound as if he was mean to Mum - he wasn't - he adored her. But his exasperation was worse because he acted as if these behaviours were because she wasn't trying hard enough :( instead of because she had the disease.

    I tried very hard to help him understand what was happening, but I think, for their generation, anything that could be termed a "mental illness" was a stigma and a shame - so he couldn't face that his wife was suffering this way.

    I hope your dear Mum can see what is happening and understand better than my Dad.

    For myself, I found the best thing to do was to give as much practical and emotional support as I could. I didn't (and don't!) always know the best way to do this - and I think we always feel guilty that what we do isn't "enough" - but we do the best we can!

    Thinking of you: Nell
     
  7. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Alison

    Like Sylvia, I haven't known how to begin to answer your question. It's too painful.

    Sylvia has managed it, and responded so well, as ever. I can only second everything she has said.

    Thank you Sylvia.
     
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,642
    Kent
    Thank you Hazel.

    When I first read this request from Alison, I actually felt it was a bit intrusive as well as painful. Sorry Alison, this is no criticism of you, it was just my first reaction.

    But I couldn`t stop thinking about it, how our lives have changed, how MY life has changed and decided I would benefit by giving it some serious thought.

    It has helped to put it in writing, and when I lose my patience, when I feel sorry for myself and when I selfishly forget the terror my husband is experiencing, I`ll try to think back to this Thread.
     
  9. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    I have just had 11 days respite! 3 days with friends in the UK and the rest sailing off the west coast of France with a friend -- I had actually forgotten what it is to be with normal people - to be normal ----

    I loved the answers Grannie G gave and have cut and pasted them with adjustments to suit me:-

    The onset of dementia ends marriage as a partnership.

    I can no longer ask for opinions or suggestions, I cannot ask for help, I do not expect my wife to know when something is wrong. In fact we do not have 'conversations' at all.

    I have to ignore breakages, and inappropriate behaviours, the lack of a social life.

    I did try to encourage his independence and help her keep her self esteem, but now there is really little point. She just needs to know somebody is there for her.

    I have to understand when she needs help to go to the bathroom or to eat or to just not be lonely.

    I have to accept that everything is my responsibility. There is nobody to discuss anything with and that I have to try to make good decisions on how another human being should live - survive

    The love changes, but not the affection and everything else changes as well.


    For me it is the sense of isolation - not sure if what I do is right or wrong that I find hardest to cope with - but I suspect I am not alone in this!
    Michael
     
  10. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,642
    Kent
    I forgot about the isolation and loneliness, Michael. How on earth did I do that?
     
  11. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Thank you and apologies

    Thank you for responding to what must have been a very difficult question. I was nervous about asking it as I realise how painful this is for everyone. I hope I haven't offended anyone (please no) but I am very grateful for your responses.

    Grannie G - I am very moved by your post. I will always try to keep this perspective whilst I am trying to help my Mum. Your insight will allow me to do this now. My heart goes out to you - to all of you.

    I promise not to ask anymore painful questions. You of course have the right to tell me if I get things wrong at times. I suppose I am at the stage where I am trying to find out all that I can, and I would never intentionally hurt anyone in the process.

    Wishing you all a lovely weekend - I hope the sun is shining for you as it is here at the moment.

    Thinking of you all and sending you my love.

    Alison
    x
     
  12. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Michael - thanks also

    Michael

    Thank you too for posting. Feeling a bit guilty to have brought this up seeing how much you are all going through.

    If I could do anything to help you all I truly would. I wish I could with all my heart.

    Alison
    x
     
  13. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,642
    Kent
    Alison, ask what you want to. No-one HAS to reply if they don`t wish to.

    I know your heart`s in the right place and you are searching for ways to help your mum.

    Who can be offended by that.

    The sun IS shining, although being on the coast, it`s breezy. My husband is going to watch the football with our son. I`m going to finish the ironing, then get rid of all my frustrations by attcking the weeds.
     
  14. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Alison hi,

    It really is no problem and in fact it is helpful sometimes to write down what's going on... I have had so much great help and experienced wisdom from this forum and one of the good things is that there is always somebody out there with a worse problem. Makes you feel better.

    As this sickness grinds out to its inevitable conclusions we will all go through a lot of problems but when you can see them coming, know they are 'normal', know that others have been there it helps - bravely going where others have been before!

    Michael
     
  15. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #15 Margarita, Apr 28, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2007
    That another key word
    I felt
    Frustration towards my father for saying so many cruel things about my mother and then frustration towards my mother for not finding her own independences in they relationship with my father , then wanting to be my fiend telling me all the problems in they had in they relationship when they both retried , I felt like piggy in the middle , as my mother would never devoice my father or my father devoice my mother , so I wanted to devoice them , because I did not no what to say for the best , so just enrolled my mother to older people keep fit , (littile did I know ) so she could torment my father more , saying she had meet and talk to a man, and if he did not go out with her she run of with him , all she wanted was his attention was mum been per AZ , when she said those things I wonder now

    So all I felt , was a sounding block for my mother problems , now my father died , I wish I could turn the clock back and have enjoyed those crazy mad time again, with what I know how .

    Don’t know if my father would. I blame her for driving him to his grave, because she was so demanding on him, that she stress him out, his blood purser when sky high, as that day him mum went shopping she forgot bank book, so mum stayed in Mc Donald’s while he went home again to get bank book, then back to pick up mum, that night he complained to mum he was feeling ill, so went to bed early and had the heart attack that killed him.

    So if you’re a daughter or son , take the pursuer of one of them , because , because you never no what you got till its gone
     
  16. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Margarita hi,

    I really don't think anybody can be all to blame when relationships go sour.. At least I hope not!!! In this age nobody has to stay with anybody they don't want to. Sometimes couples 'need' to aggravate the other but would actually be lost without the other... I think story books, movies and the telly have a lot to answer for suggesting that there is a 'happy ever after' in marriage.... There will always be bad times, scary times, boring times and irritating times... People are not perfect or wonderful or marvelous - Your mum and dad stayed with each other in the end so they must have wanted that = deep down..

    bloody hell I sound like marriage guidance therapist! Sorry!

    Love

    Michael
     
  17. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #17 Margarita, Apr 28, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2007
    Yes I learn that the hard way , after my father died , part of my mother went also, he was the only man she had ever been with , won't get that now days 50 years together they moulded into one , one could not live without the other, sad to us the children to see , but I do undertand

    Thats just it this day and age , In my mother father day age they stayed together no matter what
    Or could be because they where from Spain & catholic


    Thank-god for change .
     

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